Spotlight on Three Women Focused Local Nonprofits

On Tuesday the PCNRC blog posted about the importance of nonprofits working together when organizing and executing a large event like the Women’s March on Washington. This post highlights a few of the national nonprofits who worked to make the March possible and feature their local chapters here in the Northeast Indiana region.

Fort Wayne Urban League

“The Fort Wayne Urbanurban-league League empowers individuals to move toward greater independence and self-sufficiency by providing mentoring education, support and advocacy as well as securing civil rights.”

This local group was founded in 1920 by a group of “forward-thinking Fort Wayne African Americans” who realized the need for an organization to support their new communities as more folks moved from the South to Northern locations. While it started as the Fort Wayne Community Association, in 1948 it became officially known as a chapter of the Urban League and the name changed to recognize that.

The Fort Wayne Urban League provides youth and education services, employment and training services, economic development, and an advocacy program. Their most recent project is the BUILD program which helps people find careers in construction trades.

Northeast Indiana YWCA

“YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Mission is to elimYWCAinate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all in Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells, and Whitley Counties.”

This local chapter was founded in 1894 with the intention of creating a “a safe place for working women to meet”. Over the past 100+ years the Northeast Indiana YWCA has accomplished many firsts for the area. They supported women’s physical health by building the first swimming pool, offered the first Black History class, and opened the first shelter for women fighting abuse.

The Northeast Indiana YWCA provides domestic violence services, addiction services, education services, economic empowerment, and racial justice through their programming. One of their upcoming events includes their Diversity Dialogues series which will take place on February 22nd and will focus on “Celebrating Fort Wayne’s Black History”.

Fort Wayne League of Women Voters

“The League of Women league-of-women-votersVoters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy at the three levels of government: local, state, and national.”

The national League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 while the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention was taking place.

You can find the local chapter around town helping Allen County citizens register to vote as well as working with other local nonprofit organizations to promote the inclusion of women’s issues and representation in politics. Look out for an upcoming event when the Fort Wayne League of Women Voters will be working with Cinema Center for one of the screenings during the Fiercely Feminist Film series in March.

Nonprofits and the Women’s March on Washington

One day after Donald Trump’s inauguration millions gathered around the world to participate in the Women’s March. The original event took place in Washington, D.C. and crowd scientists estimated there were three times more attendees at the Women’s March than Trump’s inauguration. audrey-crowd

There were hundreds of sister marches and some believe that the Women’s March was the largest one day protest ever. The Women’s March mission stated “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

It is remarkable that so many folks mobilized to make a statement about women’s rights and the rights of marginalized groups in the United States. What made this demonstration possible? Along with a group of strong individuals who worked tirelessly since the election in November, support from nonprofit organizations around the country, both national and local, made this demonstration possible.

Planned Parenthood, a national nonprofit organization that works to provide women’s and reproductive healthcare, was both a partner and a sponsor of the March. The organization’s president, Cecile Richards, spoke to the crowd in Washington assuring them that “our doors stay open.” Like other nonprofits, Planned Parenthood works hard to remain in operation so they can continue to offer services to communities. Planned Parenthood along with other organizations came together to make the Women’s March successful.

One example of nonprofits working together locally to make an impact was the partnership between art house theatre Cinema Center and monica-crowdPlanned Parenthood a few weekends ago. Cinema Center screened the film 20th Century Women and part of the proceeds from its debut weekend were donated to Planned Parenthood. By communicating with the film distribution company A24, Cinema Center was able to help out another nonprofit in the area.

Do you work together with other local nonprofits to organize large events? How can the Women’s March inspire your organization’s programming in the future?

Click here to check out the full list of organization partnerships from the Women’s March.

top right photo credit: Audrey Leonard, bottom left photo credit: Monica Young

Grantmakers and Grantseekers

babyRecently the author, Ve Le of “Nonprofit with Balls” blog posted two pieces about the irritating and aggravating things that grantseekers and grantmakers do. The posts are humorous and relatable. Ve complied and created two lists of items that trouble grantmakers and frustrate grantseekers. He collected the lists based on comments from the Nonprofit with Balls Facebook page. Funding Logistics Aggravation, Incomprehensibility, and Laughability (FLAIL) Scale is the title for the items that bother grantseekers and Grant Response Amateurism, Vexation, and Exasperation (GRAVE) Gauge as the title for the items that bug grantmakers. As you can tell already, its comical.

You can look at Ve’s lists and perhaps complete the exercise by finding out your own FLAIL Scale score or GRAVE Gage score below.



Here’s Ve’s original post on the FLAIL Scale and the GRAVE Gage.


Short is Not Sweet

Kelly UpdikeA Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Every January I have to arrive early at fitness class.

