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Nonprofit Optimist

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NPO 030: Taking Multiple Approaches and Sharing Lessons (Liz Ryan, Youth First Initiative)

Liz Ryan, President and CEO of Youth First Initiative, is the guest on today's show. Youth First is a national advocacy campaign to end the incarceration of youth by closing youth prisons and investing in community-based alternatives to incarceration and programs for youth. In this podcast episode, Liz tells host (Molly MacCready) how they measure progress on their big bold goal, how Youth First facilitates sharing knowledge and lessons learned, and how each state’s approach will be...


NPO 029: Email Communication and Maximizing Time (John Zimmerman, Casting for Hope)

My guest today is John Zimmerman, co-founder of Casting for Hope and also serves as the board chair and CEO. Casting for Hope is a nonprofit that focuses on attending to the financial, emotional and spiritual needs of women living with ovarian and gynecological cancers in western North Carolina. In our conversation, John and I discuss the systems he’s put into place to maximize his all-volunteer team, as well as his own time. He shares how he manages his email communication, the importance...


NPO 028: Planning an International Trip for your Nonprofit (Margy and Randy Roberts, CROSO)

Margy Roberts has been a board member for CROSO (Child Restoration Outreach Support Organization) for the past 6 years. She and her husband Randy have been involved in CROSO as volunteers and donors since CROSO began in 2007. Last month, Margy, Randy and Molly MacCready (host of this podcast and executive director of CROSO) traveled to Uganda to visit the CROSO Scholars and their partners. In this episode, they discuss highlights from their trip and then their thoughts on how best to plan...


NPO 027: Getting Started, Fundraising and Collaboration (Carin Willis, Bridge for Pelvic Pain)

Carin Willis is the guest for today's episode and serves as the founder and executive director of Bridge for Pelvic Pain. Based in Colorado Spring, the Bridge for Pelvic Pains's mission is to connect the global community of chronic pelvic, sexual and genital pain patients to resources, education and hope through an integrative approach. In our conversation, we discuss how she founded this nonprofit, and the importance of planning for a sustainable future. We talk about being part of...


NPO 026: Mentors, Managing Time and Networking (Megan Stith, United Way of Central Kentucky)

Today's guest is Megan Stith, President and CEO of United Way of Central Kentucky. We discuss the importance and values of mentors, recommendations for how to manage time (including some scheduling apps) and how to build strong partnerships with businesses and corporations through networking. This episode has lots of tangible suggestions for how to become more effective and efficient in your work and I'd highly recommend listening! To see the show notes, visit:


NPO 025: Creating your Support Network (Jen Cole, Clean Fairfax)

Today's Guest: Jennifer Cole has been the Executive Director for Clean Fairfax Council since January 2009. The mission of Clean Fairfax is to encourage environmental stewardship and urban sustainability in Fairfax County, Virginia through education, programming, and community involvement. Clean Fairfax seeks to reduce littering and to encourage recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption, promote community action by supporting clean-ups and adopt-a-spots and serve as a clearing house for...


NPO 024: Connecting Your Nonprofit to Funding (Beth Rosenberg, Tech Kids Unlimited)

Beth Rosenberg founded Tech Kids Unlimited, a not-for-profit technology-based educational organization for kids ages 7 to 19 with special needs. In our conversation, she discusses how she initially connected with donors and how she keeps finding new connections whether on a train or through LinkedIn. This is another great episode of the Nonprofit Optimist, so be sure to listen in! To see show notes for today's episode visit:


NPO 023: Feelings and Social Media (Jaz Limos, Saints of Steel)

Today's guest is Jaz Limos is the Founder and CEO of Saints of Steel. San Francisco native, Jaz, spent her career in Silicon Valley teaching leaders how to strategically grow their performance and build successful B2B teams. Seeing the rise of homelessness and lack of resources for underserved communities in the Bay Area, she decided to flip her life upside down and dedicate her career towards building ecosystems that offered innovative solutions for people in need. She founded Saints of...


NPO 022: Values in Programming and Employment Structure (Anne Taube, CYO Camp)

Anne Taube is the Assistant Camp Director for CYO Camp in Brown County, IN. In this episode, she shares how they have been intentional in making sure the core values they espouse for camp permeates every aspect of their organization, not just the camper's experience, but the structure of camp itself. We discuss dynamic pricing models, scholarships for campers and creating employment paths that campers of all abilities can participate in. To see the shownotes for this episode, visit...


