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MW&A Nonprofit Quarterly

Smart decision making for your advancement programs  




Winter 2013

Message from Michelle

If your non-profit is growing, changing and leaning into 2013 with added challenges but the same resources, I'll tell you all you need to know: hire well.


Every employee you bring in this year needs to build your organization's capacity in ways that matter, every day. Lean operations know this secret. It's not about hiring one person to do two jobs. It's about hiring one phenomenal person to do one job with the kind of care, expertise and inspiration that extends your organization's abilities to accomplish the work smarter, faster and in ways that inspire other employees, your donors and members.


Readers of Jay Goltz's small business blog in the New York Times may be familiar with his belief that hiring is perhaps the most critical factor in running a business. I agree that this is one truth shared across the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Nothing will add as much value to what you do as an outstanding employee, and nothing will cost you more than a weak one. If you are in the position to add even one employee this year, make that decision as if it were the most important decision you'll make in 2013, because it really is. Whether your are building or re-building this year, your organization's capacity to do well and grow is inextricably linked to the quality of every person on your staff. Choose carefully and gaining capacity will happen, naturally.


Happy New Year!


PS:  Today the 17 executives placed by MW&A over the past two years are creating growth and change in communities around the country. If you need to launch a search, let us help you find your next outstanding team member.     

In This Issue
FEBRUARY EVENT: OC Summit for Non-Profit Leaders Panel
MW& A Helps ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY LA Build Out Bridge Program
MW&A Joins Partners in the Public Interest:
SKYPE & Tele-Consulting for Immediate and Off-site Counsel
What our clients want you to know
WHAT'S NEW: Grants & Clients
FEBRUARY EVENT: OC Summit for Non-Profit Leaders Panel Features

MW&A is one of a handful of experts ( and the only consulting firm!) invited to share insights with more than 250 Orange County and Regional grant-makers, non-profit executives, board members and emerging leaders at this annual invitation-only event February 7 & 8.  


The conference theme, "From Surviving to Thriving" echoes MW&A's core practice, focused on helping non-profits take practical steps to stabilize operations for maximum future community impact. "I have been asked to lead a panel addressing the need to assess development programs and strategies.  I'm looking forward to this opportunity to do a climate check with so many leaders in the room," says Michelle. "Orange County's specific needs and resources are constantly dynamic, so every chance to remind funders and CEO's of the necessity of revisiting what is and isn't working is critical." Check out the OC Funder's Roundtable website for more information.


MW&A Helps ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY LA Build Out Bridge Program
After more than a decade of providing low income adults with free college humanities courses, books, supplies and transportation,
Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) is now expanding its remarkable Bridge program into Boyle Heights at the Technology Youth Center and exploring partnership opportunities in the Crenshaw district and in Long Beach.


Michelle Whiting & Associates is pleased to be a part of this life-changing initiative which has already altered the paths of over 500 adults in the greater Los Angeles area by bringing quality higher educational opportunities at no cost to the most underserved communities.  


In addition to securing a grant from the Weingart Foundation, while several others are pending, MW&A connected AULA with a former client, The Institute for Evidenced Based Change (  to establish an ongoing annual evaluation plan, and to begin design of a longitudinal tool for tracking of the program's impact.  


Students in the AULA Bridge program take classes in the humanities including philosophy, literature and creative and academic writing for up to 15 university-level transferable units towards a bachelor's degree. The Weingart Foundation grant will also help support GED and post-Bridge support as students enter two and four year institutions. The innovative Bridge program is part of AULA's historic commitment to progressive education and social justice. 


PBS SoCal To Amplify Voice of OC
MW&A Joins Partners in the Public Interest

Orange County's public television station PBS SoCAL is partnering with MW&A client Voice of OC, the web-based non-profit investigative news agency reporting on all issues connected to OC politics and elected officials.


Voice of OC reporters and editors will contribute to PBS SoCal's Real Orange broadcasts weekly, delivering the type of journalism many newspapers have pulled back from in lean times, according to Mike Taylor, news director at PBS SoCal.


"This is an ideal partnership to strike up with an amazing investigative news team - it's a natural partnership," Taylor says.


Voice of OC's contributions will focus on the political process in Orange County, illuminating a broad range of issues facing communities and elected officials across the county.


"The idea here is to give the public a front seat at public policy, not after its been made, but before it is made," says Norberto Santana, editor in chief of the Voice of OC.


MW&A has been working with Voice of OC since Summer 2012, leveraging their national reputation to build institutional funding throughout the region.

SKYPE & Tele-Consulting  

for Immediate and Off-site Counsel

In a challenging climate for non-profits, there are times when expert advice and insight is needed ASAP. Whether you are one of MW&A's clients, or you are faced with a challenge and considering engaging our services, connect with Michelle for immediate strategic consulting. We can find solutions by spending time together on the phone or Skype.


Support, guidance, and solid steps that lead to real results available for individuals and institutions seeking any of the following services:


  • Fund Development Strategies
  • Design and Preparation for Major Gifts or Capital Campaign
  • Board & Leadership Development
  • Reinvigorating your stalled campaign
  • Creatively Enhancing Your Annual Fund Drive
  • Personal Coaching


Please visit our website for tele-consulting rates and package discounts.