This is because I need to stake out my favorite spot – near the back, not in front of the mirrors – because most of the room is filled with ladies who have made New Year’s resolutions.

By February I don’t have to get there early any more.

Ouch. Four short weeks and that resolution went ppfffttt for at least 30 people.

My own resolutions were often as short-lived. Lately, I haven’t even bothered thinking about resolutions, let alone making them.

How to break the cycle? Well, my New Year’s resolution is going to be something that I can actually enjoy and thus want to sustain: I’m going to set 12 appointments, averaging one per month, with someone I don’t know very well and admire greatly for his or her work in the community.

Because I’m a shy person (seriously!) who also is a bit socially awkward (my sense of humor aligns well with 12-year-olds), this is a stretch for me personally. Which qualifies this resolution as a growth opportunity. And because calendars quickly go to awfully full, I will need to exert some discipline to schedule each meeting.

I’m motivated to hear more from folks who are quietly changing our world, from health services to sports and leisure. Let me know if you want to have coffee or have ideas on another great person to meet. And I hope to share with you what I learn about fundraising from these sessions.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Welcome Elana! new PCNRC Intern

Hello! I’m Elana, the new intern at the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center. I’m currently a senior at IPFW majoring in Anthropology and Women’s Studies. I also work at the Fort Wayne Cinema Center. When I’m not at IPFW, the library, or Cinema Center, I can usually be found walking around the Little Wabash Nature Preserve or spending time with my dog Jadie on the couch at home.

I love to consume media and I’m constantly trying to engage people in conversations about books, music, tv, film, etc. I’m also interested in discussing the political world and the ways our identities influence our perspectives and experiences.

Being involved inelana_pic the community is important to me and I’m always looking for opportunities to help people become more informed and active citizens. I’m excited to be at the PCNRC because my internship allows me to assist people in accessing information and transforming knowledge into action.

I look forward to meeting people as I spend more time at the PCNRC desk! – Elana

Philanthropy in Allen County: Carrie Minnich

Philanthropy Fort Wayne is a short series of features designed to highlight why and how members of the Fort Wayne Community support nonprofits.  Over the course of the summer, we’ll be featuring responses from different nonprofit professionals, volunteers, employees, and board members to showcase Allen County nonprofits!

Carrie Minnich

Carrie Minnich

What nonprofit organizations are you associated with and in which capacities (employee, volunteer, board member, etc.)?

I currently serve on the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir board but I also work with many nonprofit organizations in my day job as an accountant. I also serve as the CPA Adviser for the Upstate Alliance of Realtors and have volunteered for many years for the United Way Day of Caring.

How did you first become involved with your current organization(s)? 

After serving on the Foellinger Foundation’s Community Interest Grant Review Committee (which if you have a chance to do so, I’d highly recommend it), I was approached by the Choir to serve on their board.

What is your favorite part of the organization(s) you work with? Why?

My favorite part about serving the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir is being able to see all of the amazing things that the kids are able to accomplish. Having no musical talents myself, I find it amazing how quickly the kids are able to learn to read music and sing so wonderfully. And they can sign in different languages! It’s pretty amazing. Jonathan Busarow, the Executive Artistic Director, has shown the board different learning tools used with the Choir so we can experience what the kids do. Again, it’s amazing! And the Choir just returned from a European tour where they got to travel to Hungary (and other countries) where the Kodaly method of music education started. This is the method used by the Choir to teach kids how to read music.
Another reason that I enjoy serving the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir is the passion that all of those involved with the Choir have, from the board to the staff to the volunteers.

What makes working with nonprofits fulfilling for you? What is the coolest thing about the organization(s) you work with?  

I have a passion for working with nonprofits. Not only the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir but all of the other nonprofits that I work with in my day job. I love seeing the impact that these organizations have in the community. I think often times nonprofits and their contribution get overlooked but without them, the community wouldn’t be able to survive. I love being able to help an organization tell their story through their financial information. Nonprofits face unique challenges and I enjoy being able to help them with these so that they can focus on their mission.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love nonprofits!

Would you like to be a part of our Philantropy Fort Wayne series? Take this short survey

Liberal Arts Educations and Nonprofit Careers

2016-03-30 09.09.10
Amanda Neumann

The value of Liberal Arts educations has become an especially prominent discussion in Fort Wayne, as Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne has proposed changes, namely through the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP) report.

The USAP report offers a slew of recommendations, the most controversial of which is restructuring of nine departments in the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS). In a response rejecting the report, COAS faculty stress the importance and value of Liberal Arts educations.

