HandsOn Special Initiatives & Partnerships
Collaboraton and partnership with nonprofits and volunteers lie at the heart of all the work we do at HandsOn NWNC. Strong and deep connections to key community partners has allowed us to grow and thrive, increasing our impact, the impact of volunteers, and the impact of other local nonprofits. Every program initiative we undertake is based on a collaborative working model, supported by volunteer committees, volunteer leaders, and partner staff. Below are descriptions of a few of the key partnerships and initiatives that are especially important to our work.
North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
HandsOn NWNC has a strong and deep partnership with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, the statewide network of nonprofits, that dates back to the founding of the former Nonprofit Connections, one of HandsOn NWNC’s predecessors. Initially, the Center was approached about providing services that would help increase the capacity of Forsyth County nonprofits, and this led to the formation of the Forsyth County Capacity Building Consortium. For many years, the work of the consortium, supported by a network of local funders, was organized by a part-time Center staffer. Eventually, local leaders decided to take ownership of the consortium themselves, creating an advisory board consisting of both funders and local nonprofit leaders, and hiring a part-time director of its own. This re-vamped initiative was launched as Nonprofit Connections in 2006, and they continued to work in partnership with the Center to provide a seamless continuum of services to local nonprofits. This partnership remained in place through the birth of HandsOn NWNC, and we are pleased to continue to leverage the resources of the Center to the benefit of local nonprofits. The partnership allows us to offer a variety of factsheets on our website and serves as a valuable referral source. For its part, HandsOn NWNC continues to promote Center services and workshops, and periodically offers scholarships to the Center’s statewide conference.
HandsOn Schools Corps18 Initiative
In the summer of 2010, HandsOn NWNC, together with multiple community partners, began the creation of a Neighboring volunteer collaborative, a volunteer-driven program to strengthen youth and families in the Waughtown neighborhood. Neighboring is the quintessential model for “doing with, rather than doing for” a community, engaging residents and families who live in marginalized and low-income communities as volunteers and leaders in volunteer-directed community activities, program planning and execution, advocacy and leadership development. The collaborative modeled innovative volunteer programs to promote more inclusive engagement of volunteers from this community, which is traditionally under-engaged in civic life. The collaborative also seeks faith-based and neighborhood organizations as partners while promoting volunteering as a means for community residents to connect to resources.
While this grassroots volunteer engagement initiative has changed through the years, it is currently supported by HandsOn Network’s Corps18 VISTA program, and is working to engage parents, neighbors, and volunteer leaders in an effort to improve absenteeism rates and literacy amongst students who attend after-school programs in two Title I elementary schools. We also welcome interest from volunteers outside of the neighborhood, including bilingual individuals, skills-based volunteers who have experience in education, evaluation, and youth development, as well as those willing to serve as mentors and tutors. Please e-mail Kyle Gassaway for more details.
Wake Forest University’s Pro Humanitate Institute
Wake Forest University officially launched its new Pro Humanitate Institute in the fall of 2014, combining their previous Institute for Public Engagement with their undergraduate student service support office. Building on the educational philosophy of the University and its motto, Pro Humanitate, “For Humanity”, the Institute prepares students for civic leadership through public engagement and service learning opportunities, while supporting innovative relationships between the University and community through collaborations and interdisciplinary teaching and research. We work together to present the Nonprofit Essential Certificate Program, and support their Summer Nonprofit Immersion Program. The PHI has also co-sponsored Best Practice Breakfasts and workshops that featured speakers from nationally-recognized nonprofits, including BoardSource, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and GuideStar. In addition to these capacity-building initiatives, we also work closely with them on student-led service initiatives, most notably our Martin Luther King Day of Service Read-In.
The “Pillars” and Their Foundation
HandsOn is proud to be one of three local organizations that work closely with each other and with our common funder, The Winston-Salem Foundation, to support local nonprofits and strengthen the social infrastructure of the broader community. Because each of us has a mssion than is quite different from most traditional nonprofits, working together helps us increase our own capacity and effectiveness. This special collaborative relationship includes meeting regularly to share progam updates and discover ways that we can work better together to achieve our ambitious goals. The other members of the Pillars include:
Forsyth Futures. Established in 2006, Forsyth Futures is a non-profit, locally funded, community data research organization. They combine the use of community data indicators with in-depth studies of community issues (eg. health, education, economic conditions.) We work in close collaboration with many other local non-profit organizations, local government, health care providers, and the education sector to either independently or as a part of a coordinated effort to acquire, analyze, and provide data that helps these organizations and agencies act in a data-driven and evidence-based manner to address the needs of our community. To learn more about their work, please visit their website.
Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods. NBN connects people, strengthens voices, and leverages resources within communities to create safe, just, and self -determined neighborhoods. As an iinnovative Neighborhood Support Organization, they are dedicated to building the capacity of grassroots leaders and increasing the effectiveness of citizens and cities working together. Founded in 1991, the goal of NBN is to develop collaborative, sustainable communities that improve the overall quality of life of residents in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. For over 20 years, NBN has offered a wide range of opportunities for residents to connect, learn, and apply their ideas in the community. To learn more about their current work, please visit their new website.
United Way of Forsyth County
Originally organized in 1905 as the Associated Charities of Winston, its original intent was to work among the poor and underprivileged of the community. Now, as the United Way of Forsyth County, its mission is to unite the community to bring together resources to identify and effectively address our community’s most vital human needs. The United Way’s focus is on human services, particularly those for children and their families. They support 34 private nonprofit agencies in Forsyth County that provide 77 diverse services for people from every background and neighborhood. The United Way’s goal is to make Winston-Salem and Forsyth County an exceptional place to live and work. HandsOn partners with United Way to engage community volunteers and enhance the effectiveness of local nonprofits. Specifically, we partner with them to present the Governor’s Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service each year. In 2015, we began to co-present Project Blueprint with the, and also work closely to help convene Forsyth County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), and around legislative issues relating to nonprofits. United Way provides significant financial support to HandsOn in exchange for a variety of services performed both for and on behalf of United Way each year.
Piedmont Regional Association for Volunteer Administration
HandsOn works closely with PRAVA in their work to provide support and networking opportunities for volunteer administrators, while promoting and fostering volunteer relationships within the community. This local professional development association for those who work with and manage volunteers in a variety of settings was influential in the creation of HandsOn NWNC, because they saw the benefits such an organization could bring to their own work. PRAVA is affiliated with the North Carolina Association of Volunteer Administration (NCAVA) and serves as a resource of information about workshops and training opportunities on the local, state, and national level. HandsOn provides the snail mail “home” for this all-volunteer association, and we have worked together to co-host workshops. Meetings are monthly and visitors and potential members are welcome to attend. You can download their current membership brochure here and a calendar of upcoming events here.