PACT technical assistance session for Economic Development Opportunity Grant Program Zerlina Smith and Dr. Carmen Palmer, PhD, at education town hall meeting breakout session. Chicago Area Project Americorps volunteers complete Capacity Building Blocks training. Valerie receives community service award from Carey Tercentenary AME Church. Valerie and DePaul Students at BBF. Valerie attended the opening of the WBEZ West Side Bureau. Breakout session discussion from Education Town Hall Meeting series. Valerie at community meeting on school closures. Valerie served as a technical assistance provider for the University of Illinois at Chicago Chi-West Resource Net (CWRN). Valerie used $1,000 proceeds from Every Block’s Very Important Neighbors Contest to host Artist for A Day event. Valerie (with parents and friends) was recognized for helping Carey Tercentenary AME Church win $30,000 for a new elevator.

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Thank you for visiting. My goals are to provide you with information about my consulting practice, as well as connect you with resources that will enable you to increase organizational effectiveness.  If you have questions or comments about the site, please feel free to click on to the inquiry buttons that appear at the bottom of each page. I would be interested in hearing your feedback, including suggestions for improvement or additional features that would be of interest to you.

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What Would You Do If…?

You are the executive director of a small community-based social service organization that has been around for 5 years. The organization has a high profile in the community, and is well-regarded by funders. The programs have been very effective. As a result, the organization is onthe verge of significant growth.You are a non-voting ex-officio member of the board. The chairman of the board of directors is afounding member and is also the chief of staff of the local ward alderman. The 13-member board consists of a faction of 4 people who are staunchly loyal to the alderman; 5 people who are loyal to one of her potential rivals in the upcoming general election (one of whom is the potential rival himself), and 4 people who are politically neutral, including yourself. The 3 other neutral boardmembers are less engaged than the board members who have chosen alliances along partisan political lines. The aldermanic election is a year from now, but you can sense a difference in the dynamics of theboard meetings. More
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What is Organizational Capacity, and Why You Should Care

Organizational Assessment-Magnifying GlassWhen we speak of capacity, we are generally referring to organization’s potential to marshal their human, financial and other resources to effect positive change in the communities and clients they serve. Organizational capacity is impacted by a  number of factors, including leadership, the organization’s stage of development and changes in the environment, to name a few. More

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PACT Technical Assistance Session Highlighted by Bulletin Newspapers

The Community Reinvestment Organizing Project, in collaboration with the Illinois African-American Family Commission, held a technical assistance session for prospective grantees, on Saturday, January 4, 2014, at the Marquette Bank, 6316 South Western Avenue.  The session was covered by the  Independent Bulletin Newspaper, and will run in the January 9, 2014 edition, page 10. We thank Mr. Hurley Green, Publisher, for helping us get the word out.

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PACT Partners with the Illinois African American Family Commission to Provide Technical Assistance for Economic Development Grant Program Technical Assistance Session

Otis Monroe, CEO of the Monroe Foundation, introduces Michael Holmes, Executive Director of the Illinois African American Family Commission.

The Community Reinvestment Organizing Project, in collaboration with the Illinois African-American Family Commission, held a technical assistance session for prospective grantees, on Saturday, January 4, 2014, at the Marquette Bank, 6316 South Western Avenue.  Michael Holmes, the Executive Director of the Illinois African American Family Commission, was the featured speaker, and Valerie F. Leonard provided technical assistance.

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Handouts From The Community Economic Development Grant Technical Assistance Session

The Community Reinvestment Organizing Project, in collaboration with the Illinois African-American Family Commission, provided a complimentary technical assistance workshop for the Community Economic Development Grant RFP on Saturday, January 4, 2014.  I gave an overview of the application. The handouts are included on my blog. For more information about the grant program, visit http://www.aafc.org/Economic_Dev.htm. Questions regarding the presentation may be directed to me at consulting@valeriefleonard.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Business Plan Pro 20% Off

I am an affiliate of Palo Alto Software, the maker of Business Plan Pro. What I like about Business Plan Pro is the fact that you can export the financial data to Excel, which can then be uploaded into Quick Books. I also like the fact that you have access to 500 sample plans, and the online version allows you to track your actual performance against your plan. The software makes all the necessary calculations to generate pro forma income statements and balance sheets in formats that banks and investors are used to seeing. Click onto the icon below for further information.

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Quick Books Products 20% Off

I am a Quick Books affiliate. What I like about Quick Books, is the program is easy to use, and you don’t need to be an accountant to use it. There are modules for payroll and end of the year tax reporting, and there is really good customer support. The financial data may be exported into Excel for further analysis. There are several versions that are industry-specific, including versions for construction contractors, retailers, manufacturers, nonprofits and consultants.