This response from the faculty highlights how Liberal Arts educations provide more than training for a specific career or career field—they provide students with invaluable skills aimed at personal and professional growth that also “enables them to be productive citizens of their local, regional, national, and international communities.

And these skills are vital to gaining entry into successful careers. 

And as a recent graduate from IPFW’s College of Arts and Sciences, I can clearly see how my Liberal Arts education kindled my passion for philanthropy and prepared me for entering the nonprofit field. While not all Liberal Arts graduates pursue full-time careers in the nonprofit sector, there are many ways that Liberal Arts graduates are vital to the local and global philanthropy.

How do Liberal Arts Educations and Nonprofit Organization Connect?

Who is best fit to work in a nonprofit?

A study published by The Wall Street Journal states that individuals best fit for nonprofit careers are “natural leaders with a strong sense of empathy, a passion for helping others, and unlimited perseverance in the face of setbacks will be successful in the field.” This describes Liberal Arts graduates to a tee. Further, Liberal Arts educations stress the importance of flexibility and creative problem solving, which requires a certain level of perseverance.

Do Liberal Arts degrees lead to nonprofit careers?Liberal Arts Capture

While many people pursue graduate degrees in nonprofit management, most nonprofit professionals have no formal education directed at nonprofit careers.

However, the skills learned in Liberal Arts educations are highly sought after in most job markets. One study showed that 93% of employers agree that a candidates demonstrated critical thinking ability, complex problem solving, and effective communication is more important than their undergraduate major.

How do Liberal Arts graduates fit into the future of nonprofits?

Is freelancing the future of nonprofits? A recent article published by Top Nonprofits suggests that while millennials aren’t interested in the classic 9-5 workdays, that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in fulfilling nonprofit careers. There are a few ways that hiring freelance or contract employees is beneficial to nonprofits.

For example, nonprofit organizations can hire for a specific skill, such as grant writing, online marketing, or research. Hiring freelance or contract employees for specific projects or programs can also help organizations work within their budgets–as many organizations may not be able to afford a full time grant writer or creative marketing strategist.

In many ways this makes Liberal Arts graduates perfect for freelance contracts with nonprofit organizations. Additionally, freelancing for nonprofits also helps recent college graduates, or even students, to involve themselves in an organization they may not have the time or resources to volunteer with.

How can Liberal Arts programs help local nonprofits?

Undergraduate Liberal Arts programs often offer internship or service learning opportunities to students. These opportunities can be internships at local businesses, independent service projects, or internships at nonprofits.

Through these opportunities universities and nonprofits can work together to help to train and support the next generation of nonprofit professionals and volunteers. By hiring students for internships that equate to college credit, nonprofits can help both the students and their organizations. Students without the resources or financial means to volunteer for nonprofit organizations, or take unpaid internships, are offered the opportunity to merge education and philanthropy–while adding to their LinkedIn resume. Likewise, universities benefit from working with local nonprofits by helping strengthen local their local communities.

What do local Liberal Art graduates have to say?

“My Liberal Arts educational has majorly influenced my success in my job. At the center we have children from lots of different socioeconomic, racial, and religious backgrounds. A liberal arts education is usually comprehensive in that you take classes from multiple disciplines. Being exposed to and learning about psychology, sociology, anthropology, African American studies, etc. has given me the information I need to be able to relate with and be sensitive to the diverse student population I work with. At least half of all the instructors I work with have liberal arts educations and it’s wonderful working with people who can bring their own specialized perspectives to discussions about students in a respectful way. It also helps that we have some education in each other’s disciplines, as we are able to support or challenge each other’s ideas based on our own knowledge. This collaborative environment really elevates the services we provide for the children we work with. I have a hard time understanding why people devalue a liberal arts education when I see its value every day I’m at work. If people could not receive liberal arts educations, I believe you would have a hard time finding workers who are ready to serve the diverse populations you see in nonprofits.” 
Abbie Harter
Degree: B.A. in Psychology
Nonprofit: Fort Wayne Center for Learning

“I’d say that graduating with a degree in theatre freed me up to do what I want. I didn’t feel like I had to pursue a certain path because there really is no direct path in art. I approach my work with curiosity, which is absolutely necessary in solving problems in a waiver home for people with disabilities.”
Joel Miller
Degree: B.A. in Theater
Nonprofit: Bethesda Lutheran Communities

“After completing a baccalaureate degree in nursing, I finished a certificate program in Women’s Studies at IPFW.  In my current role I work on projects that strive to reduce infant mortality in northeast Indiana.  My liberal arts education prepared me to work and partner with other non-profits and to better understand and respect the people and cultures that make up my community.
Erin Norton
Degree: BSN, Certificate in Women’s Studies
Nonprofit: Parkview Health