Regional Access Project Foundation Newsletter
June 2016
In This Issue
RAP has a new website
Visit our newly improved website at: The website can now be accessed on mobile devices and has a more modern look. Please let us know what you think about it.
Look for the next Request For Proposal (RFP) at to be released in early July.   Future RFPs will be sent out in RAP e-blasts.

Desert Fast Pitch Competition
The Regional Access Project began the 2016 version of "Desert Fast Pitch" with an even dozen local nonprofit organizations competing for prizes in the October 26 Fast Pitch competition, but the field narrowed to 11 with the voluntary withdrawal of one of the organizations.

These 11 semi-finalists are already winners on two fronts: their organizations will receive $1,500 each for participating in the 3rd edition of the competition, and, more importantly, they will receive training on how best to tell their stories to potential funders.

Six organizations will advance to the finals, picking up an additional $1,500 from RAP for advancing to the next level. At the Desert Fast Pitch event itself, the potential award amounts are much higher. In all, more than $72,000 worth of funding will be provided during this year's event.
The following organizations are vying for a chance to compete during the Desert Fast Pitch event in front of a live audience, held in concert with RAP's Nonprofit Conference in partnership with Southern California Grantmakers, at the Annenberg Center on the campus of the Eisenhower Medical Center:

1. Voices for Children provide abused children in the foster care system with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to advocate and improve their lives.

2. ACT for MS provides resources, programs and services for Coachella Valley residents who have been diagnosed with MS.

3. Galilee Center assists underprivileged and disadvantaged individuals and families by providing food, clothing and other basic needs.

4. Desert Best Friend's Closet empowers low-income Coachella Valley residents to attain employment through education and wardrobe services.

5. The LGBT Community Center enriches the lives of the LGBT community, offering a variety of programs and services, including education, counseling and weekly food distribution.

6. Desert Cancer Foundation is dedicated to assisting residents who need financial assistance in obtaining screening, diagnosis and treatment for cancer and allied diseases.

7. Integrated Learning Institute assists struggling learners in making the transition to independent learning, social awareness and self-regulated behavior.

8. Focus on Student Success trains and prepares youth of various ages with the skills to make good choices, strengthens troubled families, and teaches instrumental music to at-risk youths.

9. Desert Hot Springs Community Task Force coordinates, improves and increases programs and resources available to residents of the Desert Hot Springs area.

10. Desert Hot Springs Eagles, Inc. teaches children tackle football and helps them develop concepts of teamwork, community involvement and respect of self and others.

11. All Things Are Possible, Inc. assists special needs children with "Music and Motion Therapy." Outreach is to children with autism, bi-polar, sight and hearing impairment.

RAP Nonprofit Conference attendees are invited to watch the Desert Fast Pitch competition which follows the conference. For more information on the October 26 conference, Click here.
RAP is a proud sponsor of Better Together:  Five Organizations, One Goal.  The following organizations "provide different service, but work together to help people cope with cancer."
From Left to Right:

Paula Simmons, Executive Director, Desert Cancer Foundation
Dr. Sandra Finestone, Susan G. Komen Inland Empire
Jill Eaton, Executive Director, Susan G. Komen Inland Empire
Ivonne Millan, Mission Programs Coordinator, Susan G. Komen Inland Empire
Maria Elena Geyer, Executive Director, Gilda's Club Desert Cities
Jennifer Heggie, Senior Manager for Community Education, American Cancer Society

IECapaciteria Now Serving the Greater Riverside and San Bernardino Areas

A free service called ieCapaciteria connects professionals, volunteers and organizations to resources available for strengthening the Inland Empire's nonprofit sector.

The RAP Foundation has decided to invest in, and partner with, to leverage its platform and technology to benefit nonprofits in eastern Riverside County.

The goal is to facilitate and improve communication, collaboration and cooperation across both counties, and, with the recent investment from First 5 Riverside and RAP, we hope to ensure that our region is better served by increasing awareness and use of this valuable cost-free service!

