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Continuing the Dialogue

17 Sep

Today is the third in our series of profiles of our 13 Founding Members in Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Today we go back to school – to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – the home of Campus Y.

About Campus Y:
With an estimated 2000 members each year, the Campus Y  remains the oldest and largest student service organization on University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus, a leader in on-campus dialogue and discussion, and in off-campus service and activism. Its mission is the pursuit of social justice and it welcomes and supports a diversity of views, approaches and activities in its agenda to drive lasting social change.

Over the past two decades, the Y has seen a significant rise in its international outreach, along with an increased emphasis on entrepreneurial and sustainable strategies for community empowerment. The organization has journeyed far from its origins as a young men’s Christian fellowship group, to become a pluralistic, diverse institution that champions civil and human rights not just in North Carolina but across the world.

We caught up with Mathilde Verdier, Project Coordinator at Campus Y and asked what she thought about the prospect of working with talented pro bono professionals through Catchafire:
We are actively building out our communications strategy to convey our programs in an impactful way and are eager to take it to the next level. Because we are relatively short staffed, getting assistance from pro bono professionals who have expertise that we do not have in-house will help us move our projects forward and reach our strategic goals, and at the same time save us a significant amount of time.

Sounds like a good plan! What’s new at Campus Y?
This year, Campus Y developed a comprehensive “co-curriculum” of capacity-building workshops to support the start-up, development, and growth of social enterprises at UNC. By drawing on interdisciplinary expertise at the university and forming partnerships with the private sector, the Campus Y now offers workshops that are open to a campus-wide audience of social innovators. Some great workshops from last Spring included: Legally incorporating social ventures, Refining organizational messaging and mission crafting and Developing an effective marketing strategy. Campus Y has also organized workshops to be delivered this fall on topics such as best business practices, effective use of social media, grant writing 2.0, non-profit management, ethical leadership in the social sector, and intellectual property.

You can check out a Campus Y workshop on Tuesday, September 18: Reality Check: What it Takes to Launch & Sustain a Social Venture.

Sign up to be a Catchafire Pro Bono Professional and help Campus Y continue the dialogue!


People First

12 Sep

This is the second installment in our month-long series of profiles of Catchafire’s 13 Founding Members in Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Today we’ll be bragging about The Arc of Orange County.

The Arc believes that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have strengths, abilities and value and must be treated with dignity and respect. The Arc represents, supports and acts on behalf of these individuals and their families.

One Arc father says it best, “If not for the ARC of Orange County my son would not be able to live in the community. They saved him from life in an institution! Their care and concern for him as a person is beyond measure. ”

Watch this video for three inspiring portraits of Arc community members and their families: Ethan, a young boy with cerebral palsy and a powerful bond with his big sister; Joey, a 25 year old with a job he loves at a local grocery store; and Denise, a life-loving day care attendant and talented painter.

What’s New at The Arc of Orange County?
As the result of the May 2011 House Bill 916 Statewide Managed Care in North Carolina, The Arc of Orange County had to act quickly to comply, re-organizing the infrastructure of the entire agency. It was a difficult process but the silver lining is that The Arc managed to increase services by 28%, rescuing many people from disaster when other agencies were forces to close. They turned a stressful situation into an organizational growth spurt. See what we mean about bragging?

They are nonprofit superheroes for sure, but Executive Director Robin Baker says they’re still more to do and they’re excited about the possibilities for growth in working with Catchafire, “We are constantly bombarded with challenges that require immediate attention. By enlisting the assistance of Catchafire, we will be able to significantly further our efforts in areas that are extremely important but often set aside.”

Sign Up to be a Catchafire Pro Bono Professional and help the Arc of Orange County keep up the good work.

Proudly Announcing Catchafire’s 13 Founding Members for Chapel Hill-Carrboro

4 Sep

It’s hard to believe we only landed in North Carolina in May 2012. In just a few months we’ve been embraced by the remarkable social good community in the Triangle region, facilitated the matches of talented Professionals with remarkable Organizations, signed on for a Battle of the Bands, and been introduced to the delights of homemade pimento cheese.

Now, as promised, we are thrilled to announce our  13 Chapel Hill-Carrboro Founding Members. These local leaders have been nominated by their peers for their leadership, vision and dedication to the community. They will serve as our ambassadors as we continue to grow and expand our services in North Carolina.

Please join us for the Launch Party on Tuesday, September 11, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Frank Gallery
109 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill
RSVP and More Information HERE

Watch this blog and your Twitter feed in the next two weeks for spotlights on each of the Founding 13. Once you read about them you’ll know why we have “Carolina on our Minds”.

A Ban Against Neglect

Arc of Orange County

Campus Y

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Carolina for Kibera

E.O Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

Kidzu Children’s Museum

Meals on Wheels Chapel Hill / Carrboro

National College Advising Corps

Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill

Sacrificial Poets

The People’s Channel

Volunteers for Youth

Next Stop: Chapel Hill -Carrboro

10 Aug

Catchafire Continues to take North Carolina by Storm:

Now in Chapel Hill-Carboro!

We just launched in Durham in May and yet we’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm for Catchafire and the numbers of social good organizations and professionals getting involved. Inspired by this momentum, we are setting our sights on Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Stay tuned: on August 27 we will announce our 15 Founding Members – Carrboro-Chapel Hill. These local leaders have been nominated by the community for their outstanding leadership, strategic vision and dedication to building capacity. Watch your Twitter feed and our blog for profiles of these organizations throughout September.

We spent last week in Chapel Hill-Carrboro meeting with community leaders, organizations and professionals, and we felt embraced by this tight-knit community every step of the way. Everyone was gearing up for the flood of UNC Chapel Hill students to arrive in a few weeks and there was the electrifying feeling that you get just before a thunderstorm in the air! We look forward to getting to know both the Chapel Hill – Carrboro and university community this fall.

