"Changing Lives, Making Impact" Conference
Designed to Help Nonprofits Maximize Efficiency
The second installment of the RAP's Communications Conference features prominent speakers, breakout sessions, and presentations from leading charitable funders in order to help area nonprofits improve their efficiency in serving the largest number of unmet needs.
The Conference takes place on Wednesday, October 21, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Annenberg Center for Health Services on the campus of Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. Mark your calendar: This is one event that you don't want to miss.
The Conference, entitled "Changing Lives, Making Impact," features a wealth of educational opportunities for attendees, including information about volunteer recruitment, retention and coordination; collaboration with other organizations; leadership development; unique funding sources; and many more.
Morning Keynote: Nancy Berlin
The morning session features keynote speaker Nancy Berlin of the California Association of Nonprofits. Berlin is the former director of the California Partnership and project coordinator of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness. She has been recognized with the Outstanding Public Citizen of the Year Award by the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, as well as the Community and Justice Award from Alexandria House.
Berlin is well known to the California nonprofit and advocacy community for her various successful efforts in advocacy throughout the state.
Her topics for the RAP Communications Conference include: Compiling nonprofit profiles to demonstrate what services are being provided and the impacts of those services; the public perception of nonprofits; and comparing the Coachella Valley to the rest of California.
Luncheon Speaker: Peter Long
Another featured speaker at the conference is Peter Long, Ph.D., who is the President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. Dr. Long will speak during the conference luncheon.
Dr. Long leads the Blue Shield Foundation in its mission to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective and affordable, and by ending domestic violence.
He will be speaking on the topics of "Developing Leadership" and "Successful Financial Models" for nonprofits.
Additional speakers are being lined up as this Newsletter is published, but the lineup also will include John Epps, Professor of Nonprofit Management at the University of California Riverside and Amanda Byrd with Southern California Grant Makers.
There are three breakout sessions scheduled, and a "unique funders" program, featuring presentations from leading nonprofit funders, public agencies and businesses with a philanthropic affinity.
Cost of the conference is $100, but early bird registration, up to September 1, is only $75 and includes Continental breakfast, lunch and hors d'oeuvres.
Attendees will also witness "Desert Fast Pitch," a gameshow-like competition which will award grants of $20,000, for First Place, $15,000 for Most Improved and $10,000 for the Audience Choice Award. In all, $72,000 will be awarded to a total of 12 deserving nonprofits.
Annual "Volunteer Recruitment Fair"
Set for April 25 at CSUSB Palm Desert
The Riverside County Office on Aging and the Regional Access Project are teaming up to expand an existing volunteer program right here in the desert.
One of the first notable actions to occur as a result of this collaboration is the Volunteer Recruitment Fair planned for Saturday April 25 at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.
If you have always thought you would volunteer if you could just find the organization with the "right fit," this is your opportunity. Charities, nonprofits and community groups will gather to present to the public their programs and their needs. You and the charity you most likely will find productive, meaningful service with can meet and greet and explore the possibilities.
The Volunteer Recruitment Fair-dubbed the "First Annual," hinting of things to come.
The Volunteer Recruitment Fair comes as the Office on Aging and RAP have agreed to collaborate on volunteer recruitment and retention-and not just to the senior crowd. Many younger people would like to volunteer if they were aware of the opportunities. And those opportunities include a chance to learn new things, possibly leading to a network that could lead to lucrative employment, but, most importantly, an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of helping others.
The April 25 event takes place from 10 a.m.; the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is located at 37-500 Cook Street, and features an hourly raffle, fun and food. Call RSVP at 760 771-0501
RAP Staff Visits Blythe
For Annual Outlook Conference
RAP staff including Leticia De Lara, Eva Guenther-James and Trinidad Arredondo attended the Annual Blythe Outlook Conference on April 2nd, taking the opportunity to interface with Riverside County officials in the County's most remote city.
The staffers heard from featured speakers 4th District Supervisor John J. Benoit, Blythe Mayor Mike Evans, Interim City Manager Mallory Sutterfield and Palo Verde Community College Superintendent and President Donald G. Wallace, Ph.D.
In addition, staff heard Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin speak at his first Blythe Outlook Conference since being elected to his post as D.A.
Also, the RAP team convened a meeting to learn about important mental health issues affecting the Palo Verde Community. Present at the meeting, joining the RAP staff, were the following stakeholders: Jerry Wengerd- Riverside County Mental Health Director, James A. Grisham-Desert Region Administrator, Christina Riemer-Blythe Mental Health Supervisor, Christine Castro, Supervisor - Probation, Carmelita Acquina - ICU, ER Head Nurse - Palo Verde Hospital, Nina Foreman, Chief Nursing Officer - Palo Verde Hospital, Cpt. Robert Matthews - Interim Chief Blythe Police Department, and Lt. Jeff Wade - Blythe Police Department.
Although the issues are complex and not easily resolved, the discussion provided an opportunity for all present to learn of current mental health services, staffing limitations, transportation concerns, and the need for "wraparound" services for youth in the juvenile justice system.
The participants unanimously deemed the session productive and worthwhile. RAP looks forward to continuing to explore ways to improve communication and collaboration between these agencies and others in the Blythe community. Our newest RAP Board member, Palo Verde High School Principal Brandy Cox will undoubtedly be invaluable in this effort.
Pictured: Mike Hestrin, Riverside County District Attorney and Trini Arredondo of RAP attended the annual Blythe Outlook Conference in early April. Hestrin, attending his first Outlook Conference, was a featured speaker.
A Message from RAP CEO
The RAP staff continues to work on Mental Health issues with a focus on youth, in accordance with the RAP Foundation Board's first directive for the new Five-Year Plan.
