December 2013  
In This Issue
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer
Projects in the News
Welcome Our Newest Project
Sharing What We Learn
From the Field

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Catalyst Team

Ravi Shah
Senior Program Associate

Lauren Kay
Communications Manager
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer
'Love and Indignation' Drive a Commitment to Social Change

Move LA's leadership team from left to right: Denny Zane, Founder and Exeuctive Director, Beth Steckler, Deputy Director, and Gloria Ohland, Policy and Communications Director
"All of us in this room share two things in common," said Denny Zane at Community Partners' December 10 holiday gathering, "love and indignation." It's both of those seemingly conflicting feelings, he concluded, that drive people to devote so much time and energy, brains and heart to tackling difficult social and civic challenges. I think that sums up pretty well the character of everyone running a project at Community Partners.
I'd even up the ante on Denny's assertion: it takes a quantum of love and indignation to bring a democracy to life.  

To read the entire article, please click here.  

Projects in the News  


We are thrilled by the recent news that WriteGirl, a project with Community Partners since 2002, was honored with National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation's highest honor for after-school programs. Keren Taylor, the founder and director of WriteGirl, traveled to the White House along with program mentee Jacqueline Uy to accept the honor from Michelle Obama. WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills to empower teen girls, is one of just 12 organizations from 350 nominees nationwide to the receive the honor, and the only one from California. WriteGirl celebrates it's 12th year this month, and we couldn't be more proud of their achievements.

First Lady Michelle Obama, 16-year-old WriteGirl mentee Jacqueline Uy, and WriteGirl's project leader and founder Keren Taylor at the White House.


The Los Angeles Times took a look at the impact of Los Angeles Food Policy Council's Good Food Purchasing Pledge on LAUSD and local farmers and businesses.

The Valley Film Festival, which recently held its annual screening event, was featured on NBC, reminding us that the San Fernando Valley is its "own quirky, inventive, and strange place, cinema-wise."

The Jewish Women's Theatre, under the producing hand of project leader Ronda Spinak, recently performed it's show "Rosewater and Saffron," about the varied experiences of Iranian Jewish women, to a packed house at the 92nd St Y New York.
NewGround: A Muslin-Jewish Partnership for Change was another project of Community Partners recently represented at The White House. New Ground's Sarah Bassin traveled to Washington as an invited guest of the president's annual Hanukah celebration and candle-lighting ceremony.

Welcome Our Newest Project

Cinematic Arts Academy @ Millikan Educational Resources Association (CAAMERA) 

Project Leader: Genevieve Colvin

CAAMERA attracts volunteers, secures funding, pays for field trips, conducts community outreach, engages in advocacy, and provides visibility for the Cinematic Arts Academy.


Sharing What We Learn

More Crowdfunding Wisdom


Crowdfunding is one of the biggest fundraising trends to hit the nonprofit sector in years. And while useful, it is by no means an alternative to a strategic development effort: it's fundraising on steroids.


This was a key point emphasized at a recent gathering of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, of which Community Partners has been an active member for nearly a decade. A diverse learning network of nonprofit fiscal sponsors from across the country, participants -- who together sponsor hundreds of nonprofit projects nationwide -- meet regularly to share best practices in the creative and complex world of fiscal sponsorship. Crowdfunding was a hot topic at a recent November meeting, especially with NNFS members that primarily sponsor projects led by musicians, artists and filmmakers.


The experience of NNFS members confirmed that potential donors will rarely stumble onto a crowdfunding campaign and spontaneously decide to donate to a cause with which they are not familiar. All effective fundraising requires careful cultivation of potential donors. A crowdfunding campaign will only be effective if a project has developed a broad and engaged list of supporters.  


Here are some of the lessons shared for an effective crowdfunding campaign:

  • The average online donation is $75 (though the most common online donation is $20). Someone who decides to contribute a large amount, say $5,000, is a "relationship giver" who has been cultivated over time.
  • A crowdfunding campaign is most effective when it is time-limited and a fairly small component of an overall fundraising effort. Projects seeking funds should think of crowdfunding like an event -- an online gala  --  which is best used as a way to fund the last  portion of an activity that has already gained significant momentum.
  • Having a video for s crowdfunding campaign is standard, regardless of which platform (such as Indiegogo or Razoo) is used. If projects don't have a succinct and compelling video online, then donors don't perceive them as being very prepared.
  • Online crowdfunding campaigns are not an effective way to attract big donors or older donors. And even in this digital age, 80 percent of all donations come from hard checks.

The bottom line was that while crowdfunding can be a useful tactic, it is a limited fundraising tool. Ultimately, projects must develop and maintain meaningful relationships with potential donors to ensure long-term financial success. 


From the Field

Infographic: What is Driving Nonprofit Sector's Growth?


Despite the recession, the nonprofit sector has thrived. Take a look at The Nonprofit Quarterly's infographic on the size and economic impact of the nonprofit sector in the United States. 

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 
[email protected]