Erie is Capacity Central

It?s quiz time.  What sector of our economy has grown at the fastest rate over the past three decades?  Not business...not government.  It is the nonprofit sector, and it has grown at twice the rate of the other two, now accounting for 18% of all jobs in Pennsylvania.  As the public becomes more disenchanted with government and as business scandals and ethics leave us looking for alternatives, more and more people, particularly in our region, are looking to nonprofits for answers.

And as they do, it is inevitable that the demand that nonprofits use more business-like practices and function more professionally would follow.  And indeed it has ? The Nonprofit Partnership is the living example locally of that trend.  April, 2010 represents a coming together of several streams of nonprofit ?capacity-building? assistance - several large grants that will help build the professional skills and operating capacity of our many local nonprofit organizations.

Here is a quick digest of the programs available:

Re-Tool Erie
This capacity-building initiative is a partnership between The Erie Community Foundation, The Nonprofit Partnership, and the Regional Center for Workforce Excellence. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the goal of this program is to strengthen organizational capacity at 28 Erie County nonprofits who are engaged in helping adults and older youth gain personal skills to succeed in the workforce. The program will offer workforce-specific education sessions, one-to-one technical assistance through program officers Amanda Brown Sissem and Michael Brand, and capacity-building grants to work on specific goals relative to organization or program development, leadership, community engagement, and evaluation of effectiveness.  This effort enxtends through September, 2011.

Erie Capacity-Building Collaborative
This partnership between GECAC, The Nonprofit Partnership, and Erie Weed and Seed, funded by the Compassion Capital Fund through 2010, enters its third year of offering educational workshops, one-to-one technical assistance, and capacity-building subgrants to organizations engaged in the provision of social services, health services, and education. Priority consideration is offered to small organizations engaged in service to:
- The homeless or elders in need;
- At-risk youth;
- Families in transition from welfare to work;
- Persons in need of intensive rehabilitation, such as addicts or prisoners.

ArtsErie Capacity-Building for Arts and Culture Organizations

Thanks to a grant from the Kresge Foundation, ArtsErie and The Nonprofit Partnership are coordinating the distribution of two rounds of capacity-building grants for arts and culture organizations who are interested in strengthening internal operations, marketing, strategy, and leadership.
Other capacity-building resources are offered directly by The Nonprofit Partnership, and details about all these resources for the Erie region can be found at

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