At, organizations can reach a broader area than the immediate Coachella Valley and learn of resources in the surrounding areas. In addition, your nonprofit can:

* Post your own events
* Post job openings
* Learn of training and other events opportunities in surrounding areas

"It does appear that we've seen increased traffic over the past few months," says Greg Bradbard, President & CEO of the Inland Empire United Way. "When looking specifically at referral sources in the acquisition report below, you will see that RAP has produced about 100 sessions, with visits lasting 1:38-7 minutes, and users visiting multiple pages. So, yes, your promotion appears to be working...Thank you!"

Consider taking advantage of this great opportunity to share information with others about your organization's events and other important activities.

RAP staff is available to address your questions and guide you through the website.

Desert Volunteer Connect
Desert Volunteer Connect (DVC), a new collaborative effort by the Regional Access Project Foundation (RAP) and the Riverside County office on Aging, is getting busier as the summer progresses.

"We provide resources to individuals of all ages, and exempt organizations to post, identify and fill volunteer positions that will better serve the people of the eastern Riverside County," says Jared Katchmar, Riverside County Volunteer Services Coordinator. "I handle RSVP/Volunteer Connect programs here in the desert, and I can tell you, it's been very busy!"

150 Members Strong-And Growing
Katchmar oversees a Volunteer Connect program that now has approximately 150 members. Major events with volunteers included an Earth Day celebration at SafeHouse of the Desert, where volunteers planted a food garden-it's still producing!-- Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Event, and the Neuro Vitality Center's "Paint Day," during which volunteers painted the entire interior of the building. 

A group of UCR students will be taking over DVC's social media. These UCR Business 118 "Electronic Marketing Class," are being given ongoing guidance and instruction from Katchmar on creating and maintaining DVC's social media campaign that promotes the volunteer program. Even better, it's free of cost.

Attention Student Volunteers
Student ambassadors are needed for the new "What's Up" SafeHouse app. Katchmar is working with SafeHouse of the Desert to find student volunteers who will spread the word about the new What's Up? Program, which provides an emergency anonymous channel to experts who can help with troubled youths, including those struggling with family problems, bullying, school attendance, or who are even contemplating suicide.

Word of mouth from peers can be an effective tool. More info about What's Up can be obtained here:
DVC's Volunteer of the Quarter is Connie Wright, for her many hours of enthusiastic work at the Indio Middle School, reading in English to young Spanish-speaking students.

Desert Volunteer Connect is designed to augment the County's existing RSVP operation ("RSVP" for Retired Seniors Volunteer Program) by recruiting the more youthful members of the community here in the desert. It's particularly important during the summer months, when many senior snowbirds head out of the valley, while many younger local residents have extra time on their hands.
How it works
1. Fill out Application including your interest and location today.
2. Communicate with Volunteer Connect staff member about current opportunity
3. Meet the volunteer coordinator of your selected organization
4. Begin Volunteering!
5. Report your hours (under GET INVOLVED tab, select Report Volunteer Hours)

For more information please visit:

        A Message from RAP CEO
If I say the number 150 to you, what do you think of?

No, it's not the temperatures we hit earlier this month. It's the number of volunteers recruited by the new Desert Volunteer Connect . . . and you can read more about it in this very newsletter.

Speaking of heat, we did hit 120 or so for a couple of days there, and even these days when it's "only" 110-plus, we are very grateful for the partnership between the County's Department of Community Action Partnership (CAP) and 19 local agencies who are providing our residents with some relief from the stifling midday heat. Click here to view a full list of cooling center sites in eastern Riverside County:

I want to thank the RAP Board of Directors for participating in our annual Board Retreat in May.  During the retreat, the Board reflected on the accomplishments of the past year and looked ahead to the next 12 months. The Board approved the One Year Action Plan in support of the 2015-2019 Five Year Strategic Plan. They also kept the focus on their Mental Health Initiative, which is entering the third year of a four-year commitment. The MHI will continue to focus a greater percentage of resources to Mental Health. That commitment notwithstanding, RAP continues to address Health and Juvenile Intervention needs as well.

The RAP Board also made a decision to increase funding to enhance our Technical Assistance Program (TAP). Over the last six months, the TAP Committee has been involved in a comprehensive review of the program and the Committee's recommendations were adopted by the Board. We anticipate TAP resources to be more readily available to nonprofits as the program undergoes changes in the months to come.

