Valley Nonprofit Resources

  • VNR Logo green background with San Fernando Valley Skyline

Welcome to Valley Nonprofit Resources

Established in 2007, Valley Nonprofit Resources offers both information and services to strengthen the 4,300 nonprofit organizations in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Welcome to VNR's website! Click on the buttons above and at the top to access many resources that can help you increase the effectiveness of your nonprofit. VNR is a program within the Institute of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at California State University Northridge.

October 2015 VNR Workshop at Strength United
Featured Events
05/24/23 - Employment Law Update 2023: Legal Issues Facing All Nonprofits
06/13/23 - Health and Human Services Nonprofit Leaders Roundtable

Featured Publications
May 2023 Featured Publications

2022 Resource Directory for Nonprofit Capacity Building in Los Angeles County (.pdf)

October 2015 VNR Workshop at Strength United. ;Photo (above) of the San Fernando Valley courtesy of Brian Frankel.

In the News

Employment Law Update 2023: Legal Issues Facing All Nonprofits In this free educational workshop, employment law attorney Kristina Kourasis will present highlights of the recent changes to California’s employment laws, recently passed legislation, and what policies and procedures nonprofit employers should update in 2023 as a result. Ms. Kourasis is with Landegger, Verano & Davis, a law firm which exclusively represents employers, and has an emphasis on representing nonprofits. VNR Co-Executive Director Dr. Alejandra Acuna will facilitate, and the workshop will be held by Zoom on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 4-5:30 pm. Register for this event.

Health and Human Services Nonprofit Leaders Roundtable For five years, Valley Nonprofit Resources has been bringing together leaders of San Fernando Valley health and human services nonprofits - to learn, network and problem solve with peers.  Facilitated by VNR Senior Consultant Janet Levine, the next free meeting of the Roundtable will be Tuesday, June 13, 2023, 4-5:30 pm. As part of this session, VNR’s Co-Executive Director Dr. Alejandra Acuna will lead a discussion about current challenges for building the nonprofit workforce, and about VNR’s plans to place student interns in Valley nonprofits. Register for this event.

Convening of San Fernando Valley Nonprofits and Foundations will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2023from 8:30 am – 12 noon at Los Angeles Valley College, and is co-hosted by VNR and Community Foundation of the Valleys.  It will include opening remarks by Miguel A. Santana, President and CEO, Weingart Foundation, remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (invited), and two panels of experts – one on digital and justice/equity trends, and one on workforce development.  The $25 cost includes a continental breakfast, and this will be VNR’s first in-person event in more than a year. Register for this event.

Systems Change Accelerator is a nine-month cohort program that supports nonprofit leaders in honing their systems change strategy, exploring team culture practices, amplifying messaging, and expanding relationships and resources. The aim is to accelerate organizations' abilities to create systemic community impact. Offered by Social Justice Partners Los Angeles, each cohort member is offered a $10,000 unrestricted grant, pro bono coaching, counsel and peer support and other services facilitating systems change.  To submit an eligibility questionnaire (takes 20 minutes), please visit the application page and submit by May 30, 2023: Complete the eligibility questionnaire.

Land Acknowledgment
Valley Nonprofit Resources recognizes and acknowledges the Sesevitam, the first people of this ancestral and unceded territory of Sesevenga that is now occupied by our institution; and it honors their elders, past and present, and the Sesevitam descendants who are citizens of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. VNR recognizes that the Sesevitam are still here and is committed to lifting up their stories, culture, and community.

May 2023 Featured Publications

2022 Survey - A Closer Look at LA-Area Nonprofits The Committee for Greater LA launched the Strengthening LA’s Nonprofit Organizations project in Fall 2022 to encourage the next Mayor of Los Angeles to reset how the City partners with nonprofits that deliver critical health, housing, employment and other services for millions of Angelenos. As part of the project, the Nonprofit Finance Fund interviewed over a dozen nonprofits with direct City contracts, former and current city administrators, and other subject matter experts in addition to analyzing 2022 State of the Nonprofit Sector data for LA City nonprofits to inform recommendations for the Mayor of LA. View this article.