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Valerie's Services

Nonprofit Compliance

Nonprofit Compliance

Valerie has worked with a number of organizations to secure tax exemption status from federal and state agencies. This includes the spinoff of an organization from a major hospital system and the spinoff of a local community-based organization from a family foundation. She has created webinars and workshops on creating…

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Project Management

Project Management

Valerie has served as the project manager on a number of engagements, ranging from community development projects, strategic planning, comprehensive capacity building and community engagement. Her collaborative approach, attention to details and follow up results in projects that have buy-in from major stakeholders with a significant likelihood of results that…

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Ask the Expert Webinars and Live Chat

Ask the Expert Webinars and Live Chat

Once every month for 1 to 2 hours, Valerie will “get together” with clients and potential clients online to chat about things that matter to nonprofits. Sometimes the discussions will be casual, although they will all be focused and professional. Valerie also invites other “experts” to join and share their…

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Policy Analysis and Advocacy

Policy Analysis and Advocacy

Valerie works with organizations to conduct issue-based needs assessments to identify key policy and/or community issues that impact their ability to provide programs and services. The results are used to develop appropriate strategies to advocate for changes that will result in triple-win situations for clients, organizations and policy-makers. Valerie has…

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Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation

Valerie works with key organizational stakeholders to develop an evaluation plan taking into account the program logic model and outcomes identified during the program planning and design phase. She uses a combination of quantitative and quantitative measures to assess progress towards the programs’ goals and objectives and uses the results…

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Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment

Valerie works with clients to assess their current operating environment to identify and prioritize key issues, identify service gaps and redundancies in local markets; develop goals and objectives and to formalize their internal theories of change. The results of the needs assessments may be included in grant proposals; used to…

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Board Development

Board Development

Valerie works with the board and executive directors to assess board operations and practices and to identify and prioritize key issues.  The outcomes of board assessments could be used to strengthen by-laws and polices; enhance committee structures and systems of communication between board and staff; recruit board members; enhance evaluation…

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Budgeting and Finance

Budgeting and Finance

Valerie works with emerging organizations to identify the necessary resources to effectively implement programs and services and project associated revenues and expenses and monthly cash flows.  These data may be used to establish budgets for organizations, programs and projects, or to support funding proposals, applications for tax exemption status, or…

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Program Logic Models

Program Logic Models

  Valerie works with organizations to analyze their current situation within the context of the environment within which they operate to identify key issues strengths, challenges resources and actions required to reach their goals and objectives.  The models are structured so that clients may easily develop implementation plans and measure…

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Organizational Assessment

Organizational Assessment

Valerie uses a number of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess organizational capacity to effectively deliver programs and services to their clients. Depending on the needs of the client, methods used could include stakeholder interviews, online surveys and questionnaires, internal document review and literature reviews. Information gleaned from the assessments…

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Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

Valerie uses a collaborative approach to engage key stakeholders at every stage of the strategic planning process. She conducts a thorough assessment of the organization’s capacity and key relationships with clients and funders. These data are used to helps them to identify and prioritize key issues, goals, objectives and strategies…

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Capacity Building Blocks

Capacity Building Blocks

Capacity Building Blocks is a 10-part series of workshops for nonprofit practitioners. The workshops are held on the client site, or mutually-agreed upon location. The interactive workshops provide a balance of instruction, case studies and group activities designed to help participants strengthen their organization’s infrastructure, and position it for long…

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Representative Projects

Latest News

Norman Amaker Public Interest Law and Social Justice Retreat

March 12, 14 // 0 comments

I have been invited to participate in a round table discussion during the Norman Amaker Public Interest Law and Social Justice Retreat, to be held the weekend of March 14th-16th, 2014 at Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus located at 2710 S. Country Club Road, Woodstock, Illinois. Panelist Brandon Johnson, a...

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Impact of School Based Budgeting

March 12, 14 // 0 comments

The City of Chicago just closed 50 schools last year. CPS promised when the schools closed, the schools that remained would have more resources. Since that time, CPS started developing school budgets on a per pupil basis. Here is a copy of the presentation I made to the Austin Community...

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Valerie F. Leonard Set to Receive Congressman Danny Davis’ Nancy Jefferson Award in Education

February 22, 14 // 0 comments

Valerie F. Leonard will be receiving the Nancy Jefferson Award in Education from Congressman Danny Davis this Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Pleasant Ridge MB Church, 116 South Central in Chicago, at 3:00 p.m. If you have a chance, please come on out.

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Decoding the Common Core

February 22, 14 // 0 comments

I was recently invited by the Black Star Project to conduct a workshop on the Common Core Standards for a parent group at the Medgar Evers School. Here are copies of the presentation, handout and resources. De-Coding the Common Core by valeriefleonard 2013 Guide Bundle_082213 by valeriefleonard Common Core Resources...

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