Valley Nonprofit Resources

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Welcome to Valley Nonprofit Resources (VNR)

In the News

February Workshop

Tips for Successful Proposals and Communicating with Funders will provide you with strategies to submit successful proposals, such as, how to discern what the foundation is looking to support, how to engage a program officer so they want to learn more about your program, and how to maximize your hard efforts and move forward if your proposal is declined.

Presenter: Luann Rocha, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for California State University, Northridge has worked in Advancement at CSUN for 10 years and previously served 22 years as the Executive Director of a community based educational non-profit organization in Oxnard.

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 6, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (PST)

Register for this Event.

March Workshop

CSUN's Office of Community Engagement. Please join to learn about the resources and services that CSUN's nearly 40,000 student campus offers in supporting nonprofit and community partners, from volunteer and service-learning students to supporting your projects, research, and initiatives.

Presenters: Danielle Spratt and Pamela Palacios

Date and Time: Friday, March 8, 2023, 12:00 pm (Noon, PST)

Register for this Event,

Handling the Discomforts of Fundraising for BIPOC Leaders explores the intersections of race, equity, and wealth disparities that play a significant role in fundraising for BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving nonprofits. Paying attention to these intersections and how they show up in the beliefs and mindsets of BIPOC leaders can help these leaders better handle the discomforts of fundraising - increasing their success and the sustainability of their nonprofits.  This free publication, developed by Valley Nonprofit Resources (Alejandra Acuña, Wi-Moto Nyoka & Thomas E. Backer) looks at five intersecting factors - risk tolerance, family traditions, acculturation, educational background and sociopolitical context.  And it discusses six challenges faced by BIPOC nonprofit leaders - visibility and recognition, representation and authenticity, navigating biases, access to networks and resources, funding instability and addressing systemic inequities.  Recommendations for funders also are provided. Download this publication (.pdf).

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.

Featured Publications

The New Nonprofits This article by Steven Mintz for Inside Higher Education overviews the ever-growing nonprofit sector – which is now by some measures the third-largest area of employment in the United States, with over 1.5 million workers.  It also discusses how academic institutions and faculty can best prepare their students, especially those in the humanities and the “soft” social sciences, for future work and careers with nonprofit organizations. Access this article.

Five Signs Your Nonprofit is Ready to Reach a Bigger Community highlights the different ways nonprofit leaders can improve and expand their organization’s reach and impact through marketing activities.  The article for Blue Avocado by Danny Burke and Lauren Kobylarz describes five signs that a nonprofit is ready for a more intensive marketing effort (and also ways to begin brainstorming about how to do so) – it has inspirational stories, it has already developed some initial capacity for marketing, the nonprofit is attracting attention, marketing appears in the organization’s strategic plan, and there is some awareness of how such an  effort can benefit the community a nonprofit serves.  Access this article.

The Art of Grant Budgeting: A Guide for Nonprofit CFOs This article by Mary Diegert for Blue Avocado describes the process a nonprofit CFO goes through when putting together grant proposal budgets, and how good budgeting can have an impact on potential funders. It includes a number of suggestions for how to create a budget that responds to the interests and priorities of a funder, as well as suggestions about the more technical aspects of budgeting. Access 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.