Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
In This Issue
Client Application - Deadline June 14
Do More 24
2012-13 Project Stories
Thanking Volunteers
Thanks to This Year's Team Leaders
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Vol. 10, No. 2
June 2013



As a single mom of three boys, there are often certain tasks - not to mention conversations - that I wish could be handled by a dad. This was my feeling on a recent Saturday as I headed to a men's clothing store to buy suits and tuxedos for my oldest sons. Disinterest soon faded as I realized that this was a moment I wouldn't have wanted to miss. As I saw my oldest son wearing the suit he would wear for his high school graduation, and then two of my sons wearing tuxedos for their upcoming prom, I was struck all at once by the movement of time, the changing nature of relationships, and saying goodbye.


Professionally, I'm always more aware of these things at this time of year. At Compass, our consulting projects end in the spring. We know the clients are ready to take the work of the past year and move ahead on their own. Still, it's hard to say goodbye. Our volunteers get attached after nine months of working closely with inspiring nonprofits leaders. In the Compass office, we get to know many of our clients and volunteers personally. Many of our younger volunteers are heading off to business school. Dave Peterson, the incredible founder and chair of our Junior Board, will be heading to Northwestern. Other volunteers will decide to continue working with their client, perhaps joining their client's board, instead of returning as a Compass volunteer. These are all good things that we celebrate. But still, even good goodbyes can be hard.


This year, I am also saying goodbye to my board chair. Cassandra Hanley has graciously and generously served as Compass' board chair for the past four years. After nine years with Compass, Cassandra has held pretty much every position available from Project Leader to board member to board chair. Board chairs are so important to an Executive Director's ability to do this job. Board chairs are managers, champions, cheerleaders, and sometimes therapists. They sometimes take the hit so the Executive Director doesn't have to. They have to have hard conversations with board members and sometimes the ED. In organizing the work of the board, they provide the support that a nonprofit needs to be successful. And if you're lucky like I have been for the past four years, the board chair believes in your vision and lets you pursue it - kindly stepping out of the way to let you do your job. Cassandra has helped me become a stronger Executive Director. I send my most heartfelt thank you for what she has given to Compass and to me.


And so as I look to say goodbye to clients, volunteers and to my amazing board chair, I also am aware that the movement of time has brought me to the place where I will soon say goodbye to my oldest son. As he plans for college, I find myself wondering how you say goodbye to the person who made you a mom. Our relationship has changed over time. Like most parents and kids, we've had our challenging moments. But in the end, he is the kid who stops by before bed every night to say, "You're a great mom. You know that, right?"


I've decided that the only way to feel good about saying goodbye is when you know that the person is ready to go. My son is only going to Massachusetts, after all. And I know that he is ready. Cassandra is only in Virginia. And she is ready to hand over the reins. And our clients are ready to begin acting on the work of the past year. So here's to all the goodbyes - and the new beginnings - that happen this time of year. We will be here if any of you need us or if you just want to say hello.


Have a great summer.






There's still time to complete the Compass client application for 2013-14. The deadline is June 14, 2013


The application is available on our website: Client Application


Compass offers the following service lines: 

  • Board Development
  • Funding Strategies
  • Strategic Alignment
  • Strategic Planning (two-year projects)
  • Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations

For detailed descriptions, please visit: 


If you have any questions or would like to talk about the best project for your organization, please read through the Client Criteria or contact Suzanne Laporte at [email protected] or (202) 459-6291.



Do More 24 


On June 6, 2013, thousands of Greater Washington residents will show support for our community by participating in Do More 24.


Powered by United Way of the National Capital Area, this 24-hour online fundraiser will raise funds for over 1,000 DC-area nonprofits. Compass and many Compass clients are participating!


There are a number of ways you can support your community!


Support Compass

Support your favorite local nonprofits

Connect and share with your community


If you have not already supported Compass in the current project year, please consider donating on June 6th. 


Look out for more information on the Compass website, Facebook and Twitter pages! 


Compass volunteers worked on 35 projects involving 45 nonprofits this year. Here are a few examples from projects that have recently finished.


The Accokeek Foundation - Strategic Alignment

The Compass team assisted the Accokeek Foundation by reviewing and revising their vision and mission statements and made recommendations for changes to the organizational structure. The Foundation was happy to have the outside perspective provided by the Compass team, and expects the project to have a lasting impact on their organization.


Carpenter's Shelter - Funding Strategy

A consignment shop, a bakery, making honey through beekeeping, or recycling latex paint? Those were some of the possible business ideas that were floated around Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria before the Compass team was asked to make sense of it all. The Compass team met with all of their stakeholders within the city and helped them narrow the possible business ideas for an earned income project. They now have a very specific set of ideas along with a healthy pipeline of potential customers. Carpenter's Shelter will spend the summer flushing out the full business plan and hopes to implement it starting this fall.