What our clients want you to know...
"With the help of Michelle Whiting & Associates, Caterina's Club continues to grow. In just the last 3 months MW&A has raised over $125,000 for our organization in grants and pledges, while overseeing the 501(c)3 application process with our pro bono legal counsel at Latham & Watkins.  


When I was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of the World in 2011 for founding Caterina's Club, donations began pouring in - reaching close to $1,000,000.Thanks to the help of Michelle and her team, we've been able to keep the momentum going. We look forward to what the future holds through this amazing partnership with MW&A."

     -Bruno Serato,


Serato is the chef /owner of White House restaurant in Anaheim.


Read The Los Angeles Times story about how his non-profit Caterina's Club feeds hundreds of homeless children who live with their families in Orange County motels.

Click here to view the December 27, 2012 Los Angeles Times story 


WHATS NEW: Grants & Clients

GRANTS:  MW&A worked with the following organizations to secure these grants during the 2012 Fall funding cycle:


Achievement Institute of Scientific Studies (Southern California)
Ceres Foundation 2012: $15,000

Antioch University Los Angeles
Weingart Foundation 2012: $50,000

Caterina's Club

A. Gary Anderson Foundation 2013: $50,000

Jon Curci Family Foundation 2012: $10,000

Roy E. Crummer Foundation 2012: $2,000   




Alzheimer's Association of Orange County

Organizational Growth Planning


Voice of OC: Orange County's Nonprofit Investigative News Agency

Capacity Building and Foundation Relations 


Charitable Ventures of Orange County/Caterina's Club

Foundation Relations & Grants Development 
Stewardship of 501(c)3 Process 


Terry Lee Wells Foundation (Reno, NV)

Board of Trustees Retreat Facilitation

Grantee Organizational Assessment


American Friends of the Tate (NY)

Major Gifts Planning


Pretend City Children's Museum (Orange County)

Foundation Outreach and Calendar

Director of Development Search


ProCon.Org (National)

CEO Executive Search
Strategic Foundation Outreach


Antioch University of Los Angeles

Foundation Relations and Grants Development    


Common Threads (Chicago)

Common Threads Los Angeles Program Development


The Joffrey Ballet (Chicago)

National Institutional Giving Strategies


Pro Bono Services

MW&A Pro Bono Services Available April 30th Deadline  


Michelle Whiting & Associates provides pro bono services for two worthwhile causes each year.  


Organizations selected are those with missions supporting social justice projects, women and girls, and visual and performing arts.  Required Grant Applicant Criteria:

  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) status
  • Located in: Southern California, Chicago, Illinois, New York, or Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  • Annual budget of less than $1M

If you meet our criteria and are interested in being considered for a project,  please visit our website for our application process.      


Applications are accepted twice a year during the months of April and September.



Visit Our Website

The Terry Lee Wells Foundation has worked with Michelle Whiting & Associates on two very different but important projects.  First, Michelle facilitated our trustee retreat helping us align our grant-making goals for the next five years with the priorities of the Northern Nevada communities.

Michelle and her team then embarked on a comprehensive assessment of our largest grantee.  It was really a head to toe exam of the organization.  The findings and recommendations have helped change the face of this organization, and have greatly assisted myself and the other trustees of the Foundation in mapping out how best to financially support them in the future.

On a personal note, Michelle is a dream to work with-fastidious but charming, and always willing to go the extra mile in providing support, new ideas and creative solutions.  The Terry Lee Wells Foundation looks forward to working with her for years to come!

Dawn Wells
Chairman of the Board
The Terry Lee Wells Foundation







Michelle Whiting & Associates  delivers results that exceed other consulting firms.  Michelle personally possesses a rare blend of big picture thinking and the ability to execute on detail. 


Michelle was initially referred to me by a Chicago colleague, and we hired MWA as the Museum was preparing for a change in executive leadership. Michelle conducted a top to bottom assessment of current development activities, noted areas of strengths and weakness and developed a highly actionable month by month Fund Development plan to guide the new Executive Director for the first 18 months.  Michelle identified additional sources of income and recommended appropriate levels of funding. 


Her practical approach built confidence among both the Board and Staff during a time of change.  Michelle Whiting is a rainmaker in my view!



Maryna Hrushetska
MH Art Advisory
(Former Executive Director, Craft and Folk Art Museum)

Maryna Hrushetka


I have been privileged to work with Michelle Whiting on behalf of two very different non-profit organizations.

One is a small, artist-run, modestly budgeted contemporary fine arts organization, and the other is a private school with a progressive educational philosophy and a multimillion dollar budget.

What has impressed me is that in both circumstances, Michelle has taken the time to study and gauge each organization's specific challenges, and then works forward from a place of real understanding. She does not offer simple "cookie cutter" solutions to complex and unique situations.

What's more, Michelle is very generous in sharing valuable suggestions and advice for how to proceed once her consultancy is completed. She is fun to work with and she is passionate about her work-a great combination!

Jeff Beall
Vice Chairman, Westside Waldorf School

Chairman, Project X Foundation for Art and Criticism

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