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Addressing the Nonprofit "Needs Gap"

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA
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Capacity building is a concept we can all get behind.  Both grantseekers and grantmakers know this is the base for long term sustainability and organizational effectiveness. So why does it continue to be so elusive in our sector and what’s the latest thinking on what is really needed and how best to make it happen? 

Come hear the latest insights from the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) 2018 report, Strengthening Grantees, where findings demonstrate there is a Needs Gap between what nonprofits request funding for compared to their actual needs. If grantees are not being forthright with their funders around their actual organizational needs, how can funders best provide impactful capacity building support? 

Hear firsthand from three nonprofit executives on what they really need to be successful, what resources they are leveraging, and how some funders are focusing on power shifting in order to create safe environments for nonprofits to elevate their true needs.  

This program is hosted in partnership with the Center for Effective Philanthropy and Catchafire. 

Join us to learn: 

  • Foundation and nonprofit perspectives, as shared in CEPs’ Strengthening Grantees Report
  • How local nonprofits are addressing their organizational Needs Gap


Amber Bradley, Director, Assessment and Advisory Services, Center for Effective Philanthropy

leads relationships with funders using CEP’s performance assessments. She oversees the creation and presentation of CEP’s assessment reports, with a particular focus on serving funders in the western half of the country. Amber is a frequent speaker at conferences and to funder boards and staff on topics of grantee, donor, and staff feedback.

Before joining CEP in 2010, Amber served as Program Director at the MIT Community Innovators Lab. At MIT, Amber led partnerships with community groups, directed research initiatives, and taught about local economic and community development. Amber’s professional experience includes serving as a domestic violence counselor with nonprofits in Colorado and Oregon. Amber was a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, with which she researched women’s responses to domestic violence in Argentina, Hungary, Ireland, and Kenya. Amber holds a BA in Psychology from Reed College where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, as well as a Master of City Planning in International Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cesar Del Valle, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Catchafire

Cesar Del Valle is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Catchafire, a social enterprise providing a full service, on-demand solution designed to address the wide-ranging and complex needs of nonprofits by connecting them with talented pro bono professionals. Cesar brings 15 years of entrepreneurial, startup, and non-profit experience to Catchafire, and is ecstatic about working to support social good organizations by tapping into the goodwill of skills-based volunteers.


Brandon Nicholson, Founding Executive Director, The Hidden Genius Project

Brandon Nicholson is the Founding Executive Director of The Hidden Genius Project.  He is an Oakland native and has always felt a deep sense of commitment to promoting equity in the public realm, particularly in the education space. Previously, he was a Senior Associate at Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), where he conducted research, evaluation, and analysis across a range of key social policy areas. Brandon has conducted substantial research in the areas of education and youth development, with a particular focus on issues of equity and access in K-12 education for underserved populations. He has considerable experience investigating linkages among race, class, and youth development.

Heather Saunders, Chief Development Officer, Juma Ventures

After starting her career in the financial services industry, Heather Saunders has dedicated her career to the nonprofit sector. For over ten years, Heather has worked on issues of social justice ranging from HIV/AIDS, Indigenous rights, financial inclusion, and education. At the heart of all these issues, has been a focus and dedication to finding effective ways to support and give all young people the opportunity to thrive in life. Heather joined Juma in 2014, and as Chief Development Officer oversees the agency's fund development, marketing and volunteer efforts nationally.

Before Juma, Heather held senior management positions in Australia working in the area of financial inclusion and asset-building; specifically overseeing and resourcing innovative cross-sector programs and partnerships. Accomplishments include overseeing a two-year, $1M national partnership project with the First Nations Foundation, global energy company Rio Tinto and the Federal Government to begin scaling the My Moola financial education program into three new Aboriginal communities in Australia. Heather has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Information Systems from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development; a specialized degree focused on the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of community development programs from the Australian National University.

Duane Wilson, Executive Director, San Francisco Achievers

Duane C. Wilson calls San Francisco and Chicagoland area home, and after starting his first business while in high school, he realized he found great joy in advising youth on starting their own enterprises, and in empowering them to believe that they could achieve anything. During his college years despite being busy as a founder of another startup company and internships in Europe and at Disney, he was fortunate to create his own degree program in Social Entrepreneurship, while receiving a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, and a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management from The University of Iowa. Upon returning to the Chicago area, he also earned a Certificate in Values-centered Leadership from DePaul University. From these experiences, he authored a children's book titled, Jackie and The Dreamstalk which is used around the world as an inspirational step-by- step guide on starting a business for readers ages nine to fourteen years old. His other writings include articles and academic resources. As a 2016 Chicago Defender Man of Excellence honoree and 2017 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductee for Willowbrook High School, service is ingrained in his life. This is prevalent in his role as Executive Director of San Francisco Achievers, his foundation The Spirit of Philanthropy, past Adjunct Faculty for Entrepreneurship and Management at Columbia College Chicago, Manager of a business accelerator for Goodcity, past Executive Director The Peace Corner Youth Center, various academic and community development board post, his church, and his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. With these capacities, he has taken on a range of volunteer roles, consulting, seminars and public speaking engagements. His hobbies include, travel, cooking, spending time with family and friends, to doing voice over work for tv and radio.

Target Audience

This program is designed for program staff who work most directly with their nonprofit grantees, and program directors designing grantee support programs.