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 021: Power Inequities in Nonprofits and Community Building; Lessons learned from the University of Dayton

In preparation for receiving the Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award from the University of Dayton, host Molly MacCready takes this opportunity to reflect on the lessons she learned at UD. In light of our current society, themes of power inequities emerged and Molly shares wisdom from the Marianists for how nonprofits might build stronger communities. This episode is much shorter than our typical episode, but we'll return to our normal content next week. For show notes, please...


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 20: Challenging Conventional Nonprofit Notions (Anoop Jain, Sanitation and Health Rights in India)

Anoop Jain is the co-founder and U.S. director of Sanitation and Health Rights in India (SHRI). SHRI was founded in 2011 to alleviate India's sanitation crisis. As an organization, SHRI believes that all humans deserve to live a life dignified by improved access to toilets. Anoop's experience differs from most guests on the Nonprofit optimist. In this episode, the moments that highlight that most are when he discusses volunteers, sustainability, purpose of board members and even how he...


Nonprofit Optimist - Ep 019: Bringing People Together and Raising Funds (Mark Mullins, Just Live Inc.)

Today, Molly is joined by Mark Mullins, board president of Just Live Inc. Just Live inc is a nonprofit out of southern Wisconsin that focuses on suicide prevention and promotes education awareness in their local communities. In our conversation today, Mark shares about their largest fundraiser each year- a music festival- and also the opportunities for collaboration. To see the show notes, visit


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 018: Office Culture and Management Style (Ann Rhomberg, Solidarity Bridge)

After working with Solidarity Bridge for the past ten years, executive director, Ann Rhomberg, shares how she manages her staff of eight. From clear expectations and weekly meetings to the importance of spending time together as a staff, Ann and Molly discuss what has made the Solidarity Bridge staff work so well together. If you currently are in a management role, or you aspire to be some day, this is a great episode for you! To see the show notes, visit


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 017: Increasing Equity and Avoiding the "Shoulds" (Kim Popa, Pones)

Kim Popa, co-founder and executive director of Pones, talks about how her nonprofit uses dance to create powerful change. Beginning with her own story of founding Pones, Kim discusses the lessons she learned along the way... including the need to avoid the "shoulds" that might lead you away from your mission and organizational heart. In staying true to Pones, they have made intentional strides with their board of directors to reflect the company of dancers and instructors and to create...


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 016: Cultural Context and Questions to Ask Before getting Started (Machelle Norling, Hope Now)

Machelle Norling, founder and executive director of Hope Now shares helpful suggestions about cultural context and how to work in communities where you're not local. Machelle also shares a great list of questions that anyone thinking about starting a nonprofit should be asking. To learn more about the work of Hope Now, visit their website: gmailTo see the show notes, visit:


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 015: Board Expectations and Creating Functioning Committees (Molly MacCready, CROSO)

In this week's episode, Molly veers from the typical interview format and shares from her own experience of leading a nonprofit how they have navigated creating and implementing expectations for the board of directors and organizing functional committees. Molly also touches on how to help transition board members off the board, which can be tricky in small nonprofits.


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 014: Power of Storytelling and Advocacy Work (Nancy Cowles, Kids In Danger)

Executive director, Nancy Cowles, shares her experiences with disseminated information and changing practices around child safety products. In this episode she shares the power of storytelling, the importance of coalition building and how to function on a limited budget. This is definitely an episode that can benefit all small nonprofits! For shownotes, please visit:


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 013: Infusing each Donor Interaction with your Mission (Lee Ann Eiland, Playworks Illinois)

Lee Ann Eiland, the Development Manager for Playworks Illinois, shares how Playworks integrates their mission into their work culture as well as their interaction with each donor. Lee Ann and I also discuss some of the lessons she’s learned along the way about who donors are and the different approaches to reach each specifically. From ideas for unique fundraisers to different approaches to direct marketing campaigns, this is an episode of the Nonprofit Optimist that you won't want to...


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 012: A Bold Vision and Nonprofit Websites (Adam Walker, 48in48)

Adam Walker, co-founder of nonprofit 48in48, shares their bold vision and the ways in which 48in48 are changing the landscape of nonprofit websites. If you are interested in learning how to scale your organization or how to improve your marketing, this is a great episode for you! Also, there are free tools shared in the episode that you won't want to miss! Show notes can be found at


Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 011: Becoming an Expert and Tools for Community (Monika Jones, Brain Recovery Project)

Monika Jones serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair of The Brain Recovery Project and is a co-founder of the organization. Through this work, Monika has learned many lessons including the importance of knowing your stuff, where to find funding (and when to know your limitations), how to build community, and she has some helpful suggestions for tools for productivity. To see the show notes, visit:


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