Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
In This Issue
Prospective Client Information Session
Client Application Available Soon
2013 Micro Projects
Wharton-HBS Leads Council Award
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
2012-2013 Clients



Accokeek Foundation

Adventure Theatre MTC


The Barker Foundation

The Black Student Fund

Carpenter's Shelter

Chelsea School

Child Center & Adult          Services

DC Action for Children

DC Bar Foundation

Education Strengthens         Families PCS


Latino Economic                Development Center

Levine School of Music

Mary's Center

Maryland Hall for the          Creative Arts

N. VA Therapeutic              Riding Program

Public Allies

Quality Trust 

Student Support Center

United Planning                 Organization

The Washington Ballet

Wonders Child Care



Computer C.O.R.E.

Critical Exposure

Dance Institute of              Washington

Father McKenna Center

Girls on the Run - DC

OAR of Fairfax County

PEN/Faulkner                    Foundation

Senior Services of              Alexandria



Capacity Builders:


   Catalogue for                    Philanthropy


   Fair Chance

   Greater DC Cares

   Leadership Sanctuary


   Taproot Foundation

   Volunteer Fairfax


N. VA Housing:

   Good Shepherd                Housing

   New Hope Housing

   United Community            Ministries 


The Jovid Foundation:

   Byte Back

   Samaritan Ministry

   Southeast Ministry

Vol. 10, No. 1
March 2013


When my 12th grade son asked me to listen to a monologue that he had written for his Creative Writing class, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was amazed and surprised when his writing brought tears to my eyes. In the same week, I received an email from my 6th grader's school, which explained to me that my son hadn't been doing his homework for the past two months. After hearing my discussion with his younger brother, my 12th grader said to me, "I was never that bad, was I?" I laughed and told him that he had been so much worse. The days of not doing homework...or doing homework but not turning it in...or forgetting a book at school or at home or in the car...or forgetting to write down an assignment... There were calls and meetings with teachers, advisors, and heads of schools. There were planners and organizers and heart-to-heart talks. Yes, he was as bad as his brother. And now as he prepares to finish high school, he can write something that touches me deeply. He can (usually) turn in his work on time. He was accepted to the college he most wants to attend. The years of coaching, teaching, nudging, and just never giving up have paid off. He has turned into a talented writer (though still a little unorganized) who is finding his way in the world.


Like the time I spend helping my sons, Compass volunteers spend many hours nurturing and supporting our nonprofit clients. Nonprofits face a range of challenges today. Sometimes they need analysis and evaluations and planning, and sometimes they just need someone in their corner. Compass teams do both. We help nonprofits with the issues fundamental to their survival and effectiveness - board development, funding strategies and strategic planning. But so much more happens during a Compass project. When we walk in the door of a new nonprofit client, there is often more going on than the client application indicates. We sometimes find Executive Directors who are ready to quit, concerns about making payroll, boards that aren't providing oversight, and personality clashes between boards and staff, to name a few common issues.


But at the heart of all the "stuff" that's going on, we also find nonprofit leaders working long hours for little recognition - just because they care. We find board members who give their time and resources to help the organization provide services to those in need. Compass teams coach, teach and gently nudge where needed so the good things can come out in the open, and so everyone involved can remember why they are doing what they are doing. The support Compass provides varies from client to client depending on each client's unique needs. Sometimes when we leave an engagement, we've been able to give the world to a large organization that is touching hundreds of lives. Sometimes we help a small, exhausted organization keep its doors open to continue serving the people who depend on its services. Compass provides support that changes and varies, but never gives up.


In April, we will open our Client Application for the 2013-14 project year. Now is a good time for nonprofit leaders and board members to think about applying for a Compass project. Maybe you could use some outside perspective, some specific expertise, or some fresh energy. The work our clients do touches us and our volunteers deeply. The least we can do in return is provide support that makes it a little easier for them to get where they are going.


I hope you'll consider working with a team of Compass volunteer consultants. I'm happy to talk to anyone involved with nonprofits about your organization's needs and how Compass might help. Please give me a call at (202) 459-6291 or email me at [email protected].





Compass' client application for 2013-14 will be available on April 15. If you are considering applying for a Compass consulting project, please join us on May 8 to hear about Compass' Client Application Process. At this optional Information Session for prospective clients, you'll find out
  • How the Compass program works
  • What kind of project would be best for your organization
  • How to apply for a Compass project and get selected
Wednesday, May 8 - 9:00 a.m. coffee; 9:30 program begins


Location: The Meyer Foundation

1250 Connecticut Ave., NW * Washington, DC 20036


Attendees must RSVP to Compass. Please RSVP by May 1.


