Gearing up for 2021 NAMC prepares Monterey County’s nonprofits for new opportunities

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By Paulette Lynch


When I first heard of the Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County in 2005, I was the new executive director of the Arts Council for Monterey County. I knew that our region is home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations as varied as our region and the people we serve.  I also knew I had a lot to learn!

I was thrilled to attend their presentation of the first ever Economic Impact Report. I soon realized how invaluable it was to have access to the data and the insights. I became even more involved as I discovered that NAMC events were also great for connecting the people in other sectors — the environment, health, justice, social services and youth development — with arts leaders from all over the county.

The first NAMC leadership team, led by founding leaders Joe Grainger of the Harden Foundation and Elsa Quezada of the Central Coast Center for Independent Living, developed that first Impact Report (For the Common Good) in response to the economic crisis of the day.

We presented our most recent update in August — virtually, of course. While the COVID-19 crisis is keeping us apart, we found opportunities for creative collaboration, with vibrant and moving video essays by nonprofits all over the county from Elkhorn Slough Foundation to Sol Treasures, and we featured a powerful opening with John Legend’s “Glory” performed by Palenke Arts Chorus.  Notably, every speaker shared appreciation for their partners, collaborators and allies and how they helped each other support our communities throughout the crisis more than ever before with projects such as on-the-spot events that feed local families in North County.

In an eloquent, powerful video essay at the end of our report, Francine Rodd, executive director of First Five Monterey County, captured the full extent of our true potential: “Nonprofits have the ingredients to adapt …This is the creative thinking that will help us move forward together. We will create a thriving community where fear has no hold, the impossible is possible and all belong.”

This theme appeared yet again throughout our Awards Celebration in September when NAMC honored seven nonprofits and three unsung staff heros which featured a wonderful video essay by Rosemary Soto. As we honored her for being such a great ally to nonprofits, she recognized her debt to the many nonprofits who aided her with Census 2020.

For some nonprofits, the pivot to virtual programming and virtual fundraising has been easier than for others. For all nonprofits, though, 2020 has been exhausting and we still need to get ourselves ready for what comes next.  As we shift our gaze to 2021, we believe some of our greatest fears will ease but we know tremendous work is yet ahead.

To help board members and staff prepare and succeed, NAMC has convened local experts on Building Public Support.  María C. Magaña, Community Organizer (Central Coast Center for Independent Living), Spencer Critchley, Writer and Consultant (Boots Road Group), Matt Huerta, Owner (Matt Huerta Consulting) and Claudia Meléndez Salinas, Journalist (Voices of Monterey Bay). The group will cover community organizing, coalition building, cross-sector partnerships and strategic communications sharing best practices and successful examples.

How can you support these efforts? As donors, volunteers, and leaders, encourage and support collaborative learning, thinking and program design in your organization. Share your strengths with others.

And join NAMC on December 9! Registration is required and free and can be made here.

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Paulette Lynch

About Paulette Lynch

Paulette Lynch has helped dozens of nonprofits succeed by aligning their vision with strategies designed to achieve their greatest potential for community impact. She was executive director of the Arts Council for Monterey County from 2004 to 2019