Things Every Non-Profit Can Do Now

As the impact of the Coronavirus continues to unfold around the world many non-profits are wondering what they can and what they should be doing.  Symphony Advancement has gathered input and ideas from our non-profit clients around the country.  Here’s what many of America’s leading non-profits are doing right now.

  1. Cancel or Suspend – With many states across the country moving toward “emergency” or “shelter in place” directives, organizations in areas with widespread prevalence of the COVID-19 virus, or a standing order from government health officials should cancel, suspend or plan on rescheduling any events or group activities occurring prior to May 4th, 2020.
  2. Communicate With Your Constituents – Every non-profit needs to be in communication with your client or constituent base as soon as feasible.  If your organization has a disaster or crisis response plan it’s time to put it into action.  If you’re handling things on the fly, our recommendation is to make use of: a) the web, b) social media, and c) email to contact supporters, community members, staff and volunteers.  Even if you aren’t currently planning on making changes to your operations, it’s important to reach out to the community and let people know your current status, says Jeffrey Robb, Symphony Managing Director.  
  3. Be Proactive – School district closures and shelter in place directives have many Americans staying at home for at least the next few weeks.  With many of our clients unable to hold physical gatherings, we’re seeing an explosion of creative though around how non-profits can connect with the community using the web, social media and online platforms.  New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Paris Opera are offering free broadcasts of previously recorded Opera’s.  The Berlin Philharmonic has also opened it’s digital vaults.  Video productions, Facebook live broadcasts and digital content downloads are great ways to offer people something to do while keeping your organization in the community, said Robb.
  4. The Golden Rule for Non-Profits – ASK!  It’s an old saying among fundraisers, you won’t receive a donation unless you ask.  It’s time to ask!  American’s are the most generous people in the world, giving by individual donors is the single largest source of non-profit income nationwide.  In times of crisis, whether hurricanes or economic recessions American’s respond to people and organizations in need.  Nearly all of our non-profit clients are conducting widespread emergency appeals.  Activities range from appeal donation buttons on home pages, to electronic appeals, social media campaigns and GoFundMe pages.
  5. Explore New Revenue Opportunities – In many instances, community outreach can result in new ways for organizations to generate donations or income.  The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre is currently making previously recorded content available (as suggested in number 3) for a fee of $15 per viewing.  First Stage is encouraging donors and community members to purchase gift cards which may be redeemed later for Education Program tuition fees.  The Pabst Theatre has created an employee emergency relief fund which has already generated an excess of $30,000.  Jeffrey says, “The challenge for non-profits is to think differently about how you deliver your services.  Are there mission related opportunities that can be leveraged with little or no investment,” he continued “I certainly wouldn’t advise groups to be making large investments at this point, but if there are ways you can leverage in-house resources, services and content – that’s certainly worthwhile to explore.”


Vermont Film Makers Launch New Environmental Organization

(Vermont) Red Vault Film Productions launched a new non-profit venture dedicated to helping protect the environment through the creation of documentary film specials.  The new organization “Planet Axis”, recently received tax exempt recognition from the IRS.

Wendy Reynolds Red Vault team member and president of Planet Axis explained the concept for the non-profit developed organically.  Red Vault has a substantial portfolio of environmental features in addition to their corporate and commercial work.

Twi Nite Proudly Announces WE Energies Support for Girls Sports Program

(Greendale, WI) Twi Nite announced support from the WE Energies Foundation for its third annual Girls Sports Showcase.  The event is a direct response from local parents concerned about the lack of opportunities for young girls to participate in team sports.  Beginning in 2018 the parents gathered together along with college players and coaches to host an evening in which middle school girls could learn about the many benefits associated with participating in team sports.

Since first hosting the event, Twi Nite has watched enrollment in its girls softball teams skyrocket.  The organization added five teams in 2018 and registered over 70 players in 2019.  Opportunities are still available for corporate and non-profit partnerships in 2020.

Dave Blask, Commissioner of Greendale Twi Nite stated “We’re thankful for the support of the WE Energies Foundation and our many partners.”  Twi Nite partners helping to promote the Girls Sports Showcase event include DICK’S Sporting Goods, J&J Contractors and MINT Hydraulics among others.

Blask urges parents to check the Twi Nite website regularly for information on the 2020 showcase event taking place in late February.

Greendale Twi Nite has grown to become Metro Milwaukee’s largest coed youth sports organization with players from 14 area communities.  At Twi Nite it’s all about the kids, the organization which manages Spring and Summer baseball for two local park and recreation departments, also coordinates select teams, fall ball and special training clinics for coaches, umpires and players throughout the year.

Learn more about Twi Nite and register for team play by visiting the website.

Carmelite Sisters Announce Westerman Foundation Grant to Support Ministry

(Wauwatosa, WI) Sister Rose Therese announced the Carmelite Ministry of St. Teresa (CMST) will receive a grant award from the Westerman Foundation in support of its programming to provide faith formation to women and individuals with disabilities.

