Inspired by Vu Le, Nonprofit AF

I attended a Zoom Meeting today with Vu Le of Nonprofit AF hosted by The Gruvin Foundation. Now I know it seems odd for a writer and communicator from the Lehigh Valley to spend time with a foundation focused on Ocean County, N.J., but I had a hunch Vu Le would have a message that transcended geography.

But before I get how right I was, let me celebrate the fact that I attended the meeting in true 2020 remote work fashion—

My Zoom Face

While below the waist, I spotted pajamas.

Let me just say that Vu Le speaks the truth and boldly proclaims what those of us who rely on traditional nonprofit institutions to employ us cannot say.

It’s time for the nonprofit sector to be bolder and more assertive.

Vu Le, Nonprofit AF

He so eloquently described what could be improved about the nonprofit sector. From the basic concepts such as fundraisers should not be judged on how much money they bring in and we should reflect upon the greatest needs in the community versus pushing our own mission.

Le advocates for a change in the ecosystem so that nonprofits stop functioning in silos and foundations and philanthropists stop generating mistrust and wasting time and resources.

For instance, Le reminds us all that GRANT PROPOSALS are a WASTE OF TIME since most never get funded. He poses the question— what if nonprofits employed the same tactics as funders?

A hungry family comes to the food pantry. Before they receive food they have to prepare the following:

  1. Compose an essay detailing how hungry they are.
  2. Include a logic model of exactly how all food will be used.
  3. Prepare outcomes of how this food will benefit your children.

We don’t do that, right?

So, Le asks, why do funders do it to us?

He compares the current nonprofit environment to The Hunger Games and like the book series, he challenges those in the sector to end the game and take down the system.

Vu Le speaking, hosted by Gruvin Foundation

Some more of his simple but mind blowing, completely logical ideas to improve inequality in this country:

  • The “easiest” way to fix society is to elect more women of color. It’s the only way to balance the voice is old white men.
  • The wealthy need to pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Remove corporate influence from politics.
  • Change the two-sided narrative so it’s harder to argue.

Then he reminded us all of this fact: If most social injustice and issues that nonprofits seek to correct effect primarily people of color, why is it that typically…

Non profit boards are white

Non profit staff is white

Donors are white

So white people should allow more people of color decision-making capacity in programs to benefit them. To continue to paraphrase Le, white folks need to stop taking jobs as executive directors for programs that don’t have any impact on white people.

And if funders are only participating in philanthropy to receive the tax breaks, they need to accept that the money is no longer theirs. They need to allow those communities facing the issues at hand to make decisions on how it is spent.

And one of the best ways to promote change in the sector is to encourage funders to give general operating expense funds and let the people doing the work decide where it is needed.

Again, these ideas are not mine but belong to Vu Le of the blog “Nonprofit AF.”

Happy Friday!

I think I might have said two or three hundred times that this week was hard.

But there was some goodness between all the hard.

  • Our CEO got my department a mentor. Someone we all love and trust, though I am the only person in the group who doesn’t have a pre-existing relationship with this man.
  • My coworkers are all so super nice. My former office mate makes the Folgers in the kitchen palatable and I normally hate Folgers. He makes the coffee so strong it tastes like chocolate.
  • My new development partner and I are getting along great and I love her energy.
  • My other colleague invited me out for a drink after work. She was meeting some friends and wanted someone to keep her company so I had a lovely oatmeal stout at Pearly Baker’s.

At home, I watched the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that was filmed in Forks Township, “Bella Luna,” and saw some nice shots of Easton:

And tomorrow our favorite little dog, Sobaka, is coming to visit so for the next week we will have…

  1. One Yorky Maltese
  2. One kitten
  3. One cockatoo
  4. Two nine-year-old cats (with seven legs)
  5. Three parakeets

And for your viewing pleasure, here are Nala and Opie: Nala and Opie check each other out

A Friday Comedy of Errors

A Random Thoughts Blog Post

Greetings and happy Friday everyone. I am feeling bleh today. Perhaps I put in too many hours. Maybe I didn’t eat right. Maybe it’s my forty-something hormones. Maybe it’s the frequent bouts of weird insomnia.

Or all of the above!

I came home sick today from work… less than two hours early but still… in the nine months there I haven’t used any sick time because it’s just not something I do.

The morning started with my getting to work early with no reason why other than I finished everything at home.

The bitter cold was a harsh reality to my system.

And then, no lie, I step into the bathroom at work and I realize I never combed my hair!

Then my new work colleague brought in doughnuts from Wegmans because someone else more or less playfully hazed her into doing it. So even though I packed this “matcha quark” for breakfast and these weird but oh-my-god delicious nuts/trail mix for lunch, I ate a giant cinnamon roll with icing.

That didn’t quite agree with me.

All day the computers at work were acting wonky, my noon appointment stood me up, and at 1:30 I was asked by our executive director to please reprogram the phones as our director of facilities (the one who led to the donut incident) was in a meeting in another building and the phones were down.

The telephone representative called me on my cell and walked me through reprogramming our telephone system, which I did successfully. But then I still couldn’t get any computer to work.

By 2 pm I gave up, exhausted, achy, still fluttery in my stomach and unable to focus I went home and crawled in bed. Watched some Kitchen Nightmares and cuddled a bird while I drifted in and out of consciousness.

And I saw Nala’s first temper tantrum.

Because she wasn’t the center of attention.

Silly bird!

Slowing down

I did something I haven’t done in a while… I went to work on time. I had been going into the office an hour early every day.

I stayed home. Spent time with Nala. Packed a lovely salad for lunch. Balanced my budget. Did three days worth of dishes. Even vacuumed and cleaned the bird cages.

The teenager came home from school and did laundry.

And on top of all that, work went super well. My new colleague and I approach everything as a team. She has a strong background in non-profit development and I have a strong background in communications so we approach everything from our respective strengths.

And I think the result is ten times better than either of us could do alone.

That makes me feel so good.

I even did a pretty intense little weight training workout before my nail appointment tonight. Short but left me feeling it.

As for my nails… they are so brittle and short right now it makes me sad. But I can’t be sad because my nail polish color is happi.

The joys so easy to miss

If you’ve read some of this blog, you probably know that I have a relatively new job in a brand new field that is giving me tremendous potential to grow as an individual and a professional. It’s challenging and rewarding and it allows me to do some good in the world.

But in any new job there comes a learning curve and change can be exhausting. On top of my career change, my husband and I separated six months ago.

So that’s another part of my life in flux.

Last night, I went to the podiatrist as my toe has been bothering me. It’s the same toe on which I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell almost 2 years ago. I also broke that ankle 4 years ago now.

I was fairly certain I just had a blister in a weird spot that went a little wrong but with my cerebral palsy I didn’t want to take chances.

When I got to the doctor, after waiting a week to get the appointment, I realized I forgot my wallet. Luckily I had ways to pay them and my daughter texted me the information in my wallet but that stressed me.

And then the doctor trimmed my toe nails and removed all the pretty nail polish from my recent pedicure. Now I know that is something he needed to do, but it made me very very sad.

Then he prescribed me an antibiotic because it looked like the toe did have a blister, got infected, and maybe it was going to be fine but why take the chance.

So I had to go home, get my wallet, and go to CVS.

My daughter came with my and as we waited, read this joke book to me:

I laughed at a few, despite my best attempts not to.

When they built the Great Wall of China where did they go for supplies?

Wall-Mart

And then she begged for the book, and the cashier pointed out I had a 30% off coupon on my CVS card so now we own a $3 joke book.

And she’s been reading me jokes ever since.