The ThinkTank Nonprofit Report: February 2013

Mar 13, 2013

In a region of high income inequality, nonprofits’ work is never done. And South Florida, of course, teems with excellent organizations doing their utmost to fill unmet needs. So, let’s check in on what’s happening in South Florida’s nonprofit scene this month.

New Milk Bank Helping to Keep Babies Fed

A mother’s work to get enough donor breast milk to feed her highly allergic son resulted in the opening of a new nonprofit initiative, and a first for South Florida: a human milk depot.

The opening ceremony on February 19th welcomed mothers and their babies as well as pediatric health specialists, to celebrate the opening of a deep freezer unit at The Gathering Place, a local pregnancy and parenting research center in Miami. The freezer will hold breast milk donations from women throughout South Florida, which will be given to mothers or caretakers who, for various reasons, can’t nurse the infants themselves. To learn more about South Florida’s human milk depot, including how you can help, you can visit their website for more information.

Mega-Events Helping Raise Big Cash in One Fell Swoop

In other news, several local organizations are realizing the impact that mega-events can have on fundraising efforts. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s South Florida Chapter is a great example. Every year, the organization plans a weekend of four major events including a black-tie gala and a fishing tournament, the Jeb Bush Classic, which raised over $500,000 last year. These types of fundraising events also provide outside companies with the opportunity to sponsor deserving causes.  Other local organizations harnessing the quick money-raising power of mega-events include 211-Broward (for their Nonprofit Academy Awards) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

PhilanthroFest and Catalyst Miami Kick Off Crash Courses in Nonprofit Promotion

Considering the economic challenges facing nonprofits today, it’s not surprising that promotional budgets have suffered as organizations try to prioritize expenditures.

With this in mind, the nonprofit networking conference PhilanthroFest and social-services group Catalyst Miami  launched the Nonprofit Community Engagement Institutes, a series of workshops where nonprofits can learn to harness the power of online and offline communication channels to connect with the community.

With sessions led by communications professionals from the for-profit sector as well as several local nonprofit veterans, the first event, held February 8 at the Miami Science Museum, offered lessons in social media management, community development and engagement and raising more funds through effective storytelling.

Coconut Grove Arts Fest and Abrakadoodle Bring Out Kids’ Inner Picassos

Speaking of lessons, we know that budget constraints have severely affected the availability and quality of arts education in our public schools. We also know that exposure to the arts promotes self-directed learning, imagination and creative problem-solving skills in children.

In order to give more of Miami-Dade’s kids a chance to know the joys and benefits of artistic expression, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and arts-education company Abrakadoodle partnered with The Children’s Trust to help celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary with “Kids Express at the Fest.”

Every day of the festival, Abrakadoodle staffers held workshops where they taught kids between five and 12 years old to paint, sculpt, draw and design mosaics and collages. The children also learned the creative styles of art-world luminaries such as Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Frida Kahlo and, of course, Pablo Picasso.

Be it feeding babies, improving nonprofits’ promotional skills or giving more kids access to the arts, there are always plenty of great causes to support – and many dedicated people who do so – in South Florida. And that means I’ll have plenty of great stories to share with you in April. See you then!

Image Source: Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas/PR Web

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