Celebrating Durham’s Pro Bono Leaders!

On August 2nd Catchafire hosted an event at Labour Love Gallery in Durham to extoll the commitment of 43 local professionals who have committed to giving pro bono through Catchafire in the coming months. We had 50+ folks in attendance and we all enjoyed great food, drinks & company in addition to music from the Al Strong Trio via The Art of Cool Project and a presentation by Catchafire’s CEO & Founder, Rachael Chong.

Share this post with friends and colleagues looking to give what they’re good at in the Triangle.

Photos by Cathy Foreman

CFED and the 1:1 Fund

28 Jun

The Corporation of Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for low-income families and communities. Their impact is achieved through their “think-do-invest” approach grounded in public policy, community practice and private markets:

  • Think: CFED explores ideas and practices that enable families and communities to participate in the mainstream economy
  • Do: They gather investors, local businesses and policymakers to demonstrate how programs would work for communities nationwide
  • Invest: They onboard investors and policy advocates eager to see the large scale implementation of programs that could bring about positive social and economic change

The 1:1 Fund: Among the most recently implemented programs is the 1:1 Fund, CFED’s newest social enterprise. The 1:1 Fund is a creative approach to enlisting donor support and creating economic opportunity for American’s youth. The program is led by Carl Rist out of Durham’s CFED office. Carl previously served as the director of CFED’s Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment (SEED) initiative, bringing innovative matched savings programs to children and youth in low-income families. The 1:1 Fund, on the other hand, is an online savings portal that harnesses the power of technology, state-of-the-art marketing and data management, enabling donors to help students save money. Simply put, it’s an opportunity for anyone to match their donation with that of a student to help them realize their dreams.

How does it work? For every dollar a student saves, their donor matches the same amount, penny for penny. Research shows that a student with a savings account is four times more likely to go to college, seven times more likely if the account is in their own name! The dreams of too many students remain dreams simply because of the lack of support and access to funding. The 1:1 Fund presents a solution to this problem.

Think about it, then do it… invest! Here’s a link to the 1:1 Fund, the CFED website and their social links:

Green Plus: Helping small go green!

27 Jun

For the last decade or so, the media has been awash with news of big business making positive social and environmental change through their sustainability initiatives. Today, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a norm, not only to please the growing concerns of conscious consumers but to reap the benefits of CSR programs: cost savings, happier employees, greater efficiencies, improved business ethics, the list goes on… While big business – the large multinationals the media love to scrutinize – may steal the limelight, many small businesses were left out of the conversation.

This was the realization of Tony Waldrop, of the University of North Carolina, back in 2004. Tony wondered when green opportunities would make their way to the many small businesses and nonprofits in his community. There was a disconnect: While these small businesses were eager to “go green,” the big business solutions were impractical and out of reach.

Working with UNC’s business school, Tony set about closing the gap between the university’s excellent sustainability programs and local businesses. While UNC worked in a business plan, Tony formed a group of interested parties including local businesses, chambers of commerce, and philanthropists. In 2009, with the business plan ready and social entrepreneur Chris Carmody at the helm, a pilot program was launched, now known as Green Plus.

On April 12, the Institute for Sustainable Development honored the 2012 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners at the Research Triangle Park Foundation.

Today, just three short years later, Green Plus operates in 12 states, working with over 250 small businesses. Their 2-year certification program enables Green Plus to “educate, motivate, and recognize smaller enterprises for their efforts towards becoming more sustainable.” A 2011 Duke University survey of 31 Green Plus businesses found that:

  • 87% of businesses institutionalized their sustainability programs
  • 52% believed Green Plus certification generated new business
  • In most cases, over 80% of employees participated in the sustainability efforts
  • 77% of the business created partnerships with nonprofits through volunteering, donations, or in-kind support
  • Click here to learn more about their work and impact

Green Plus continues in its mission of democratizing the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) of sustainability by making it accessible to small businesses and their communities. Here’s their social links, connect with them:

Meals on Wheels of Durham: Over 1.75 million meals served

26 Jun

The Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is regarded as the oldest and largest organization in the United States offering meal services to people in need. What began with canteens to British service men during World War II grew into America’s first Meals on Wheels program launched in Philadelphia in the 1950s. Today MOWAA is the largest volunteer army in the nation with between 800,000 and 1,7 million volunteers working in 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs and providing more than one million meals a day.

How did Meals on Wheels come to Durham? In 1969, Durham’s City Center Church Council (the Durham Congregations in Action) commissioned a number of studies to determine how best they could provide for their local communities. The studies revealed that those who were unable to prepare their own meals were not adequately meeting their personal nutritional requirements, and in need of a program that provided them with ready-made meals. In 1975 Meals on Wheels of Durham was created. It started with just a handful of volunteers serving about a dozen elderly, disabled and homebound and alone clients but grew fast to serve 325 Durham residents and over 85,000 meals a year!

Don Lebkes, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, delivers meals across Durham. As a retired delivery man, Lebkes said Meals on Wheels was a similar job but he gets to help out the community! (The Herald-Sun | Lauren A. Vied)

Meals on Wheels of Durham recently relocated to a new facility in east Durham. Their operations are more efficient and they’re impact greater, which is good because more people are in need of help. Meals on Wheels of Durham is ready to grow and has a list of approximately 200 people waiting for assistance… but more funds and more volunteers are needed.

If you know of someone who homebound as the result of age, disability, or illness, lives alone and are handicapped, malnourished, elderly, or unable to take of their daily nutritional requirements, connect them to Meals on Wheels of Durham or one the MOWAA many affiliates nationwide. Here’s their social links, connect with them:

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