Community Development Works - Another Road to a Healthier Community
Since its creation in 2000, Community Development Works has worked toward improving the effectiveness of nonprofits in Central Louisiana. Over the years, CDW’s mission has expanded to include other important aspects necessary to make a community become its healthiest.
Today, CDW uses community development infrastructure as the primary vehicle for citizen involvement in improving the health and well-being of Central Louisiana residents.
Its goals are to increase civic engagement and social capital networks that engage residents in Cenla, to build the capacity of nonprofit leaders and to foster the development of effective organizations.
CDW achieves these goals through a number of programs such as Cenla Boardbuilders, Nonprofit Works, the Learning Lab and Free Nonprofit Trainings.
This year, CDW gave the Central Louisiana community a resource in its new Consultant Directory available through its Web site. Nonprofits and individuals can now search for a consultant with expertise in a number of different areas. The consultants listed in the directory are pre-screened and specialize in working with nonprofit organizations. Consultants can also use this directory to spread the word about the services they offer.
Also a report on the “State of the Cenla Nonprofit Sector” will be released soon and added to the Learning Lab’s available reference materials.
For more information about CDW, visit www.communitydevelopmentworks.org.
Cenla Boardbuilders Recruits for 2009 Class
Recruitment is under way for the 2009 class of Cenla Boardbuilders, a CDW training program for professionals interested in improving their communities by serving on boards of nonprofit organizations.
Nearly 70 individuals have graduated from Cenla Boardbuilders since its 2004 creation, and they are now serving on boards of nonprofit organizations throughout Central Louisiana.
The program is geared toward professionals identified by their employers as emerging leaders with a desire to become involved with the nonprofit sector and the community. It is a six-week program that offers intensive leadership training and builds participant skills in board governance. There is no cost for participation.
The program begins in August with an orientation session. From September to October, participants attend four bi-weekly training sessions on board governance topics. Sessions last about four hours. Participants then attend a matching session where they meet with representatives of nonprofit organizations. Participants make their selections, and then CDW will match them with a nonprofit, according to the participants’ choice and the organizations’ needs. Graduation takes place in late November, and most graduates start serving on boards after the start of the new year. The annual Alumni Meeting is held each spring.
Graduates say Boardbuilders gives them the skills they need to become productive board members. One graduate said the training “gave me the insight I needed to decide what a nonprofit really means.” Another said, “I learned about ways to maintain cohesiveness in the board and how to bring members together.”
Nonprofit organizations enjoy having new board members who are well versed on board issues. “It helps to have someone who can hit the ground running,” said David Britt, president of the United Way of Central Louisiana. Cenla Boardbuilders “gives them a good sense of what a nonprofit is supposed to do.”
If you are a professional looking to join Buildbuilders, a nonprofit looking to strengthen your board or an employer wanting to build leadership skills in your employees, please call CDW at 318-443-7880 or 800-803-8075 or visit www.communitydevelopmentworks.org.
Cenla Boardbuilders graduates had this to say about the program:
Elizabeth Matthews, Human Resources field representative for Gilchrist Construction, joined the board of the Family Counseling Agency.
“Making a commitment to a nonprofit as a board member gives me a feeling of self-satisfaction. As a lifetime resident of Alexandria, I feel honored to serve on a local nonprofit. To me, passion, dedication and commitment are the requirements for a successful nonprofit organization.”
Brittany Sonnier, business banker at Capital One Bank, serves on the board of Wellness Works in Cenla.
“It is not every day that you have an opportunity to serve both an organization and a community that is dear to your heart. Being a board member in central Louisiana is an honor and a privilege that many members of the community would love to have.
When you become a board member, you are allowed to exercise your skills in planning and policy development, community and organizational development and fundraising and support development. By taking part in the decision-making process, you walk away knowing that you helped make Central Louisiana a better community.”
Nonprofit Works helps local groups build capacity
Nonprofit Works is a new capacity-building grant program designed to expand the governance, organizational development and leadership capacities of nonprofit organizations in Central Louisiana.
In February, five nonprofit organizations were approved for funding under the Nonprofit Works Capacity Building Grant program. The organizations are Food Bank of Central Louisiana, Inc., Arts Council of Central Louisiana, Association for Preservation of Historic Natchitoches, Inner-City Revitalization Corporation and Hope House of Central Louisiana. Work in this grant began this month.
These groups will receive one-on-one training in the areas of board governance, organizational development, and coaching and leadership development from local consultants during a two-year grant period.
The Foundation sponsored completion of an organizational assessment process by the nonprofits, using TCC Group’s Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) and BoardSource’s board governance assessment tool. The organizations are using the results as a springboard for improvement.
The next applicant workshop will be held in October 2009. Check for updates on www.communitydevelopmentworks.org.
Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status located in The Rapides Foundation's service area with five or more years existence, a minimum annual budget of $150,000 and a minimum of five to ten active board members can apply for grants up to $50,000.
At a Glance: Community Development Works
Mission is to create and support a community development infrastructure as the primary vehicle for citizen involvement in improving the health and well-being of Central Louisiana residents.
Goals are to build the capacity of nonprofit and community leaders; foster the development of effective organizations; and to increase community engagement and social capital networks that engage residents.
Programs and services include Citizen and Nonprofit Management Training, Ministries in Action, Cenla Boardbuilders, Nonprofit Works, Learning Lab and the CDW Web site at www.communitydevelopmentworks.org.
More than 1,000 leaders trained through Nonprofit Management and Ministries in Action workshops. Nearly 70 new Board members trained, graduated and matched with a local nonprofit agency. Nearly 4,000 visitors to the Web site reporting successfully obtaining needed information. More than 1,300 requests for information or referral addressed in the Learning Lab. More than $200,000 in grant funding awarded since program inception.