Sustainable and long-term support for nonprofits in our community



ADVANS Initiative

By the end of 2019 we will have helped 34 organizations and invested over $3.9 million over four counties.

ADVANS (Advancing and Developing the Value and Assets of Nonprofits in Syracuse), is our signature capacity building program. Since 2007 we have graduated over 34 organizations and invested over $3.9 million over four counties. More than 150 nonprofit executives, staff and board members from Central New York have (or soon will be) participated in ADVANS through involvement in the leadership teams.

ADVANS and POWER help organizations self-assess and plan as they grow and work toward achieving their goals.

Did you know that we commissioned an outside firm to conduct a major evaluation of our ADVANS program? The findings were recently published in our Fall 2020 newsletter along with our plans for the future:

ADVANS is founded on the Nonprofit Lifecycles approach, the theory behind which states that all organizations go through developmental stages – those that have the most impact, and are sustainable in the long run, understand their developmental stage and consciously strive to progress in their development. ADVANS was led by Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens until 2016 when she named Stephanie Small of Synergy Partners Consulting, a consultant with whom she had worked extensively, to succeed her as lead consultant. 

Now a 2 year cohort learning model, ADVANS offers the opportunity for shared learning across a spectrum of organizations that range widely in budget size, focus area and geography. All the ADVANS organizations form a learning community both within and across cohorts and participate in regular ADVANS celebrations.

Participation in the ADVANS program (by invitation only) requires a significant commitment of time. Each organization fields leadership teams of staff and board members and works with an assigned Lifecycles trained consultant to conduct a thorough Lifecycles assessment of programs, governance, management, administrative systems and financial resources. After completion of the assessment organizations either receive immediate consulting and capacity grant support or, in previous cohorts, have extended their work into business planning and further consulting and capacity investments from the Foundation.

Interested in learning more? Contact Lindsay McClung.

“[These participants], and indeed many of the nonprofits in Central New York, now speak in a common vocabulary… And with these words come a set of strategic and operational expectations that [not only] influence management and governance thought processes and practices now, but are also designed to have lasting community value.”

Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens, Ph.D.

POWER Initiative

POWER is a 12-month capacity building initiative designed to assist grassroots organizations.

POWER, People & Organizations with Energy & Resilience, is our capacity building program for grassroots organizations and organizations who are earlier on in their development.

This program aims to increase the strength and operating capacity of small selected nonprofits and, like ADVANS, is built on the Nonprofit Lifecycles framework and emphasizes a “meet them where they are” approach to capacity building. POWER helps organizations assess where they are in their organization growth, address critical challenges, and develop a work plan that is tailored to their needs.

Started in 2015, POWER recognizes that these grassroots organizations are vital to the community as they provide an outlet to address emerging community challenges as well as a voice and path for the community leaders who drive them.

Led by consultant Maria Fibiger of Three Dog Consulting, Each POWER cohort is a year-long program in which each organization fields a leadership team of key volunteers, staff and board members. Consultants trained in the Nonprofit Lifecycles framework are matched with each organization and spend significant hours over the course of the year working with leadership teams to guide a self-assessment, develop a capacity building work plan and provide ongoing coaching and support. The organizations participate in facilitated learning sessions on a variety of topics, providing them with an opportunity to network and learn from their peers. After each organization completes an assessment they are provided with a small grant to support a capacity building project.

Interested in learning more? Contact Lindsay McClung.

“Before POWER we reacted to whatever fire was smoldering, and acted often by the seat of our pants. Going through the process made us more methodical and logical. POWER gave us a different tool, a different way of looking at things and managing our growth.”

Kathy Gilmour

Executive Director, Helping Hounds

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