How Nonprofits Can Change Unfair Laws It can seem like nonprofits have the deck stacked against them and that bringing about meaningful change is next to impossible. Even when changing government policies is the only way forward, the task may appear daunting. Nonprofits are subject to many laws and regulations with unintended consequences that adversely affect the sector’s ability to make a bigger impact. Bringing about change is always an uphill road, but when communities work together, there’s no telling how much they may achieve. The authors use a real example of a successful effort to change policy at the state level to present a roadmap for how nonprofits and their communities can face and win against the Goliath of government policies. View this article.

How to Craft a Data-driven Social Media Strategy for Your Nonprofit Creating a social media strategy can feel overwhelming. There is so much expert advice out there about how much to post, what types of content are the best, and how to reach new audiences. This advice is often aimed at organizations with dedicated social media folks, or even teams of them. This article details different ways smaller nonprofits may craft a data-driven social media strategy. View this article.

VNR on Video

See brief overviews of VNR educational workshops and view recordings of them on YouTube.

View VNR Podcasts
(on the podcast channel listing, press Play to listen just to audio, press Watch to see the video)

VNR’s Executive Director Dr Thomas Backer talks about the history of Valley Nonprofit Resources, and what kinds of services VNR offers, in this 2-part, 23-minute podcast hosted by BigMediaUSA.

CSUN Associate Professor of Social Work Allen Lipscomb discusses concepts of anti-racism, and his work for VNR on this topic - both technical assistance and educational workshops, in this 22-minute podcast hosted by BigMediaUSA.

What VNR Workshop Frequent Flyers Say

Over the last 17 years VNR has offered more than 450 free educational workshops. A few frequent flyer participants have attended 20 or more of these events, and here's what several of them have to say about them:

VNR is my favorite contact to learn about resources that help local nonprofits build a strong, lasting foundation; find collaborators; and figure out the best way to tackle any issue.  Through VNR's workshops, I learned the importance of sustainable programming, networking, communicating with funders, and strategic planning.  I owe our success over the last 10 years of operation, in part, to Tom Backer and VNR!
-Dale Gorman, Executive Director, Kids Community Dental Center

For many years, I have participated in Valley Nonprofit Resources workshops and through them have connected with a wide variety of agency leaders, often sparking collaborations. The workshops provided best practices and other useful information on fundraising, advocacy, governance, marketing, nonprofit laws, board development, succession, sustainability and more.
-Cindy Pease, Executive Director, Musicians at Play Foundation

As a new executive director, VNR was instrumental in providing relevant workshops in an intimate setting that propelled our organization forward.
-Maria Alexander, Center for Living and Learning

San Fernando Community Health Center has found collaboration with Valley Nonprofit Resources very useful over the years.  VNR has great insight into the needs of nonprofits in the San Fernando Valley; the workshops we have hosted and/or attended through the years have been informative and well-organized.
-Audrey Simons, San Fernando Community Health Center

VNR Recovery Resources

As we move into recovery from the pandemic, San Fernando Valley nonprofits face many challenges, and also have learned much from the experiences of the last year. These resources can support planning for recovery and may lead to additional online or in-person resources nonprofit leaders may find helpful. Some of the resources are specific to health, human services and youth development nonprofits, but many are likely to be useful regardless of the type of nonprofit.

VNR Recovery Initiative Launched in July 2020, the CSUN Valley Nonprofit Resources Recovery Initiative (VRI) is aimed at helping San Fernando Valley nonprofits respond to the challenges of recovery as Los Angeles more fully re-opens after the pandemic lockdown. More than 20 free Zoom educational workshops have been offered, and more are planned, on topics ranging from strategic re-structuring to digital strategies for fundraising. Recovery Roundtables in specific communities (Burbank, Glendale, Canoga Park, Reseda, North Hollywood, Pacoima and City of San Fernando) offer a chance for local nonprofits to explore recovery challenges like all the trauma (staff, volunteers, clients and communities) the pandemic has created, and how they might work together. Technical assistance to selected Valley nonprofits also is being offered, along with TA and education focused on anti-racism strategies for nonprofits (supported by grants from The California Wellness Foundation and California Community Foundation, and offered by CSUN Professor Allen Lipscomb, consultant to VNR). A survey of recovery challenges and opportunities was conducted in Spring 2021, funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Valleys (copy available upon request). VRI is supported by grants from Joseph Drown Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Morgan Stanley, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, UniHealth Foundation, Weingart Foundation and Wells Fargo. For more information, contact VNR at 818/677-2774.