Eastern Valley Violence
Recent violence in the eastern Coachella Valley involving young men has many people concerned about the trend, and thinking about ways to reverse it. In the last two years, RAP has been the leading force behind the creation of the "Healing Circles" program aimed at identifying young men who are struggling in school or home life and teaming them up with mentors. An integral part of Healing Circles are sharing sessions, which help these troubled youths deal with the problems-many of which are all too common-they are having in their lives.
The mentors are community leaders who are members of RAICES, the Coachella Valley Rotary, the Boys and Girls Club of the Coachella Valley and Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation. So far a total of 120 boys have attended Healing Circles conducted in Mecca, Thermal, Coachella and Desert Hot Springs. RAP is exploring potential partnerships to incorporate the Healing Circles into a Coachella Valley Youth Leadership program to increase its services to better address the need for youth intervention programs.
Review of TAP Program
RAP is also taking a hard look at our Technical Assistance Program (TAP) to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses with the goal of ensuring we are meeting the needs of our nonprofit community. The RAP Board has created a subcommittee of members who will be working with a consultant in the next few months to create a Strategic Plan. In addition, they plan to prepare a timeline to identify resources that are needed to support our nonprofits in their efforts to be more effective and efficient. I trust we can count on our community stakeholders to provide us with feedback to help us to improve TAP, and thereby possibly assisting organizations in their various efforts.
First 5 Forum
RAP hosted a "First 5 Riverside" community forum on March 20. We were pleased to have over 20 service providers attend the meeting to learn more about the next First 5 Strategic Plan and to provide input. A recurring theme was the need to improve communication between funders and agencies as well as between and among agencies. There appeared to be strong interest from those present to provide future networking/resource sharing opportunities. Although we are all busy managing our daily duties and unexpected occurrences, it is extremely important to attend public meetings to provide input in areas of interest to our organizations. Otherwise, the best decisions may not be made.
Senior Inspiration Awards
Lastly, RAP is proud to sponsor the Annual Senior Inspiration Award luncheon presented by Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit. The April 10th event was attended by 580 people. Congratulations to this year's honorees: Eleanor Kincannon, Evangelina Garcia, Amalia De La Riva, Sally Simonds, Chuck Lambert, Dick Anderson, Saul Roisentul, Carrie Allan, Marcia Stein, Christine Viau, Edward Coleman. In addition, we extend our congratulations and gratitude to Corky Larson and Jean Benson for their many contributions to our community.
Pictured: Dr. Ann Dew (RAP Board Member), Dr. Efrain Gallardo, Rosemary Ortega (RAP Board Member), and Dr. William Kroonen (RAP Board Member).
Leticia De Lara, CEO
RAP Focuses on Communications/Marketing
With Latest Request For Proposals
Nonprofits in the desert region of Riverside County could benefit greatly from a knowledge of what other nonprofits are doing. And the nonprofit community at large could benefit from communicating its resources more effectively to residents who need those services.
Those two complementary issues, recently revealed by Regional Access Project research, have prompted the RAP's latest Request For Proposals, which seeks a twofold approach to the issue of better communications: 1) Creative solutions for the problem of duplication of services and failure or inability to collaborate among desert nonprofits; and, 2) Outreach to the public, so prospective individual clients know that the services they need are available.
RAP's recent series of forums surveying nonprofits indicates that they have deficiencies in knowledge of what services other organizations provide, leading to gaps in some services and redundancies in others. Clearly, it would be helpful if the right hand knew what the left hand was doing, and if the public were more aware of both.
As a result of this perceived desirability of collaboration and communication between area nonprofits and among the public, RAP has issued a "PR/Marketing" RFP targeting multi-agency cooperation. This RFP has been issued as a result of the RAP Foundation's Mental Health Initiative, a provisional focus on the Mental Health portion of its Mission; the other two areas are Health and Juvenile Intervention.
This new RFP, issued April 6 and closing on May 8, is targeted directly to affected regional nonprofits. These organizations understand the need for cooperation amongst themselves and the need to communicate their services to multi-sector philanthropic funders as well as to clients and potential clients.
Organizations may respond to either one or both parts of the RFP:
1) Mental Health Service Providers Network, with a maximum grant amount of $20,000; and,
2) External to Community-Public Awareness, with a maximum grant amount of $30,000.
For specific information about this RFP, and the two grants available, contact Eva Gunther-James at 760 674-9992, Ext 103 or www.rapfoundation.org.
The current RFP is one of three the organization is issuing in accordance with the RAP Board's new philosophy of being proactive in grant funding in one of our three focus areas. Previously, grant applications were taken on a year-round basis as nonprofits perceived a need for program funding.
Desert Fast Pitch Competition
By the time the competition draws to a close, 12 deserving area nonprofits will have picked up a grand total of $72,000 in grant awards during the second edition of RAP's "Desert Fast Pitch" event. This fall's Fast Pitch is once again scheduled to coincide with the Communications Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 21. (See story on the
in this Newsletter.)
But Fast Pitch is more than just fun and games (and grants). The event, during which 12 pre-qualified nonprofits go all out for grant funding, they pick up valuable tools to deal with the process of obtaining grants.
Following the conference itself, the Desert Fast Pitch (think "Shark Tank") competition gets under way. The Fast Pitch Program not only offers meaningful instruction on storytelling, but it offers instant gratification for a successful "pitch."
Each of the 12 pre-qualified semi-finalists listed below will compete for grants of as much as $23,000 during the competition, which is also designed to teach them how to craft a compelling three-minute message for an audience and a panel of judges.
"Fast Pitch is a great way for non-profit organizations to refine their message, attracting more volunteers and donors," says Leticia De Lara, Chief Executive Officer of RAP. "The inaugural participants really appreciated the professional coaching and networking opportunities they got out of the Fast Pitch competition