Grant Writing Workshop in Austin

Austin – I’ll be presenting free workshop for the Texas Grants Resource Center (formerly known as the Regional Foundation Library) called Grant Basics: Write. Apply. Repeat.

I hope you can join us on October 17th from noon to 1 p.m. (click below for details and to RSVP).

#nonprofit #learning #fundraising #philanthropy

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Nonprofits: Build Relationships (and Revenue)

Austin’s Regional Foundation Library (RFL) was fortunate to have “mediapreneur,” local do-gooder and global connector Ruben Cantu share his insights and knowledge with the group of nonprofit professionals who are members of the RFL.


He shared his formula for building relationships (and revenue) for nonprofit and social impact organizations. (First ingredient in the formula: get to know each other).

Check out more of what Ruben has to offer here and at the organizations listed below. Ruben is:

  • Board Member of I Live Here I Give Here (the organization behind Amplify Austin);
  • CEO of the LevelUp Institute, a career accelerator for first generation college students;
  • Executive Director of (formerly Austin+SocialGood), dedicated to a global conversation of how technology and social media can help solve social problems; and
  • Board Member of Austin Forum on Technology and Society.

Thank you Ruben!


How to Incubate Creativity

I had the pleasure of attending a 2017 SXSW Conference panel titled: How to Incubate Creativity. The conversation was inspiring – and reconfirms the importance of having spaces for artists and techies to create.

The panelists were:

I’d encourage you to visit their web pages to find out more about these interdisciplinary incubators that are hatching forward-thinking, creative projects.  And here are the notes I took as a recap for you:

SXSW creativity notes


Inspired by Creativity

So many passionate and creative people can be found at the 2017 SXSW Conference. Yesterday I met Monica Kang who does great work with Innovators Box   – an organization that “aims to redefine human capital potential and workforce culture by empowering all professionals with creativity and creative confidence.”

She had me sold when she said “I teach creativity.” Yes! (Plus, I love their sticker). Check it out!


Susannah (the Greater Good Geek) with the InnovatorsBox sticker!

Texas Bill about Sanctuary Cities

Status February 2, 1pm:

Re: SB4 (here is an explanation of what it is and a link to the Senate hearing: About SB 4: Against Sanctuary Cities )

Action you can take:

  • Citizens can go to the Capitol in Austin and register their position for or against the bill.
  • You can choose “don’t testify” when you indicate your position. This means you don’t need to speak about it (if you don’t want to).
  • The longer the list the stronger the impact.
  • You can also observe the hearings in the Senate gallery.

Notes about registering:

  • You can do this while the hearing is going on.
  • The hearing is expected to go on until at least 9pm
  • There are 4 computers set up in front of the Senate Chambers (the East portion of the main Capitol building – second floor)
  • It takes only a minute or two to register your name and address and your position.
  • You can register as representing your self (you don’t need to name your place of work for example).

This is a picture of a charming pair doing their civic duty:




Award-winning Poems About Nonprofits

For Nonprofit Geeks, like me, who follow the excellent and super-funny blog about nonprofit life titled “Nonprofit with Balls” (NWB), you know that this week the “Nonprofit Poet Laureate of the Milky Way Galaxy” was crowned. Some background: NWB (written by Vu Le) had a nonprofit poetry contest this spring. Over 250 poems were submitted; 15 were picked for awards (and the top poet was deemed Nonprofit Poet Laureate of the Milky Way Galaxy). I encourage you to read the results. They truly are top-caliber; ready for a literary magazine or a liberal arts college poetry class or an emotional movie montage.

I entered the contest. Though I did not win, place or show – I will share the entry here. One note: a running joke in the NWB blog is that hummus is a staple at nonprofit events and functions. I thought by including a running joke, I would win favor with the judges. (Nope).

If you want to be inspired and moved, read the winning entries. Alternatively, read the poem below.

My Dog
My dog runs to greet me at the door when I come home.
Does he seem so happy because I submitted a 36-page grant application on time?
Or because I successfully executed a mail merge for a fundraising appeal?
Or because I typed the monthly board minutes in record speed?
Does my dog show me so much love because he knows I am trying to save the world?
My dog knows not the cares of the nonprofit staffer.
He only knows that I feed him, I walk him…
And I smell like hummus.

-Susannah Erler

P.S. You should know that I don’t actually have a dog. Including a dog was another (unsuccessful) attempt to win favor with the judges.


Photo: National Library of Australia, 1910


Heartfelt Work – Saving Lives

We hear about the good work that large nonprofits do. But it is less common that the stories of the foot-soldiers and smaller nonprofit organizations make it into public awareness.

Here is one of those stories; when one-on-one human connections were made. A mother needed help, someone listened, reached out to another – across borders. Requests were sent, generous people responded, and a life of a child was saved as a result.

I see it as the power of people who care – and the power of nonprofit organizations. Here are the words of the board chair of a small nonprofit organization, called Hearts Unite the Globe, doing a tremendous job spreading the word and also connecting the Congenital Heart Defect community. I’ll let her tell the story of this child’s lifesaving operation:

I am feeling so grateful right now. A few months ago a woman wrote to me from Africa. She had heard my radio show* and she wrote asking me for help. As a single mother in Africa, she had no way to pay for open-heart surgery for her son and the pediatric cardiologist said he would die without surgery soon.

I reached out to the two gentlemen I knew helping children in Africa and after many, many emails, many many prayers and much effort on the part of untold number of angels Elvis had his open-heart surgery TODAY! He’s recovering in the ICU and tomorrow I get to meet him and his mother! Such an amazing blessing! Please pray for Elvis and his mother Esther. They’ve been through so much, they are so very far away and they still have a long path to travel upon but I truly believe angels are watching over them.

Thank you to Ann Logan-Lubben, her husband Jack Lubben, Laura Schleicher, Laura Redfern, Frank Jaworski and all of the supporters of Hearts Unite the Globe. Because of the work we are doing with the radio show, we really are helping others.

I especially want to thank HeartGift, the nonprofit organization that flew Esther and Elvis here and have provided life-saving surgery at no cost to this family. I really need to recognize two angel dads who were so helpful in trying to get Elvis where he needed to be — thank you so much Peter Mbogo Kamau of the Take Heart Association Project and Fareed Matthews of Brave Little Hearts SA — both of these wonderful gentlemen continued correspondence with so many people in an effort to help little Elvis. Truly, this was a labor of love for so many people. I am very touched with how people came together to provide a miracle for Elvis.

– Anna Jaworski, Board Chair, Hearts Unite the Globe. January 21, 2016  

*Heart to Heart with Anna (about Congenital Heart Defects on Blog Talk Radio) a service of the nonprofit organization Hearts Unite the Globe

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