December 2014  
In This Issue
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer
Honors & Awards
Project News
Welcome Our Newest Projects
Events and Learning Opportunities
From the Field
Your Contributions Welcome

Quick Links

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Catalyst Team

Ravi Shah
Senior Program Associate

Lauren Kay
Director of Communications
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer

What We Own and What Owns Us


U.S. Secretary for Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald hoped to make lemonade from lemons when he insisted that "better customer service" would fix all that ails the Department of Veterans Affairs. But, with all due respect (and a guess that he's seriously underestimating the scope of the VA's problems), I believe "customer" is an utterly inadequate term for anyone served by government.

Apt in a commercial exchange, the term "customer" reduces the relationship between citizen and government to a mere transaction, which it is not. Businesses market their goods and services to earn customer interest and win customer loyalty. Government institutions don't have to do that because they aren't businesses. They do have to earn our confidence by performing well in their appointed tasks. They don't have to win over our loyalty because we already own them. Much as we seem afflicted with amnesia about the fundamental truth that government institutions belong to us, that's how a democracy works. Citizens collectively own government and entrust stewardship of its institutions to elected officials and civil servants.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Honors & Awards



Two Community Partners projects were honored alongside a law firm at the annual Community Partners holiday gathering. The crowd of almost 200 project leaders, staff, board members, colleagues and well-wishers was the largest yet. And it was "the twenty-second time we've gathered to recognize the good work we all do together," offered Community Partners board chair Eladio Correa.


"A gathering like this - that's friendly, welcoming and built around people with a demonstrated public purpose - is one of the best ways we know to honor and recognize the energy and passion you all put into the hard work of community change every day," President and CEO Paul Vandeventer told those at the event.


In memory of Community Partners co-founder Al Rodriguez, distinguished project leaders and partners are recognized for their work each year with the Albert R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honors. The honors serve to keep alive Community Partners' - and Al's - spirited dedication to ethical integrity, public accountability, and fiscal prudence in charitable enterprise.


This year's Al Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honorees are:

Paul Hastings (accepted by attorney Ethan Lipsig)

For 20 years, the law firm of Paul Hastings has provided invaluable pro bono legal work for Community Partners.

To read the entire article, please click here.


Project News

Citizen Review Board Approved


"Claim your victory," Patrisse Cullors urges her fellow Dignity and Power activists in this video, as they celebrate the approval, last week, of a new Citizen Review Board for the LA Sheriff's Department. Under fiscal sponsorship with Community Partners since early this year, Dignity and Power had been advocating for this controversial board for 2-1/2 years. Approval came with the addition of Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl to the board 


SGV Bike Plan Cycles Forward


"The cities that we're focusing on right now are lower-income, higher-needs communities," said Jackson Lam of BikeSGV, a fiscally sponsored project that has been developing a pioneering bike plan since 2012. The plan is now being submitted to the city councils in the region for endorsement, according to this KCET Departures item



'Not That Jewish' Kicks Off New JWT Space


Jewish Women's Theatre presents "Not That Jewish," its inaugural show for its new Santa Monica performance space. Read more in The Jewish Journal. 


El Monte Promise on Univision


El Monte Promise Foundation, a fiscally sponsored project that begins preparing students for college at an early age, was in the spotlight via this Univision story stressing to parents the importance of saving for college. 

Welcome Our Newest Projects

Santa Barbara Village
Project Contact: Naomi Kovacs

Santa Barbara Village empowers older adults to live happily, healthfully, and successfully in their own homes as they age by providing a network of resources that address members' living needs as well as their social, cultural, and educational desires.

Brooklyn Food Coalition
Project Leader: Kady Ferguson

The Brooklyn Food Coalition (BFC) is a grassroots member-based organization dedicated to the vision of a just and sustainable food system in Brooklyn.


Events and Learning Opportunities


Essential Grant Skills Training
January 13-14

Don't have time to attend The Grantsmanship Center's comprehensive five-day workshop? Check out their two-day Essential Grant Skills training that gives you a focused overview of the grant proposal development process. The training cost is $445; enter code EGS50 to save $50. If you have questions, please email Gail Brauner at

From the Field

Nonprofit Compensation Survey

All nonprofit organizations need current, local compensation data in order to hire the best talent. The C+B Salary Guide is full of the latest information relevant to your organization's commitment to recruiting and retaining the best talent. Click here to participate in the survey and save $250 on the C+B digital or print book that comes out in April.

Spurring Donors to Give Monthly

Issuing a matching grant challenge contingent on a minimum number of new recurring donors can be an effective way to spur a donor to upgrade to monthly giving, according to a recent academic study.

Year-End Appeals: There's Still Time!

Even though 2015 is fast approaching, there is still time to put together a small year-end appeal. Click here for a quick guide on how to reach out to donors and make the ask at the end of the year. 

Free and Easy-to-Use Graphic Tools

We here at Community Partners love finding easy-to-use tools that help you create great infographics and images. Click here and here for lists of tools. And check out this guide for creating infographics in PowerPoint -- yes, PowerPoint!

Thank You Letter Dos and Don'ts

"Do approach thank you letters as the first step in receiving the second gift," is one pearl of wisdom found in 20 Dos and Don'ts for Nonprofit Thank You Notes. 

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 

 Image credits
"GuadalupeNOLA15Oct07Thanks" by Infrogmation of New Orleans - Photo by Infrogmation. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons