C3: Multi-Level Grantmaking: Creating an Environment for Sustainability
Wed Mar 14 2012, 9:00am–10:30am, Cascade AB (Mezzanine Level)
Session Designer

John Summers, Fiscal Management Associates, LLC

Session Description

Capacity-building grants often focus only at the organizational staff level, without much attention to the institutional and external environments in which staff operate and which fundamentally affects whether capacity gains in fact lead to organizational sustainability and mission success. This session will explore the efforts of the Wallace Foundation’s Strengthening Financial Management initiative in Chicago to work at both the micro (staff and institutional) and macro (government policy, regulatory environment) levels to address the challenges nonprofits face in their financial and business management. Participants will delve into the successes and challenges of integrating micro- and macro-level approaches and consider ways to promote the sustainability of the organizations they support.

Conference Theme

Supporting Effectiveness

Nancy Devine, The Wallace Foundation
Director of Communities
Speaker Biography:
Nancy Devine joined The Wallace Foundation in 2001 as director of communities and currently leads three major efforts to engage children in high quality learning activities outside of the traditional school day. These include an initiative to encourage cities across the country to build sustainable systems that support after school programs; an initiative to address lost learning over the summer when children are out of school; and strategies to engage children in more time for learning during the school year.

Devine has over 25 years of experience working to revitalize communities. Prior to joining Wallace, she was senior vice president of programs and nonprofit investment with the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, where she led the creation and implementation of major initiatives to strengthen the arts and culture industry and build the capacity of nonprofits. She has also held senior positions in the New York City and State governments.
Valerie Lies, Donors Forum
President and CEO
Speaker Biography:
Valerie Lies is president and CEO of Donors Forum, a membership association that promotes philanthropy and a strong nonprofit sector in Illinois. Lies is currently on the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) as well as the Diversity in Philanthropy Project. She is co-chair of the Illinois Attorney General's Charitable Advisory Council and as of 2010 she is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Human Services.

Prior to joining Donors Forum, Lies was vice president of the Public Education Fund, a national grantmaking foundation in Pittsburgh. She started her career in philanthropy at the Otto Bremer Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a program associate and later its executive director.
She has received numerous awards and honors, including being named by The Nonprofit Times as one of the sector’s “Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders” in the United States.
Hilda Polanco, Fiscal Management Associates, LLC
Managing Director
Speaker Biography:
Hilda Polanco is the founder and managing director of Fiscal Management Associates. Over the last 19 years, she has built FMA into a specialized consulting practice focused on helping not-for-profit agencies create and maintain effective fiscal systems and policies, cost-efficient technology systems and a business infrastructure that supports their program, fiscal and operating demands.

A recognized expert in the independent sector, Polanco has been invited by the New York Times Company to serve on the selection committee for the NYT Nonprofit Excellence Awards since its inception in 2007. She was the keynote speaker at Chicago’s 2010 Donors Forum and Citi Foundation Nonprofit Day.

She serves on the Board of Directors for the New York Better Business Bureau Foundation and chairs the Foundation’s Hispanic Advisory Committee. She serves on the Corporate and Advisory Boards for Acelero Learning, an organization that partners with local communities to support high quality Head Start programs.