Archive for February, 2012

“Sharpen the Saw”: Even My Cat is Learning New Tricks

My wife has now proven to me and my friends that even a pretty old cat can learn new tricks.  Mudpuddle (this is my cat’s name…don’t ask) has recently learned “Stay!”, “Jump!” and other assorted tricks.  I’m sure with this experience of success, my wife now has some “training” plans in store for me.

Actually, more than 20 years ago, as a newly appointed Executive Director of a local community development corporation, I came to the realization that, if I truly wanted to succeed, I needed a place to sharpen my skills and gather with others striving to serve their communities.  That was when I was first introduced to the Support Center.

According to Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Sharpen the Saw” means “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you.  It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”

Now, more than 20 years later, I have the privilege to invite you to “sharpen the saw” here at the Support Center.  As a hub for nonprofit leaders and managers, the Support Center offers the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, refresh your confidence and motivation, and build your expertise through the more than 100 hands-on workshops and events each year designed with you in mind.  There is no other place like the Support Center where you can get away from the day-to-day grind to get some perspective on the important work you are doing and learn ways to succeed more effectively and efficiently.  The Support Center provides a unique opportunity to find and build a peer network that can help you create the energy you need to meet the challenges of the volatile environment within which we work.  Thousands gather here each year to network and learn with us and with each other.

Whether you are looking for in-depth instruction in a subject area such as fundraising, board governance, or nonprofit accounting – or you are hoping to hear about strategic changes from foundation or corporate grantmakers – we have the right experience for you. Choose from half or full day courses, certificate programs, customized training, or attend our forums and panels.  Each facilitator at the Support Center is chosen based on their experience in their field, commitment to creating an open learning environment, and dedication to sharing and passing along their knowledge.  Each forum or panel is created based on the suggestions and requests we receive from you!

Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to explore our course and service offerings, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about what might be right for you or your staff:

  • Board Development
  • Financial Management – coming in April 
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Staff Development
  • Certificate Programs in Fundraising, Management & Supervision, and Executive Leadership
  • Meet the Grantmakers – New Strategies in Grantmaking  Series in New York and New Jersey
  • Personalized services – development of leadership skills through personalized services such as one-on-one executive coaching, or the short- or longer-term use of a consultant to develop a specific professional capacity
  • Custom Training  – designed to meet your organization’s individual needs taught at your site or ours

We look forward to working with you and your organization in 2012.  Please think of us as your hub, your resource for sharpening the saw.

Don Crocker

Don Crocker


P.S. Beyond our workshops and forums, we offer a full spectrum of nonprofit change-oriented consulting and executive search and transition services.  Visit us now to learn more!


What Komen Taught Us About Communications

Susan G. Komen for the CureRegardless of where you stand on the recent Susan G. Komen debacle, we can all agree that it taught the sector some important lessons in communication.Here is a insightful post by Michael J. Rosen that sums up the opinions of several nonprofit communications experts.

Further insight is gained from Beth Kanter covering the importance of tracking your brand on social media. She also points to fascinating research from the Pew Research Center’s Project on Excellence in Journalism’s tracking of the response to Komen’s actions on Twitter after their announcement to defund Planned Parenthood.

So how do we all learn from the Komen story and improve our communications? We can start by listening to our audiences and honing our communications skills. Below we have gathered a few resources that can help.
Categories: Hot Topics

Janice L. Shapiro – Director of Professional Development

Janice Shapiro
We are very excited to announce the appointment of Janice L. Shapiro as our new Director of Professional Development!

Janice brings over 17 years of experience and expertise as a grantmaker, trainer, program manager, and fundraising and development consultant to her current position.  She previously served as Managing Director of the Brooklyn Arts Council and Managing Officer, Awards and Creative Development at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). While at NYFA, Janice created the NYFA Leadership Initiative, a capacity building and grant program for arts leaders based in peer coaching.

As a consultant, Janice trained senior and middle managers at Microsoft in peer coaching, in collaboration with Carter McNamara, founder of Authenticity Consulting and the online Free Management Library. And from 1995-2000, Janice held two positions in philanthropy as Program Associate, Culture at The Pew Charitable Trusts and Assistant to the Director of Philanthropy at the Rockefeller Family Office.

Please contact Janice about Workshops, Customized Training, becoming a Support Center Facilitator, and general questions about professional development. Janice can be reached at 917-522-8302 or

Categories: Staff Profile

“PALS” Grants Available to Enhance K – 5 Environmental Education in New Jersey

Do you have a creative, viable idea for a partnership between non-formal environmental education providers and K-5 pre-service or practicing teachers? Will your partnership result in authentic learning (“learning by doing”) for students, and increase the sustainability of New Jersey communities?

For the second year in a row, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE), in partnership with the PSEG Foundation, will be providing competitive grants of $5,000-$15,000 to achieve this goal, through the PSEG-ANJEE Learners in Sustainability (PALS) program.

Deadline for online applications is March 15, 2012, and grantees will be announced on or about May 4th. Learn more here.

Categories: New Jersey, RFP