Child Center and Adult Services (CCAS) - Strategic Alignment

CCAS, a mental health provider in Montgomery County, engaged Compass to assess their current business model and long-term goals. The Compass team developed recommendations to increase demand through a marketing campaign, optimize internal operations to improve efficiencies, and ensure the sustained implementation of changes in collaboration with CCAS staff.

The Father McKenna Center - Board Development

The Compass team worked with the Father McKenna Center to develop recommended short- and long-term action for its newly established board of directors. The McKenna Center is transitioning to a stand-alone nonprofit organization after operating under the supervision of the local parish for 30 years.


The Levine School of Music - Strategic Planning

The Compass Team is working with Levine to devise their next Strategic Plan. This first year of the project involved learning about and understanding the organization and its role in the community, and relative to the industry. This information was combined with an assessment of customer needs and an interactive retreat with trustees, faculty and staff to identify the key strategic issues, and determine the goals that will be analyzed in Year 2 of the project as a basis for developing actionable plans.


Mary's Center - Funding Strategy

The Compass team helped Mary's Center assess their current funding sources and developed recommendations for increasing giving from individuals and corporations, including an assessment of their gala and development processes. Mary's Center is looking forward to implementing the tactical plan as they continue to grow at impressive rates.


United Planning Organization (UPO) - Strategic Alignment

UPO recently completed a five-year strategic plan. The Compass team assisted in building the right infrastructure to internally monitor and assess the progress of this plan. The team also provided recommendations for improving existing reporting to drive insights that lead to smarter business decisions.  The UPO team said it would have taken years for them to do some of the research and analysis that the Compass team provided over the past nine months.


Each year, Compass clients choose to thank their Compass team in different ways. We've seen dinners, t-shirts, logo jackets, champagne and more. This year, Homestretch said it all with this cake:


Compass is heavily dependent on the skills and dedication of our talented Project Leaders and Deputy Project Leaders. We are grateful for the following people who made this year's projects a success: 


Burgess Levin and Brian Whittaker - 501cTECH

Tracey Moon and Georgia Katinas - The Accokeek Foundation

Jennifer Blasko and Kathryn Hansen - Adventure Theatre MTC

Anya Fonina and Richard Stern - Ayuda

Brad Nestico and Nabila Ahmed - The Barker Foundation

Rachel Battles and Sasan Dehghan - The Black Student Fund

Brett Crawford and Kathy Feeney - Capacity Builders Collaborative

Michael Kim and Aimee Grimshaw - Carpenter's Shelter

Jeff Bowers and Jan Abraham - Chelsea School

Paul Edelman and John Miller - Child Center and Adult Services

Amit Shahani - Computer C.O.R.E.

Rhonda Watson - Critical Exposure

Dave Wetzig - Dance Institute of Washington

A.J. Calbert and George Albamonte - DC Action for Children

Alyona Dubrovina and Sarah Brown - DC Bar Foundation

Lily Bradley and Sarah Aheron - Education Strengthens Families Public Charter School

Geoff Brown - Father McKenna Center

Ashley Leonard - Girls on the Run DC

Tulip Shah and Jason Snyder - Good Shepherd Housing Collaboration

Natalie Robinson and Mike Plunkett - Homestretch

Natasha Munshi - The Jovid Foundation Collaboration

Steve Powell and Robert Nelson - Latino Economic Development Center

Jeff Kass and Peggy Brady Marks - Levine School of Music

ReShon Anderson and Amanda Robison - Mary's Center

Leo Weitzenhoff and Matt Nowak - Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

Mike Childers and Jessi Toye - Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program

Kevin Dougherty - OAR of Fairfax County

Beth Hoffman - PEN/Faulkner Foundation

Barbara and Garry Tyran and Jason Shu - Public Allies

Zeke Williams and Melinda Salaman - Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities

Carl Landry - Senior Services of Alexandria

Gary Friend and Zach Koerber - Student Support Center

Neena Graham and Sophie Walker - United Planning Organization

Harry Knight and Dave Peterson - The Washington Ballet

Kristalee Overdahl - Wonders Child Care


Please join one or all of our online communities: 


Like us on Facebook "Like" us and watch for fun announcements, pictures and videos.


Follow us on Twitter Follow us @Compassprobono.


View our profile on LinkedIn Join the Compass Volunteer Network 




 Compass Blog - Read the latest post by Compass Volunteer, Martha Searby: Snapshot of a Board Development Project


We couldn't put together our talented consulting teams without skilled volunteers. We couldn't recruit the amazing volunteers without the support of the local business schools clubs. Thank you to the following clubs that help spread the word about Compass. We are grateful for your continued support! 


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 



We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support from our corporate partners:


Booz Allen 



Compass' Volunteer Celebration Sponsor:


Arnold and Porter 


Compass' Project Launch Sponsor:

Capital One