The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's May 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.
Getting Your Board on Board

by Lucille Geraci-Miranda, M.P.A.

Does your Board understand its role? Is it energized and engaged to meet current and changing needs? Is it united for a sustained effort to cultivate donors? Does it possess the skill sets that will impact the success of the organization? 
One of the most challenging obstacles for a nonprofit organization is the implementation of a viable board and governing body that will be best suited to lead the organization, fulfill its mission and sustain financial viability. Each director – existing and prospective – needs to understand their individual and collective roles and responsibilities to ensure the organization’s success. Do you have a Board Position Description?

A strong, engaged, and active board is critical to the long-term success of any nonprofit organization. It is crucial to engage the Board to be sure they understand their role which includes attending and supporting fundraising events, making a financial gift to the organization, and playing a role in donor development.  The Board must be engaged and united for a sustained effort on getting to know donors.

The cornerstone of fundraising and development is building relationships, and this process starts with the Board. This should not be a stand-alone function left to fundraising staff but should be approached as a combined effort. Continued active collaboration between the Board and staff is crucial.

Your organization can ensure that the Board is on board by:
  • Assessing the current Board composition:  Consider expanding the Board and identify which additional skill sets are needed.
  • Encouraging the development of active committees. This enables the Board to accomplish its work through smaller, focused groups and capitalize on everyone’s expertise.
  • Being sure the Board is engaging their connections such as: members of the local business community as well as representatives of the nonprofit’s stakeholders.
  • Asking the Board to set a goal of how much they personally will give to the organization.
  • Challenging each board member to raise a specific amount of money – give or get!

What’s the takeaway? For there to be long-term financial success, a strong, active, and engaged board is KEY. Each Board Member must be willing to invest time, talent, and financial resources for the long term.

Geranda Projects is ready to offer its vast, integrated experience to help nonprofits create a strong foundation and inspire them to reach their greatest potential, straight from the heart of their mission.

Expert services include strategic planning, board development and enrichment, building organizational capacity, annual budget analysis and assessments, fund development planning, one-on-one coaching and educational workshops tailored to meet the organization’s needs.
Lucille Geraci-Miranda, M.P.A. serves on the Board of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber Foundation, chairs the Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee and is President and Founder of Geranda Projects – Management Consulting for 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:
Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley

by Lynn Amos

Managing Communal Living During the Pandemic

Delivering the mission of keeping families with sick or injured children close to each other and to the care and resources they need has taken on a different face during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever families with sick children need support since as of last March many resources for these families became unavailable. Ronald McDonald House’s two full-time and ten part-time staff members adopted an all-hands-on-deck approach to make sure they could provide accommodations for their client families.
Ronald McDonald House achieves their mission by providing overnight accommodations, laundry facilities, meals, and support programs in order to make navigating a child's health crisis easier for the family of the child. The individuals they serve become part of the Ronald McDonald family for anywhere from one night to many months. Every guest room in the house is often full, housing 12 families, often with several families on a waiting list.

The layout of the facility promotes togetherness and community support – there is an open living area and a large kitchen open to all residents. Staff or volunteers might be found in the kitchen baking cookies or breads to share with all.

When the pandemic hit, all non-program essential staff immediately began working from home, only coming back to work in September and in staggered shifts to maintain social distancing and reduce the risk of spread among staff. They entered the building with masks, hand sanitizer and submitted to wellness screening and temperature checks. Those precautions are still in place for staff and visitors.

Ronald McDonald House limited occupancy of guests, adjusting based on the COVID positivity rate. They closed common spaces and assigned kitchen and laundry times to guests. No visitors were allowed in the House and all volunteer programs were suspended.

Since they had to suspend the volunteer meal program, which normally provides daily meals to families staying in the House, staff began to prepare and cook meals. The organization began purchasing food so that staff could prepare individually packaged meals and deliver them to families. In order to minimize exposure to staff and guests they implemented a virtual check in process with a video tour and increased cleaning and sanitation measures by having staff clean and disinfect all high touch areas hourly.

The Board of Directors supported the staff and the needs of the organization throughout the pandemic. They developed the COVID Relief Plan to generate increased funds necessary to maintain operations and the standard of care delivered to guest families. The Plan also supports the need for enhanced operations to support remote work and school for guests and emotional support resources for both staff and guests. Board Members have financially given to the Plan and promoted it throughout their networks.

Based on their experience, Ronald McDonald House urges nonprofits dealing with a crisis to always put their mission first, then think about how to safely and effectively deliver it. Talk to staff and listen to their feelings/concerns. Explain decisions that are made and why you made them. Be transparent in everything.
Lynn Amos is Principal of Fyne Lyne Ventures, a Westchester-based website and graphic design studio. Read more about her services at:
Upcoming Events
about joining the meeting.
Follow the Chamber's Nonprofit Committee on Facebook:
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
Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember
Tim Warn, Civic Member
Justin Wingenroth, The Dance Conservatory