The deadline for applications is June 14 at 11:00 p.m. Clients will be selected in August, and projects begin in September.


Compass clients must meet the following criteria:

  • Have 501(c)3 status
  • Have a minimum of three paid staff members and a minimum budget of $750,000
  • Provide services that benefit the Greater Washington community
  • Not promote a specific religion, or religious or political beliefs
  • Have an active board of directors


If you are interested in applying for a project, you can view last year's client application on our website.


If you have any questions about which project would be most useful for your organization or about the application process, please contact Suzanne Laporte at [email protected] or (202) 459-6291 to discuss, or plan to attend the Client Information Session on May 8 (see details below).


In 2013-2014, Compass will offer consulting services in the following service lines:


Board Development - Board Development projects aim to improve the effectiveness, engagement, and sustainability of nonprofit boards by reviewing governance, recruitment, training, and meeting and committee practices.


Funding Strategies - Compass can assess traditional revenue sources and revenue-generation methods, or provide analysis and recommendations to support Earned Income Ventures.


Strategic Alignment - Compass helps nonprofits understand options for achieving the greatest impact, based on alignment of mission, programs and resources.


Strategic Planning (2-year projects) - Strategic Planning projects help larger nonprofits create a 3-5 year Strategic Plan, ensuring that board and staff leadership are aligned around key choices. 


Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations - Compass will help nonprofits assess the value and appropriateness of strategic partnerships or collaborations.


We're thrilled to announce our 2013 Micro Project clients and the talented professionals leading these teams.


Computer C.O.R.E.

Amit Shahani, Project Leader


Critical Exposure

Rhonda Watson, Project Leader


The Dance Institute of Washington

Dave Wetzig, Project Leader


The Father McKenna Center

Geoff Brown, Project Leader


Girls on the Run - DC

Ashley Leonard, Project Leader


The Jovid Foundation

Natasha Munshi, Project Leader


OAR of Fairfax County

Kevin Dougherty, Project Leader


The PEN/Faulkner Foundation

Beth Hoffman, Project Leader


Senior Services of Alexandria

Carl Landry, Project Leader


The Wharton-HBS Leads Council is setting up a special fund to support the activities of Compass.  In celebration of its 10th anniversary in June, the Leads Council plans to present an award to an outstanding Wharton or Harvard Business School Compass volunteer from the 2012-13 project cycle.  Leads Council members have enthusiastically embraced the partnership, according to Compass co-founder and Leads Council member Gus Bessalel, HBS '88.  "Given our connection to HBS and Wharton, we think this is the perfect way to support the community and recognize fellow alumni who contribute so much through their project work with Compass."


The Wharton-HBS Leads Council brings area alumni from the two schools together to leverage the power of their networks, learn about each other's businesses and directly share sales leads and business opportunities. The group was founded in 2003 by several Wharton alumni, and in 2011 expanded to include HBS alumni.  With approximately 35 members, the DC/VA and Maryland chapters meet monthly, and membership is open to alumni from both schools.  For information about attending a Leads Council meeting or joining one of the chapters, please contact Heinan Landa, Wharton '91 or visit


Like our clients, Compass is a nonprofit that relies on donations to keep operations running. Every dollar donated to Compass provides $14 of consulting services back to local nonprofits. Compass doesn't charge nonprofits for services, so we rely on funding from generous supporters. This year, 274 Compass volunteers are providing consulting services to 35 local nonprofits. If you haven't donated to Compass during this 2012-13 project year, please consider donating now.

  Donate Now

Thank you for supporting Compass and the many nonprofits that we serve.


We invite you to watch this incredible new video about Compass.


Compass, Who We Are
Compass, Who We Are


One of our 2011-12 clients, Stone Soup Films, creates films for nonprofit organizations to help tell their stories. They did an amazing job telling the Compass story and we are very thankful for their assistance!


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 Compass Blog - Read the latest post by Compass Deputy Project Leader, Melinda Salaman: Learning How to Be A Team Player



Booz Allen 


Arnold and Porter  




Capital One  


Business School Clubs

Thank you to the following clubs for helping us recruit our amazing volunteers: 


The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Columbia Graduate School of Business
Cornell University Johnson School of Management

Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

Harvard Business School

MIT Sloan School of Management

New York University Stern School of Business

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Yale School of Management



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