October 2013  
In This Issue
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer
Save the Date
Project in the Spotlight
Projects in the News
Welcome Our Newest Projects
Sharing What We Learn
Alchemy Leadership Seminar
Events and Learning Opportunities
From the Field

Quick Links

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Catalyst Team

Ravi Shah
Senior Program Associate

Lauren Kay
Communications Manager
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer
Occupy Government, That's What 


When young people these days seek my counsel on what needs doing in society, they often want me to help them find a place in the nonprofit sector. I turn the tables and test their interest in public work by asking them what they think of government. Words like daunting, dysfunctional and doomed come up too frequently. I suspect that 30 years of hearing the cultural echoes of Ronald Reagan's "government is the problem" trope have jaded many. 


There's at least one political party out there presently hanging Americans out to dry with a dead-end mythology of kitchen table government. You know, the kind that comes packaged in a tiny do-it-yourself kit requiring no pesky institutions operating at the scale of a strong society. Beating this drum has gotten a lot of chronic obstructionists elected to Congress and state legislatures. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a break-the-gridlock sort of guy, recently wrote of a paralyzed House of Representatives that's become "a small-minded, parochial place, where collaboration is considered treason, where science is considered a matter of opinion, where immigration is considered a threat, where every solution is a suboptimal compromise enacted at midnight and where every day we see proof of the theory that America is a country that was 'designed by geniuses so that it could be run by idiots.'"  


To read the entire article, please click here.  

Save the Date

An Evening with Community Partners
Tuesday, December 10, 5-7 p.m.  

Project in the Spotlight

Tapping the Power of Tech in South LA

Oscar Menjivar teaches tech to inspire teens.

Could South Los Angeles become a flourishing new center for tech talent, one where young men of color are recruited by Google, not gangs?


Oscar Menjivar thinks so. He started Urban Teens Exploring Technology (Urban TxT), and as a project of Community Partners, he's working to turn that vision into reality.


"We want to be a hub that fosters the best technology talent possible in South Los Angeles," said Menjivar. "There will be over a million jobs in the future that will not be filled because of a lack of talent. South LA can provide that talent."


Raised in South Los Angeles and Watts, Menjivar has firsthand experience with how technology can be a pathway to success in life. "It opened new opportunities for me in my career and allowed me to pursue what I love to do. Because of technology, I've never been without a job."


Through project-based learning, mentorship, and technology, Urban TxT inspires and engages dozens of African American and Latino teens to create rich mobile and web applications like this, to pursue STEM education at the best universities, and to build their own companies.


Students participate in an intensive 15-week program in which they work together in teams to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, leadership, graphic design, programming, and much more. 


Each program culminates in a Demo Day where student teams pitch their companies and applications. This year's winning team developed South LA Runs, a web app that helps South LA residents find safe running routes in the area. Their successes fill Menjivar with pride: "This is an example of our students using what they've learned to give back to the community."


Urban TxT, an all-volunteer effort, is currently in the midst of a $100,000 crowdfunding campaign to bring on professional staff, develop an internship program with local technology companies, and expand to more schools.  


Projects in the News

Urban Scholar Athletes was one of five standouts invited by  MSNBC to participate in its "Advancing the Dream: Educator's Edition" Forum, a nationwide Google+ Hangout discussion on education, Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision and ideals, and what star educators are doing across the country. 
Oscar Menjivar, project leader of Urban TxT, spoke about entrepreneurship, technology, and South Los Angeles with Wendy Carillo on Power 106 Los Angeles.
Friends of Park 101's effort to create a safe, pedestrian and bike friendly park over the 101 freeway was featured on NBC4 Los Angeles. The park would create an accessible, vibrant connection among the cultural and physical resources of El Peublo, Chinatown and the Civic Center  

Welcome Our Newest Project 

Project Leader: Deborah Murphy

Los Angeles Walks promotes walking and pedestrian infrastructure in Los Angeles, educates Angelenos and local policymakers concerning the rights and needs of pedestrians of all abilities, and fosters the development of healthy, vibrant environments for all pedestrians.

Sharing What We Learn

A Twist on Next Generation Thinking
By Sheri Dunn Berry, Director of Programs

The moderator's opening statement was clear: "Don't expect this to be yet another workshop about how nonprofit leaders can work more effectively with Millenials or GenXers, because that is not what we're going to talk about!" What they did talk about, as it turned out, was a lot more interesting.


At the recent Independent Sector annual conference in New York, the workshop focused more on the need for a Next Generation of leadership style, one that is both influenced and embraced across generations. The panel featured nonprofit leaders of differing ages who are creating cultures of inspiration and inclusion within their organizations that mirror the changes they want to see in the world around them. A few of the ideas they shared that most resonated with me:

  • Nonprofit organizations should practice 'distributed' -- rather than "shared" -- leadership. When leadership is distributed, people at all levels in an organization can share their ideas about how to create solutions to community problems; it takes into account the input of people with varied perspectives and life experiences. Shared leadership, while democratic in intent, often winds up being hierarchical in practice. It can stifle innovative thinking when it reflects the shared thinking of people at the top of the organization but does not reflect input from people at other levels.  
  • Next Generation leadership flourishes in organizations that are grounded in values above all else. These new leaders appreciate and rely on relationships and they want to professionally engage in efforts that respect both the heart and the head, that organize around both "data and love."
  • To effect real policy change, it's important to build relationships with people who we consider in opposition to what we want to achieve in our communities and in our society. Storytelling is a powerful tool for creating those connections and a step toward needed cultural shifts.

But my favorite take-away phrase, repeated by two different presenters was this: "We think Love is making a big comeback in our work. And that's what keeps us connected to it."


Alchemy Leadership Seminar


Application Deadline: October 31, 2013


Applications are now being accepted for Alchemy Leadership Seminar, the Annenberg Foundation's signature three-day capacity building training. 


Community Partners works in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation and has helped shape a core part of the Leadership Seminar curriculum, in which both board chair and executive director participate. Together they work through a dynamic program that addresses fundraising, board effectiveness, public involvement and accountability.


The free training is now open to nonprofits from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The sole cost of admission is the attendance of both the executive director and the board chair during the three days of training. For more information, click here.


 Events and Resource Opportunities

Monday, October 21, 9-11 a.m. 


Want to send your staff to more trainings? Conferences? It all costs money. The Center for Nonprofit Management has brought together local funders who are committed to investing in the future of nonprofit professionals. Learn what The Durfee Foundation, The Eisner Foundation, and California Community Foundation are looking for and get your questions answered from the funders' perspective.


The Jewish Federation's ChangeMaker Challenge

Deadline: Friday, November 8 


Have an innovative idea that will make Los Angeles a better place? Whether it's an ongoing service project, a grassroots initiative, or an art installation that will change the face of your community, the Jewish Federation's ChangeMaker Challenge will award grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to projects that will make a meaningful impact on Los Angeles in the areas of transportation, economic development, education, hunger, and civic engagement.  


CalNonprofits Annual Convention 

Thursday, November 14

San Francisco, CA

The Annual Convention is your chance to learn about, discuss, and influence the policy priorities of the nonprofit sector in California. The keynote speaker, Robert Reich, will discuss the economic forecast for nonprofits.  

From the Field

Asking Matters: Tips for a Better Ask


For many of people, the hardest part of fundraising is making the ask. Learn how to better relay your message to and interact with your prospective donors from Asking Matters' free ebook Top Ten Tips on How to Ask for Donation.  


The California Wellness Foundation Ending Unsolicited LOIs 


After November 1, 2013, The California Wellness Foundation will no longer accept unsolicited letters of interest (LOIs) for its Responsive Grantmaking Program, which is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2014. The Foundation will announce the next phase of its grantmaking program next year. 


About Us

Community Partners works with social entrepreneurs, grantmakers and civic leaders to imagine possibilities, design solutions and see them through to results. Our work includes fiscal sponsorship, grantmaker partnerships, thought leadership and knowledge sharing.

1000 N Alameda St, Suite 240 
Los Angeles, CA 90012  
Phone 213.346.3210  
Fax 213.808.1009