The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's November 2021 Nonprofit Newsletter
The Nonprofit Committee brings you a newsletter once a month that focuses specifically on the issues confronting nonprofit organizations including an educational article and an article highlighting a Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber member nonprofit.
Four Steps to Succession Planning in the Era of COVID

by Ivy Fairchild

One thing about the Corona Virus Pandemic that is certain is the uncertainty it has brought to many nonprofits. Over the past year, nonprofits have navigated numerous unanticipated changes including remote work, absence of large gatherings, redesigning of programs, reduced travel and less employee one-on-one engagement. A less discussed impact on nonprofits is leadership succession. Although proactive succession planning is a best practice that nonprofits are encouraged to follow, many nonprofits still do not emphasize succession planning in their strategy. COVID has changed this, and boards and organizations are now taking a hard look at their succession plans.
How does an organization address succession planning under the circumstances we currently face? Below are a few key strategies.

  1. Designate an emergency successor immediately. Although many people are currently vaccinated, there is still the possibility that the head of your organization might fall ill. As such, there should be someone appointed to keep the organization on course should this happen. Doing so will allow your board more time to formulate a long-term leadership strategy.
  2. Review your succession plan for your leadership team frequently. This means you should be looking at your plan annually on a formal basis; more frequently if a planned transition is eminent (such as a planned retirement).
  3. Review your existing talent development plans across your organizations for those two to three levels below the leadership. These employees are usually your most valuable workers and the ones that may have the most career options. Are you coaching, mentoring, and strengthening the skills and leadership competencies of high-potential talent? 
  4. Pay attention to up-and-coming talent. Let them know that they have a future within your organization. Communicate regularly with them. Challenge them with new assignments and special projects and give them feedback; let them know you have plans for them.

Smooth transitions of power are least disruptive and most effective when leaders prepare their rising talent. During times of unplanned changes, it is always best to strengthen your succession planning efforts to better protect your organization. If you haven’t already, begin planning for the replacement of key staff. For tools to plan for your succession planning, email me at
Ivy Fairchild, CFRE, MPH, MA is the President of Landmark Consultants, a management consulting firm that works with nonprofits. Read more about her services at:
To request an article about a
specific topic, please contact
Lucille Geraci-Miranda at
To request that your nonprofit be featured in this newsletter, please contact Lynn Amos at
Featured Organization: The Peekskill Rotary Club

by Tim Warn
What is Rotary?

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change. The mission of the Rotary is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

The Peekskill Rotary has been serving the community for 102 years. The first meeting was held Aug. 21, 1919, and the new club’s charter was issued by Rotary International on Oct. 1 that year. There were twenty-two charter members with William H.H. MacKellar becoming the first club president. Ambitious plans were made for the future of the club, which was to become highly respected and influential in the life of our community. Since that first meeting in 1919, the Peekskill Rotary Club has met without interruptions.

What Does the Peekskill Rotary do?

The Peekskill Rotary may be best known for hosting an annual horse show—a community event and fundraiser. The very first horse show took place on Torpy Field in 1971.
The Peekskill Club exemplifies The Rotary’s motto “Service above Self” especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The club’s current President, Luis Segarra, during the club’s annual installation dinner in June 2021, highlighted some of the club’s pandemic outreach:
  • Distributed over 150,000 lbs. of food
  • Donated 2,000 pairs of socks
  • Facilitated the distribution of 2,000 food vouchers worth $75,000 to support local restaurants with help of a grant from Westchester County
  • Donated a vehicle disinfecting machine to the Peekskill Ambulance Corps
  • Provided over a thousand meals to local first responders
Tim Warn is a retired U.S. Army Major and serves on the HVGCC Board of Directors, the Salvation Army in Peekskill Advisory Board, and is a member of the Nonprofit Committee.
Photos from the October Nonprofit Mixer
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The Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee provides meaningful opportunities for nonprofit staff, managers and board members to come together to collaborate, and embrace the importance of growth and sustainability. The Committee serves as a resource for ongoing professional development and as a forum for sharing best practices.

Committee Chairperson
Lucille Geraci-Miranda
Geranda Projects

Committee Members
Lynn Amos, Fyne Lyne Ventures
Ivy Fairchild, Landmark Consultants
Mary F. Foster, HVH2O and The Field Library
Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember
Tim Warn, Civic Member
Justin Wingenroth, The Dance Conservatory