TAP Manager Amalia Coyt says she's been pleased by the increase in clients taking advantage of the variety of workshops, use of Foundation Search (free access to potential funders), and our meeting space. Check out our website for a full list of workshops being offered this summer, or contact Amalia if you have any questions at .
Recruitment for the next Certificate in Nonprofit Management (35 week program) in partnership with UCR Palm Desert Campus will start in July. If you are interested or have questions, contact Mireya at  .
Finally, I want to announce a major change to the Coachella Valley Youth Leadership (CVYL) program, created by a group of volunteers in the eastern Coachella Valley and "incubated" in RAP over the last year. I am pleased to announce that this boys mentoring program will be taken over by the Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) in August. CVUSD plans to expand the program to a total of five schools in their first year of CVYL operation. Although we are sad that Trini Arredondo will be leaving RAP to continue to oversee this program at CVUSD, we know that he will be happy in continuing to make a difference in the lives of young men.

CVYL graduating  C.V.H.S. students along with RAP board member at end of year ceremony.  From Left to Right:
Alexis Garcia, Jose Ortega, Annica Meza-Dawe, Alan Ramos, Cris Cota

Lety De Lara, CEO 
"Rethink Your Drink": A Lasting Legacy

RAP's three-year "Rethink Your Drink" partnership with the Riverside County Department of Public Health may be wrapping up, but the residual benefits are here to stay.

The "Rethink Your Drink" campaign focused on motivating students of the importance of replacing sugary drinks with water. The County provided significant funding to install 19 hydration stations at schools and other high traffic areas for youth. The campaign also included attending public events, distributing reusable water bottles to promote water as a healthy refreshment alternative.

During the course of the campaign, all three school districts have agreed to install a water bottle filling station on any new construction. More than a half million water bottles have been saved from local landfills already because of water stations installed -3,000 re-usable water bottles were provided, mainly to young people, during the campaign-and local partners continue to provide sugar-free infused water to their constituents.

In addition to the $55,000 grant from RAP, which paid for installation of 15 water stations, the following contributors deserve recognition:

Riverside County Department of Public Health- provided funding for 19 water stations

BRITA- provided funding for eight water stations.

Mission Readiness, Military Leaders for Kids - provided advocacy

Water bottle refilling stations were installed at schools, parks, churches, youth centers, community centers and the Joslyn Senior Center.

RAP staff members Mireya Reyes and Trinidad Arredondo appreciate the cooperation they received from the following organizations: Coachella Valley Unified School District, Health Corps, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, Inland Congregations United For Change, the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley, the City of Coachella, Our Lady of Soledad Catholic Church, Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation, and the Desert Recreation District.

Lastly, we want to acknowledge the students who embraced this project. HealthCorps youth leaders advocated for a water station at Desert Mirage High school, while the Environmental Clubs at Coachella Valley High School and La Quinta High advocated for water stations at their respective schools.

Nonprofit Conference
As mentioned in the "Desert Fast Pitch" story elsewhere in this issue of the Newsletter, the 2016 Nonprofit Conference will be taking place Oct. 26 at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences in Rancho Mirage from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
 Conference speakers include Jonathan Weedman, Senior Vice President of the Wells Fargo Foundation, Jan Masaoka,CEO of  CalNonprofits, Weingart Foundation Representative, and Dom Betro, CEO of Family Services Association.
Workshops will be led by David Greco of Social Sector Partners, Kim Shepard of Ultimate Professional Business Training, along with speakers from the Inland Empire Funders Alliance.
The Desert Fast Pitch competition will take place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Six local nonprofit representatives will each deliver a three minute pitch as they compete for a total of $45,000 in cash awards.
As a special incentive to attend the conference, the audience will have the opportunity to hear from this year's Inspirational speaker, Jose M. Hernandez, former NASA astronaut, author, and nonprofit founder.    
The first 150 tickets purchased will receive his book, "Reaching  for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut," free of charge. Click here for additional information and to purchase a ticket.
Sponsored by: