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Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
In This Issue
Donate to Compass
2011 Project Leaders
Meet the Micro Projects
Recruiting Micro Project Volunteers
Stay in Touch with Compass
Thanks to B-School Clubs, Booz Allen
CollegeTracks Job Opening
Potomac Conservancy Job Opening
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Vol. 7, No. 3
December 2010

     A few years ago, I made a financial pledge in the fall to donate to my sons' school. As the year went on, my situation changed, and I realized that I wouldn't be able to fulfill my pledge. I was upset and embarrassed, and so I did the least painful thing - I left a voice mail for the Development Director at 7:00 one morning. Later in the day, she sent an email saying that she'd gotten my message and understood the situation. Hoping that was the end of it, I was dismayed when I ran into her later that afternoon. I started in again with my heartfelt apology. She smiled at me so kindly and said, "It's a gift." That caused me to stop. I actually hadn't ever thought of it that way. The fact that I make a choice to give means it is, in fact, a gift! Despite a system of letters and phone calls and reminders and updates, this carefully crafted thing called fundraising is completely dependent on someone's choice. I give because I believe in an organization, the people, and the impact.

It's not unusual this time of year to be thinking about gifts. It's hard to pick up the newspaper without reading about nonprofits that need help right now, because so many people in our community need help right now. The problem seems immense, but every response - big or small - adds up. Every gift gives something.

Last week, I was stopped in traffic for a few minutes. I noticed an elderly woman walking slowly up a long, gradually inclining sidewalk. One step, feet step, feet together. Behind her, a young man hurried along and swept right past her - clearly in a rush. When he had walked about two steps past her, she stopped and almost instinctively, he did too, and he turned around to look at her. I could tell that she couldn't keep walking up the sidewalk. He must have realized the same thing, because as she looked silently up at him, he turned around, walked back to her, and gave her his arm...and slowly they walked up the sidewalk together. Every gift gives something.

          As you consider your gifts this year, I have a few suggestions. It's my job to tell you to consider giving to Compass, but I'd tell you that even if it weren't my job. This year, gifts to Compass enable 225 volunteers to spend seven to nine months helping 27 amazing nonprofits.

Or you might consider giving to one or more of our 27  clients. After a Compass project, these organizations will be energized and ready to do more, better, and sooner. You can find a list of our clients with links to their websites at

Or for an even broader look at nonprofits in Greater Washington, this year's Catalogue for Philanthropy has screened and recommended 82 small nonprofits. The Catalogue is all about giving - bringing interested donors together with effective nonprofits. You can find this year's list of nonprofits at By the way, Compass is on that list this year, as are several of our past and current clients.

          People choose to step up, they choose to give, and they choose to stop and turn around to see what they might have walked past in their hurry. Thank you for giving. I wish you many gifts this holiday season.


Warm regards,


Donations from individuals, companies, and foundations make it possible for Compass to bring over 200 business professionals into the nonprofit sector this year. Consider donating to Compass to support and expand our impact by clicking the Donate Now button below, or on the home page of our website at

Just Give


We're thrilled to have the following talented professionals leading our teams for 2010-2011:

Erica Pierson, Columbia Business School - Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs

Paul Lyons, Harvard Business School - Audubon Naturalist Society

Rachel Battles, Duke Business School - Black Student Fund   

Susan Mayer, Harvard Business School - Cesar Chavez Public Charter School

Darren Kowitt, Columbia Business School - Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Matt Fahnestock, College Success Foundation

Ken Palm, Kellogg Business School - College Success Foundation

Lisa Larson, Duke Business School - Community Education Group

Dermott Ryan, Wharton School of Business - Cultural Development Corporation

Todd Trivett, Duke Business School - DC Law Students in Court

Karen Burkes, Michigan Business School - Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School

Oltac Unsal, Stanford Business School - Emmaus Services for the Aging

Jennifer Blasko, Columbia Business School - Friends of the National Arboretum

Julie Anderson, Duke Business School - Good Shepherd Housing

Petra Kahn, Chicago Booth School of Business - Helen Hayes Awards

Jeff Bowers, Duke Business School - Higher Achievement

Julie Maner, Kellogg Business School - Hope and A Home

Le Tran, Wharton School of Business - Hope and A Home

Carl Grossman, Columbia Business School - Howard University School of Communications

Katheryn Ellis, Chicago Booth School of Business - Kingsbury Center

Eric Guichard, Harvard Business School - National Trust for Historic Preservation, President Lincoln's Cottage

Ken Taylor, Darden Business School - Northern Virginia AHEC

Jeff Kass, Harvard Business School - Signature Theatre

Manas Das, Chicago Booth School of Business - SOC Enterprises

Srini Viswanathan, Tuck Business School - Total Family Care Coalition

Nowell Rush, Harvard Business School - Washington Ballet

Susan Thaxton, Harvard Business School - Washington Ballet

Brian Donohue, Columbia Business School - Washington National Cathedral

Gary Friend, George Washington Business School - Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School

Dale Hamby, Harvard Business School - Yellow Ribbon Fund


In an effort to provide services to nonprofits with revenues between $450,000 and $750,000, Compass is pleased to announce a new program offering. Compass will launch six Micro Projects in January 2011. Compared to traditional projects, these projects will be more focused, shorter (January - May), and use smaller teams (4-5 people). Through Micro Projects, Compass: 1) helps smaller nonprofits that don't qualify for full-size projects, 2) offers shorter projects for volunteers who can't commit to a full-length project, 3) provides a mid-year starting time for volunteers who weren't available or selected in the fall, and 4) most importantly, can help more nonprofits.


We are pleased to announce the 2011 Micro Project clients:


Bethesda, MD

CollegeTracks improves college access and success for Montgomery County Public School students at risk of not attending college or succeeding there.  CollegeTracks serves primarily first-generation-to-college, low-income, minority, and immigrant youth by providing college admissions and success advising as well as financial aid counseling.



Alexandria, VA

CORE's mission is to help low-income adults acquire the technological and life skills to enable them to pursue their career aspirations.  CORE provides computer training, a home computer, job-readiness training and placement assistance, and college credit for the classwork completed at CORE.



Alexandria, VA

Friends of Guest House provides female ex-offenders with the structure, supervision, support and assistance they need to become self-sufficient and responsible members of the community.  They provide various kinds of support including residential and transitional housing and other outreach programs.



Washington, DC

New Community seeks to minimize the incidence of and connection between poor academic performance, low graduation rates, unemployment and poverty for children and youth from low-income homes, by bolstering learning in core academic subjects and teaching strong leadership and decision-making skills.



Alexandria, VA

SSA 's mission is to foster independence and self-sufficiency, enabling seniors within the City of Alexandria to age with dignity.  They operate six programs including DOT transportation, employment counseling, in-home assistance, Meals on Wheels, money management and the Senior Taxi.



Washington, DC

Washington Literacy Council seeks to raise the literacy rates for adults reading on or below the 4th grade level.  The program also offers workplace skills, computer skills training, and job search assistance.


Compass is recruiting Project Leaders for the Micro Projects. Project Leaders must have an MBA. Project Leader applications are due January 7, 2011. Applications are available at:

For volunteer positions, Compass will be reaching out to the people on our waiting list from the fall. However, if you did not apply in the fall, but would like to be considered for a volunteer position on a Micro Project, please complete the application by January 14. The application is available at:


Facebook. Compass is on Facebook. Our group is titled "Compass Volunteer Facebook Group". (If you type in "Compass", you will not be very lucky.) Please join our volunteer Facebook group and take a look at some pictures and videos from past events, stay updated through our wall, and contribute to our existing discussions.

Find us on Facebook

Twitter. Compass is also a Tweeter! We have a Twitter page where we will occasionally send out brief messages. 


Follow us on Twitter

LinkedIn. Please join Compass' group page on LinkedIn called "Compass Volunteer Network." This is a great way to stay connected to Compass' many volunteers.


Compass also has a company page on LinkedIn called "Compass DC". If you are a volunteer, feel free to add "Consultant Volunteer for the __________ Project at Compass DC" or "Board Member at Compass DC" to your LinkedIn profile!

Compass' nonprofit clients benefit from the amazing volunteers who give their time, expertise and intellectual energy. We couldn't recruit these amazing volunteers without the support of the local business schools clubs.

A huge thank you to our Partner MBA Clubs that help spread the word about Compass.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
The Harvard Business School
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Columbia Graduate School of Business
Fuqua School of Business at Duke University
University of Michigan Ross School of Business
University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
Yale School of Management

And a big thank you for the ongoing support from Booz Allen.



Founded in 2002, CollegeTracks' ( changes lives by giving low-income, first generation college bound students the chance to go to college and succeed there. Every Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) graduate deserves the opportunity to go to college, regardless of family income, racial or ethnic background, or whether family members went to college. Working full-time in two Montgomery County High Schools - Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Wheaton - CollegeTracks advises juniors and seniors at risk of not getting to college, assists them and their families in applying for and securing financial aid, and supports their success in college through a college retention program.


Position Description

CollegeTracks is seeking an energetic, motivated, and talented professional to lead our fundraising and communications efforts. A newly created position, the Director of Development and Communications (DDC) will have the opportunity to build the development/communications function while working with a highly committed team and Board.


For a full job description. please email (Ms.) Lee Crane Wood at [email protected]. Applications are due December 18, 2010.



Founded in 1993, Potomac Conservancy protects the health, beauty, and enjoyment of the Potomac River and its tributaries. Our conservation programs address the goals of improving water quality, protecting the river's scenic integrity, enhancing recreational resources, and building an informed and engaged constituency, using a range of tools, including restoration, permanent protection, advocacy, and citizen education and engagement.


Position Description

The Conservancy is seeking a mid-level fundraiser with the interest in leading a comprehensive fundraising program, the creativity to help grow total revenue and a demonstrated track record of executing fundraising strategies and tactics. For full job description, please email [email protected].


Compass would like to remind you that we have a unique nonprofit partner (and former client): Vehicles for Change (VFC). VFC provides a valuable tool to eliminate poverty and strengthen families. We would like to invite you to donate your car to Vehicles for Change. They will award it to a low income family, and then provide a donation to either Compass or the local nonprofit of your choice.
VFC exists so that low-income families can achieve financial and personal independence that comes from owning a vehicle. VFC repairs donated cars and sells them at a minimal fee to low-income families for employment purposes. Jobs, daycare, doctors, and even grocery stores are unavailable without a car. A recent survey showed that 73% of VFC's recipients have obtained better jobs at an average salary increase of $4,800.
How can you help?
Donate a car in good condition and Vehicles for Change will award it to a worthy family. As an added benefit, you might be able to deduct the "fair market value" of the vehicle in your tax return. To learn more or to donate you car, please call 410-242-9674 or visit, and be sure to say that you heard about VFC from Compass!