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Around Town: October 29-31

Happy Friday, Greater Washington. And more importantly, Happy Halloween! In between encounters with your friendly neighborhood ghosts and goblins, you should consider celebrating with our great non-profits — visiting a haunting house or dancing Halloween-style in Dupont are also great follow-ups to rallies on the Mall.

Friday, October 29

7:00 PM-9:00 PM — Thriller on H Street (Joy of Motion Dance Center): learn the moves and dance under the stars on H Street NE. Moonwalk contests and door prizes are also involved. Seriously, need I say more?

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In The News … (More!)

Good morning, folks! A few more intriguing items caught me eye today, so I thought that we’d double up on the news digest this week. On a related note, I spent yesterday evening at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (a Catalogue non-profit!) on H Street NE for presumptive mayor-elect Vince Gray’s Ward 6 town hall meeting. Do let us know if you were there and have any post-town hall thoughts; I was in the over-flow room with the video feed, so I would certainly be interested in tales from the main room! Speaking of which:

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In The News …

Good morning! We’re mid-way through the week and ever-closer to Halloween. Check out some interesting non-profit news on this Wednesday morning, as well as some great coverage for Catalogue’s own organizations:

Where Do You Fit in the Market?: Hop over to Social Velocity for this post on the ideal position of (new) non-profits in the marketplace. The piece makes a smart, concise argument for high-impact services for a specific community, asserting that “a nonprofit is best positioned where their core competencies (those organizational assets they have that cannot be easily taken or replicated) intersect with a community need.”

Going ‘Mad’ for Pro Bono: I am digging this post from the Taproot Foundation, which delves into an intriguing episode of AMC’s Mad Men. Namely, the finale of the fourth season wherein the central ad firm loses Lucky Strikes as a client and goes on to partner with the American Cancer Society pro bono. As the fictional executives ultimately realize, “pro bono service … infuses the power and prestige of business with the vision and passion of the nonprofit sector to give birth to a wealth of entrepreneurial capital.”

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7 Questions – Kristine Thompson (Calvary Women's Services)

Welcome to GoodWorks, Kris Thompson! Kris is the Executive Director of Calvary Women’s Services, which provides homeless women with both temporary housing and the resources and support to live independently in the future. Read on to learn more about Calvary, Kris, and her heroes:

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

With more women in need of housing, employment and support services, I’ve been working on expanding Calvary Women’s Services’ programs and housing capacity. It’s been great fun talking with long-time supporters about this project and having them respond positively to this opportunity to make further positive change in our community. I really can’t wait to see more women coming in our doors and having the resources to turn their lives around.

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Put Me In, Coach!

“Our work is very individualized for each client, but many people want to be more strategic, more proactive. We serve as a sounding board, as well as provide information … The coaching role comes into play more when someone wants to go down a distinctive path, developing a strategy with measurable impact.”

- Lisa Philp, JP Morgan Private Bank

Sound like solid and standard advice from a wealth manager? Turns out, Philp is not talking about buying stocks or investing in a start-up. She is talking about philanthropy.

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Around Town: October 23-24

Coming this weekend to a non-profit near you …

Saturday, October 23

8:00 AM-2:00 PM — DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk (Polaris Project): join thousands on the National Mall as they raise awareness of human trafficking and funds for organizations working to end it. Register here!

10:00 AM-noon — West End Walking Tour (Coalition for Smarter Growth): take a morning walking tour from Downtown to Georgetown and explore how community involvement has shaped the neighborhood, plus check out Francis Field and Michael Jordan’s old haunts!

8:00 PM — Dance Performance (Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co): catch the premiere of “Charlie Chan and the Mystery of Love” and leap into 1930s Hollywood through a multi-media dance exploration set to period music and the spoken word poetry of Wilma Consul. — SOLD OUT

8:00 PM — Masterworks 2 Concert (Fairfax Symphony Orchestra): head over to the George Mason University Center for the Arts for a beautiful evening of Sibelius, Mozart, and Bartok. Tickets right here.

Saturday, October 24

3:00 PM-6:00 PM — The World’s Largest Indoor Picnic (A Wider Circle): for real! Kids can enjoy a giant Wii screen, Moonbounce, and miniature golf course, while adults can stop by the driving range or silent auction, plus there will be plenty of good food all afternoon.

3:00 PM-6:00 PM — Voice of the River: The Paintings of Leea Baltes (Potomac Conservancy): experience the serenity of our natural world in this brand new exhibit of acrylic paintings at River Center Lock 8.

7:00 PM — 8:00 PM — Dance Performance (Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co): do not miss your chance to see one of the first performances of “Charlie Chan and the Mystery of Love.” Friday and Saturday night shows sold out before I could type this. Tickets this way.

Have a great weekend and hop over to Happenings for extra information.

Companies for Causes

A few times, yesterday included, I touched on the application (or imposition?) of for-profit business models on non-profit organizations. Should non-profits take the lead from more traditional businesses or are the two models incompatible? In the future, I would like to delve further into this question. But for now, I’d like to raise a more specific one: can and do these two entities meet and talk about one another? In other words, do non-profits have a forum to discuss corporate partnerships and do corporations have one to discuss community outreach?

Enter Companies for Causes, whose aim is just that: bringing together medium-sized local businesses to brainstorm and launch philanthropic endeavours as well as entrepreneurial ones. Essentially, this effort will provide the network and resources for companies to expand their reach (and deepen their impact) in the Greater Washington community. Their first symposium is coming up next Wednesday, October 27. You can see the agenda here, sign up for more info, and check out these interviews:

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In The News …

Good morning, Washington, and welcome to Wednesday! We have a number of news items that caught my eye in the past couple of days:

Top Fund Raisers in ‘Philanthropy 400′ Saw Steep Drop in Donations: according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Chronicle of Higher Education, “private giving to the nation’s biggest charities, including more than 100 colleges, dropped 11 percent last year.” More than 25% of those 400 are colleges or universities. However, four of the top 10 did experience an increase, including the AmeriCares Foundation (No. 3), which “achieved an 18.1-percent rise in giving, mostly in food, medicine, and other donated goods.” Continue reading

7 Questions – Nina Smith (GoodWeave USA)

I am pleased to welcome to GoodWorks … Nina Smith, Executive Director of GoodWeave USA! GoodWeave USA combats child exploitation in the handmade rug industry by recruiting manufacturers to make and sell child-labor-free carpets and by providing schooling and opportunities to rescued children. Read on for her inspiration, advice, and everyday heroes:

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

We’re partnering with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on a major permanent exhibition entitled Invisible: Slavery Today. GoodWeave is one of four NGO partners in this exhibit, which highlights the issue of modern-day slavery and the many ways that nearly 27 million people around the world are living as slaves. The stories of children who GoodWeave has rescued from slavery and their poignant images are prominently featured. I was there for the exhibition opening on October 8th. The museum is a very special place and the Invisible exhibit is the only one of its kind. It has great potential to raise awareness and move people to action through their purchasing practices, philanthropy, and advocacy.

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Short and Sweet?

I just noticed today (courtesy of Culturebot) that the Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia is accepting applications through the end of the month. I’m jumping a few states away, but after clicking through their website, I found the philosophy of the Arts Challenge, and the application process in particular, quite intriguing.

In a nutshell, this September, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation “launched a three-year, $9 million initiative … providing new funding opportunities to the steadily rising Philadelphia arts scene.” The parameters for applicants are broad to say the least:

1) The idea must be about the arts. 2) The project must take place in or benefit Philadelphia. 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

When I first read this, I asked, “That’s it?”

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