The Carmelite Ministry of St. Teresa launched a $6 million capital campaign in 2017 designed to raise funds for the construction of a new family style residential center offering women with disabilities a safe place to live and grow in their faith.

Sister Mary Brigid, Director of the CMST commented that “many of the local non-profits are closed during the evenings and weekends.  We found that for people with disabilities it was extremely difficult to get to Mass, socialize or even gather with others on a week night.  The Sisters decided to help address this by forming the new ministry and focusing on serving women.”

Since beginning their campaign in 2017 the Sisters have attracted many national and local supporters including the Hilton Foundation and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Faith in Our Future Fund.  The new facility celebrated its grand opening this past October 15, 2019 with a special ceremony.  Within just a few short months the first floor of the new facility is now completely occupied and residents are beginning to book rooms on the second and third floors.

Interested in learning more about the Carmelite Ministry of St. Teresa?  Or learning how you can support the mission, click here to make a donation.  Select opportunities for memorial gifts and recognition remain.

The Sisters also welcome your prayer intentions.


Family Promise of York Pennsylvania Announces Memorial Health Fund Grant

(York, PA) November 26, 2019 Lise Levin, Vice President of Community Investment announced a new grant to Family Promise of York Pennsylvania.  Funding from the Memorial Health Fund will support the launch of the new Family Promise affiliate in York and is specifically designed to help homeless families with children throughout York County.

Chris Hamme, President of the York affiliate stated “We’re very grateful to Memorial Health and look forward to this partnership.”

Family Promise is recognized nationally as one of the most effective and efficient non-profits working to address homelessness.  As a recipient of the Four Star Rating by Charity Navigator for over four years in a row, Family Promise has demonstrated impressive program outcomes.  More than 80% of Family Promise constituents transition to permanent housing within a nine week period.  Since inception over two decades ago, the organization has helped more than a million individuals nationwide.

“What makes Family Promise truly impressive is the proven model used to address homelessness for families with children,” Hamme stated.  Across the more than 200 Family Promise chapters nationwide a standardized intervention is used which relies heavily on local volunteers and diminishes the need for capital investment.

The York County chapter of Family Promise was started in 2017 by a group of concerned local citizens seeking to address skyrocketing numbers of homeless children.  Learn more about Family Promise and contribute to the York affiliate by clicking here.

iChoose Foundation Hoping to Change Lives One Decision At A Time

(Tampa, FL) Award winning film maker Michael Campo announced the iChoose Foundation is currently seeking support for a new project #iChooseHOPE designed to help combat teen substance abuse.  “The iChoose HOPE project is focused on the story of Eddie, how he’s struggled with addiction, his advice to others and ultimately how day by day he’s making progress – one choice at a time,” says Campo, “I wanted people to remember that no matter how bad it seems or how dark, alone or isolated you feel, you can change your life.  It starts with one decision.”

Campo’s iChoose Foundation has been quick to gain support from a variety of national partners including: The Florida Symphony Orchestra, Green Bay Packers organization, the Tampa Bay Rays and others.

The foundation produces high quality resources for teens and individuals struggling with a variety of issues ranging from addiction and substance abuse to human trafficking.  With an extensive social media presence, the iChoose Foundation is able to reach people and offer help around the country.

Campo estimates the cost of each project near $30,000.  If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the iChoose Foundation please visit their website.  Also be sure to check out the weekly broadcast sharing inspirational stories of individuals making positive life choices.

Carmelite Sisters Awarded Grant from Hilton Foundation

(Wauwatosa, WI) Sr. M. Immaculata announced today that the Hilton Foundation awarded a major grant to the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in support of the new Carmelite Ministry of St. Teresa (CMST).  The new ministry officially opened its doors to the public on October 15th, 2019 in a formal grand opening ceremony.  The $6 million dollar facility will provide a family style residential environment for women with disabilities.

The Sisters were featured during a special segment on Today’s TMJ 4 with Julia Fello.

In addition to the residents, the new CMST center offers ample class and event space and will provide community based programming available to the public.

The Sisters felt called to the new ministry based on feedback from the community suggesting a lack of local resources providing housing and services to disabled persons.  The community response has been strong, with a number of residents officially moving in immediately following the grand opening ceremony.

Guests are welcome to visit the impressive new facility and encouraged to explore ways to help the Sisters in their ministry.  Volunteers and donors are welcome.



Family Promise Launches New Chapter to Combat Family Homelessness in York PA

(York, PA) The national non-profit Family Promise announced formation of a new affiliate designed to help combat growing family homelessness in York, Pennsylvania.  The new chapter lead by Chris Hamme aims to reduce the number of homeless families with children by providing emergency short term housing and transitioning families into permanent housing solutions.

Family Promise has received widespread acclaim for its highly effective intervention model which relies predominantly on volunteer support from local faith based communities.  Each affiliate enlists a minimum of thirteen local congregations committed to housing between 3 to 5 families for one week periods at least four times a year.  A centralized day center allows family members to connect with social service providers, seek employment and offers educational assistance to youth.  The organization provides transportation to and from the day center and host congregations.

The national website indicates that 80% of Family Promise constituents are placed in permanent housing within eight weeks.  Due to its reliance on local volunteers Family Promise affiliates effectively mitigate local homelessness without the need for additional capital investment.

The new York affiliate is currently in development and is seeking build support for its programming.  The goal of new affiliates is to become financially self-sustaining within a three year period.

Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus Announce Ministry of St. Teresa

For over a century the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus have served residents of Southeastern Wisconsin.  Today the Sisters announced a new chapter in their ministry, the formation of the Carmelite Ministry of St. Teresa (CMST).  The CMST is a women’s family style residential center offering live in support and programming to adult women with disabilities.  The residential center will offer sixteen apartment style homes, community center, cafeteria and classroom space.  The Formation and Enrichment Center (FEC) will provide programming to residents and the community at large.

Sr. Immaculata, Provincial, says local service providers indicated a substantial gap in services within the disabled community.  Specifically programming on nights and weekends is very limited.  Further there is no housing dedicated to women with special needs in Southeastern Wisconsin.

The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus is a religious congregation with headquarters in Europe and Regional Provinces in the United States. The sisters have opened their doors to provide a home for the poor, originally with orphanages that served thousands of individuals in a family-like atmosphere. In more current times they have served other needy populations, such as the sick and elderly, and mothers and children who need services and care.

The Sisters have served the poor in Wauwatosa Wisconsin for more than 100 years. After many years of service to young delinquent boys at the Carmelite Home for Boys in Wauwatosa Wisconsin, the Sisters have closed that Treatment Center. As a response to the changing landscape for affordable living spaces and programs for this needy population, the Sisters are creating a new Ministry to adult women with Developmental Disabilities who are independent and ambulatory.

Waukesha Civic Theatre Announces Magic of Theatre Raffle Winners




(Waukesha, WI) Waukesha Civic Theatre confirmed final official results of the “Magic of Theater Raffle” featuring a grand prize vacation package to Walt Disney World Orlando. The grand prize includes twelve (12) theme park tickets, hotel and airfare voucher. Congratulations to Mr. Dean and Mrs. Bonita Danner our 2019 grand prize winners.

“The annual Magic of Theater raffle proceeds benefit the Academy at Civic Theatre program” explained Rhonda Schmidt. “Our goal is to raise money for the ACT program. ACT currently serves over 1000 students across Southeastern Wisconsin. We are thrilled with the success of this years raffle and pleased to award the Disney vacation to Bonita & Dean Danner.”

In addition to the grand prize, the following additional prize winners were also announced:

  • Mary Beth Esser has won four (4) park hopper passes to Walt Disney World Orlando,

  • Asta Blanchar has won a 90 day membership to the Wisconsin Athletic Club,

  • Missy Holzman has won an autographed Green Bay Packers football,

  • Amanda Sonneman is the lucky winner of a Cooper’s Hawk Wine tasting,

  • Rosemary Crawford has won a Lake Geneva Boat Tour,

  • Kandice Bannville is the sixth prize winner, receiving an Adventure Rock gift certificate,

  • Sara Geuder has won a pair of Florentine Opera tickets,

  • Bill & Marlene Culver are the lucky winners of a pair of Bel Canto Chorus tickets,

  • Kelsey Landry has won two (2) Waukesha Civic Theatre Flex Pack vouchers, and

  • Josh Anders has won a $150.00 ACT Tuition Voucher.

All prizes will be available at the Waukesha Civic Theatre Box Office during regular Box Office hours beginning Monday October 28th. Winners must present a valid photo ID. A completed claim and release form will be required for certain prize winners. Be advised a publicity photo will be taken at prize pick-up.

Waukesha Civic Theatre is one of Wisconsin’s oldest, largest and most successful theater organizations. Since 1957 the Theatre has provided quality entertainment, education and enrichment to nearly 500,000 residents. Now in our 63rd season, Waukesha Civic Theatre is pleased to celebrate the arrival of our new Managing Artistic Director, Rhonda Schmidt. Details about Ms. Schmidt, and the remaining Mainstage schedule for the 63rd season are available on the website.

Waukesha Civic Theatre extends our gratitude to all our volunteers and patrons including: WE Energies, Walmart, Walt Disney World, the Green Bay Packers, Cooper’s Hawk, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Wisconsin Athletic Club, Adventure Rock, Lake Geneva Tours, the Milwaukee Admirals and many other supporters.

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