Regularly Updated Information Resources

These online resources provide information updated weekly or monthly on various aspects of the pandemic – nonprofits can sign up for them free of charge.

Center for Nonprofit Management COVID-19 Resource Center offers a variety of information resources for nonprofits handling the challenges of COVID-19. Visit the Center for Nonprofit Management COVID-19 Resource Center Website

City of LA Mayor’s Office Updates LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office distributes a monthly newsletter including the latest updates on COVID-19, vaccines, opportunities for aid and upcoming events. To sign up for this newsletter, go to

COVID-19 Weekly Update This e-mail is prepared weekly by the SPA 2 Regional Health Office of Los Angeles County, providing a variety of information and announcements related to COVID-19. It is available free of charge by sending an email to including name, organization, and role in the organization.

HelpGuide – Coronavirus & Mental Health Section This free resource contains a number of articles and meditations to help with the mental health challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. It includes a Coronavirus Mental Health Toolkit, and resources specific to a number of problem areas, ranging from burnout prevention to sleep problems to parenting strategies. To access, please visit the Coronavirus Help Home Page.

VCCC’s Weekly COVID-19 Update Each week, Valley Care Community Consortium sends out an email that includes information on the latest COVID-19 developments, including events, in the San Fernando Valley. These resources are focused on health and human services nonprofits in the Valley. To sign up for this newsletter, email:

Virus and the Valley: Newsletter from Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg Every month, Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg publishes a newsletter with the latest information about what is happening in the San Fernando Valley. The newsletter provides updates on Health & Safety (including the vaccine rollout and other Covid-19 resources), Jobs and the Economy, and Valley Life. To sign up for this newsletter, please visit the Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg's website.

A resource specific to youth development nonprofits is updated periodically:
Empower offers a range of COVID-related information and tools specifically for youth development nonprofits, focused on fundraising, and on working with youth. To access, please visit the Empower website.


COVID-19 Recovery: Preparing Your Organization and Volunteer Program Identifies four phases of disaster management as well as the five steps for nonprofit recovery planning. To access this article, please visit the Galaxy Digital Blog.

COVID-19 Resources for California’s Nonprofits CalNonprofits has compiled a list of resources to support nonprofits and their staff. Topics include Advocacy and Support, COVID-19 Related Funding Opportunities, Federal Resources and Information, California Announcements and Resources (Including Re-Opening Guidance), Employer and Employee Resources, and Resources for Individuals. To access these resources, please visit the CalNonprofits website.

LAEDC's Community Connectory The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.'s Community Connectory provides resources for small businesses, nonprofits and vulnerable residents during this pandemic. To access the directory, please visit the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation website.

Organizational Race Equity Toolkit The Organizational Race Equity Toolkit from the Washington Race Equity Initiative is more than 100 pages of supportive content specifically aimed at organizational equity and the change processes needed to build it. It includes a host of definitions, worksheets, and frameworks to support assessment and planning. To download a copy of this resource, please visit the JustLead Washington website (.pdf).

Safer at Work Los Angeles Reopening Los Angeles County safely will require active participation from every business owner, employee and customer. Safer at Work LA acts as a resource hub for businesses, employers, workers, and residents as everyone seeks to achieve a shared goal of getting Los Angeles back to work safely. The resources on this site are free to use and designed to help businesses across the County communicate to their employees, partners and clients the critical steps they are taking in order to operate as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information and to access these resources, please visit the Safer at Work LA website.