National Service Agency Awards Grants to Strengthen Nonprofit Capacity and Impact


Washington, DC – September 27, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The Corporation for National and Community Service today announced Nonprofit Capacity Building Program grants totaling $998,000 to increase the capacity of nonprofits to improve lives in communities facing economic hardships.

The two-year grants were awarded to five organizations to support nonprofits in building and implementing performance management systems to help achieve greater impact on community problems.

“Our nation’s progress and prosperity depend on the active involvement of citizens and a strong nonprofit sector,” said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “With millions of people and families facing uncertain futures, it is critical to better leverage resources to help the nonprofit sector drive community solutions. Through these grants and other efforts, we are helping nonprofits better deliver and demonstrate results on pressing problems.”

Organizations receiving grants are the Providence Plan (Providence, RI, $200,000); Community Initiatives (San Francisco, CA, $200,000); the Georgia Center for Nonprofits (Atlanta, GA, $200,000); Marlboro College (Marlboro, VT, $200,000); and the River Network, (Portland, OR, $198,000). A summary of the grants including purpose and proposed activities is below.

This is the second grant competition for the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program, authorized by the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. In creating the program, Congress recognized that many small and midsize nonprofit organizations are challenged in their ability to sustain and expand services and that organizational development assistance may be necessary to ensure the continuation of much-needed services in local communities.

Through the grants awarded, CNCS aims to build the capacity of small and midsize nonprofits to help them better deliver and demonstrate results. Research suggests that an established framework of performance management is the prerequisite and predictor of success in other aspects of nonprofit health such as financial planning and sustainability. The grants further the agency’s Strategic Plan goals of increasing the impact of national service in meeting community needs in the CNCS focus areas and maximizing the value we add to grantees, partners, and participants.

Providence Plan (Providence, RI, $200,000): Providence Plan’s New Roots project will improve the overall viability of small and midsized nonprofits in Rhode Island through training and technical assistance investments that focus on financial sustainability, improved service delivery, and enhanced organizational efficiency. New Roots will utilize Root Cause’s Guide Book “Building a Performance Management System: Using Data to Accelerate Social Impact” as the curriculum. Through this curriculum, trainings, resources, and 25 hours of one-on-one and group technical assistance, nonprofit organizations will design and implement customized performance management systems. New Roots will also provide a capacity building training curriculum to 100 nonprofits in core sustainability areas such as financial management, resource development, logic model design, collaboration, IRS 990 compliance, and other related topics. Since 2005, Providence Plan has been the home of New Roots, the state’s largest capacity-building intermediary for nonprofits. To date, New Roots has provided training to 522 nonprofits, technical assistance to 144 organizations, and $1.2 million in grants to help nonprofits create vibrant partnerships, strengthen their management structures, and implement sustainability strategies. This region is facing persistent poverty, high unemployment, and high foreclosure rates with negative impacts on the area’s nonprofits.

Community Initiatives (San Francisco, CA, $200,000): Community Initiatives will select 20 small and medium nonprofits as ongoing program participants, divided into two equal cohorts each year. In addition, the entire Homeless Youth Capacity Building Project network, which includes 250 nonprofit organizations statewide, will be eligible to participate in webinars, trainings, and other leadership development and networking opportunities. Participants will be selected from seven California counties, including Alameda, Fresno, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco, and Santa Clara. These seven counties are facing persistent poverty, high unemployment, and significant growth in the number of youth aging out of the foster care system. Through flexible, responsive, and high quality trainings, webinars, and 1-to-1 coaching, the program will enable participants to understand the value and importance of a performance management system such as Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI); develop a realistic, achievable plan for implementing CQI in their organization; implement the CQI process, using their organizational assessment to identify one or more areas of improvement, identify baseline performance measures, set benchmarks, and track progress; and show significant improvement in each of their selected areas of improvement, resulting in greater program quality and stability and improved long-term outcomes for homeless youth.

Georgia Center for Nonprofits (Atlanta, GA, $200,000) – The Georgia Center for Nonprofits (GCN) is an experienced provider of capacity building resources, serving 9,000 nonprofit professionals from 3,000 organizations annually through services delivered via technology and at its offices in Atlanta, Savannah, and Kingsland, Georgia. Additional partners are located in the selected four-county service region and include: The United Way, Coastal Empire, the College of Coastal Georgia, St. Mary’s United Methodist Church Foundation and The United Way, Camden County. GCN will build the capacity of nonprofits with budgets under $1 million and missions aligned with CNCS priority areas, to develop and implement a performance management system. Twenty five nonprofits will be selected to participate in a two-year intensive Performance Leadership Program that uses a results-based learning approach, providing thirteen training and peer learning sessions, 20 hours of coaching/consulting and minor capital improvement grants up to $1,800. One hundred additional nonprofits in the region will participate in the Performance Learning Series that provides five management courses and peer networking opportunities annually. The Geographic areas to be served include Charlton, Brantley, Camden and Glynn Counties in coastal Georgia. This four county region is facing some of the most persistent poverty, educational challenges, unemployment, health deficits, and negative housing conditions in the state.

Marlboro College (Marlboro, VT, $200,000) – Marlboro College’s program, Benchmarks for a Better Vermont (BBVT) will strengthen the capacity of small to midsize nonprofits through a networked response to make significant, sustained improvements in the priority areas of healthy futures, education, and economic opportunities in the state of Vermont. Using Results-Based Accountability, the program will raise awareness about systems of performance measurement, then create a ladder of opportunity that will begin with a basic training followed by a formal assessment and competitive process to select 18 small to midsize nonprofits for a 75-hour, 16-month intensive Performance Institute. BBVT will also train 12 to 18 grant-makers in systems of performance management. Upon project completion, small to midsize nonprofits will have standardized performance measures for the three priority areas and the ability to leverage additional training and financial resources. BBVT will also enhance the consortium partners’ respective strengths, build on existing resources and relationships, and bring new resources to the effort. BBVT will provide basic training for 100 small to midsize nonprofit organizations, assess 75, and select 18 to participate in the Performance Institute. Partner organizations include United Way of Chittenden County, Burlington, VT, United Way of Vermont, Burlington, VT, Common Good Vermont, Burlington, VT; Vermont Commission on National and Community Service, Waterbury, VT, and the Vermont Community Foundation, Middlebury, VT. This rural region is facing persistent poverty, negative housing conditions, and natural disasters.

River Network, ( Portland, OR, $198,000) – River Network and more than a dozen state and regional capacity building organizations are part of the Watershed Support Network which has helped build a nationwide movement of nearly 2,000 state and local non-profit groups working to protect and restore our most valuable resource — water. This program engages three partner organizations in working with our staff and contractors to provide capacity building assistance to fifteen to twenty small or mid-sized watershed groups in hardship communities in five states and the District of Columbia. River Network will establish performance based management systems to enable each group to track progress and provide in-person and webinar trainings on volunteer recruitment, fundraising, board development, strategic planning; a peer learning network; participation in our annual National River Rally; and additional services. River Network will provide intensive capacity-building support to fifteen to twenty groups and will support twenty to thirty additional nonprofits by including them in webinars and teleconferences. The geographic area(s) or communities to be served include the Gulf States (LA, AL, MS), the Great Lakes (OH, MI) and DC’s Anacostia River. These areas are facing persistent poverty, high unemployment, high foreclosure rates, pollution, and natural disasters.


The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

Sandy Scott
Phone: 202-606-6724

Previous articleFederal Housing Finance Agency Reports Mortgage Interest Rates