Renewing its partnership with the Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, the Crimsonbridge Foundation supported nine nonprofit leaders in the Washington, DC region to attend the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program in 2017.
“The Center’s mission is to develop nonprofit leaders who can tackle the problems facing our communities, and to provide innovative, lasting solutions,” according to Director Kathy Kretman. “Our partnership with the Crimsonbridge Foundation provides an opportunity for us to tap the leadership talent of even more people of color who lead our nonprofits and serve our community.”
The Certificate Program provides participants with valuable tools and resources necessary for developing their own leadership and building the capacities of their nonprofits. Mylynh Nguyen, Program Director at Asian American LEAD, explained the importance of providing leaders of color access to programs such as the Certificate Program and how it has a ripple effect to others in the organization.
“For individuals who are incredibly passionate about strengthening their skills and achieving greatness in the nonprofit sector, but who have financial limitations that prevent them from participating in such high quality professional learning opportunities, this scholarship is the key to providing that opportunity…. Not only have I become a better leader as a result of this program, I also believe that my team members will be better leaders because of the staff development that I will implement following this program.”
Shawn Chakrabarti, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at The Family Place D.C., is another scholarship recipient. The Family Place empowers low-income families to foster the optimal development of both the parent and child through educational and support services. Chakrabarti plans to use the resources gained through the certificate program to open a charter school servicing immigrants. On May 22, 2017, shortly after completing the certificate program, Chakrabarti and other founding members were approved to open a unique two-generation charter in the District.
“We hope to expand and open a one-of-a-kind, two-generation, charter school that serves adult immigrants and their young children, concurrently. The certificate program helped increase my overall management skills and gave me in-depth knowledge in various areas of nonprofit management. Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to lead an ambitious program. This year, I hope to cultivate other leaders in my organization.”
Through the Certificate Program, the participants also become part of a peer network of nonprofit leaders. Maria Fernanda Borja, President and CEO of Latino Student Fund, noted: “Not only was the program greatly beneficial to me but the relationships I formed have been a gift that keeps on giving. The connections that were available allowed me to network more and gave me the confidence to run the LSF in a more efficient manner.”
By offering scholarships to participants working in underserved communities of the DC area, the Crimsonbridge Foundation has granted them the opportunity to reflect on and improve their nonprofits’ operations through the reputable Georgetown program. Ana Reyes Albarracin, Research and Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the CEO at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, gives insight to how supporting leaders of color results in the strengthening of their communities and organizations.
"After completing the program I will bring back to my organization concrete tools and approaches to help increase our organization's impact on the increased well-being of immigrant communities. I am excited to put my enhanced skills to work by building nonprofit leadership of people of color at my organization as part of my capstone project. I feel empowered, energized, and optimistic!"
Catherine Motolenich Torres, Program Director at Hogar Immigrant Services, notes that the program has allowed her to face the challenges in her organization with more resources.
“I believe I have more confidence tackling the challenges seen in nonprofits. It also made me comfortable in my role as a female and a minority in this sector. Seeing that others have the same issues and fears when it comes to their work made me realize that it was okay to not have perfect answers all the time.”
Anabell Martinez, Housing Director of Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), shared similar thoughts.
“By participating in the program, I gained the skills necessary to better serve my organization, see the areas in which it needs to improve, and help run a powerful nonprofit.”
The Crimsonbridge Foundation’s executive director, Danielle M. Reyes, and president and founder, Gabriela Smith, who both worked at nonprofit organizations, are very enthusiastic about the positive feedback from participants. “We are so pleased that since 2016, the Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund has helped 17 local nonprofit leaders attend a program that most refer to as one of the most useful professional development experiences they’ve ever had,” said Reyes.