United Way Westchester Putnam Non-Profit Summit Celebrates 15 Years

Westunitedwaywestchesterandputnamchester County, N.Y. (April 17, 2017) – The non-profit landscape may have changed since the United Way of Westchester and Putnam first launched its first Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit back in 2002 with keynote speaker Hillary Clinton, but the need for new strategies to sustain non-profits in an era of shrinking government support is greater than ever.

Non-profits are looking for ways to re-energize and redirect their efforts. The good news, according to one of this year’s keynote speakers, is that while trust in government and the media is declining, the public’s perception of non-profits continues to climb.

“When we launched the Not-for-Profit Leadership Summit with the Westchester Community Foundation 15 years ago, the idea was to provide non-profits with the tools needed to propel their organizations into the future, and that is still true today,” said Alana Sweeny, President and CEO of United Way Westchester Putnam. “Hillary Clinton, who was then our Senator, was our first keynote speaker, and her message is just as important and vital as it was back then.”

This year’s Not-for-Profit Leadership Summit will be held on Monday, May 1 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown and features breakfast and luncheon keynote speakers, morning and afternoon breakout sessions and a networking reception. Participants will have a choice of sixteen breakout sessions with topics ranging from social media strategies and creating a buzz for your non-profit to how to use data and how to build an effective board of directors, among others.

Both keynote speakers will address how non-profits can adapt and thrive in the current culture.

The breakfast keynote, Ilsa Flanagan, Director, National Reframing Initiative National Human Services Assembly, will discuss her organization’s strategy to reframe the conversation around non-profits. According to Flanagan, research shows that the public is turned off by the traditional perception of non-profits as charities in support of the needy and responds more favorably to a positive image of an organization that adds value to the community.

Non-profits have a unique opportunity to capitalize on their elevated stature in the current climate, according to luncheon keynote David Birdsell, Marxe Dean and Professor at Baruch College’s Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Birdsell, a highly-respected political commentator, says polling data shows that unlike elected officials and the media, the public still believes in non-profits’ ability to implement change.

“Now more than ever, non-profits need a reboot to adapt to changing priorities,” said Carlene Gentilesco, COO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “I think they will find inspiration and practical solutions from our keynote speakers and from the presenters at the many breakout sessions offered throughout the day.  It’s a chance to learn, refresh, network and share best practices.’’

The Leadership Summit is underwritten in part by the TD Charitable Foundation.  Gold Level supporters include the Westchester County Local Development Corporation and Con  Edison. Corporate sponsors are: Atlantic Westchester; Goldstein Hall Attorneys at Law; Robert Half Company; Bright Energy Services; CS Plus; Rose and Kiernan Inc.; Non-profit sponsors are: The Arc Westchester; Association of Development Officers; Fordham University – Westchester Campus; Mutual of American; Non-profit Westchester; Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University and NPCC.

There is a $35 non-refundable event fee for a nonprofit’s initial reservation. Each additional participant from the same organization is $30. Walk-in registration is $45, space permitting. Sponsorships and vendor tables are also available. The Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown is located at 455 S. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. For more information, please call the Summit Hotline at 914-997-6700 x706. To learn about sponsorships, workshops and early registration, please visit www.uwwp.org/summit.shtml

About Our Keynote Speakers:

Ilsa Flanagan

Director, National Reframing Initiative

National Human Services Assembly

Ilsa Flanagan partners with forward thinking leaders to design groundbreaking solutions to society’s most complex problems. She is currently leading the National Human Services Assembly’s Reframing Initiative, mobilizing and training the sector to use rigorously tested communications that have been demonstrated to deepen understanding of human needs and encourage more vibrant civic participation for social change.

Prior to launching her own consulting practice, Ilsa was the founding director of several organization-wide initiatives to create social and environmental change in the corporate and higher education sectors, including the University of Chicago and LaSalle Bank. Earlier in her career she spent several years in the United Way system, most notably as vice president for public policy at United Way of America where she led national advocacy efforts for 14 local United Ways.

Ilsa is an attorney and graduate of The American University Law School in Washington, DC.  She received her undergraduate degree from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.  She has been on the boards of several organizations including Foresight Design Initiative and Midwest Pesticide Action Center. She also volunteers with a Chicago-based refugee resettlement program.

David Birdsell

Marxe Dean and Professor at Baruch College’s

Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.

Marxe Dean of the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College and Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Effectiveness, David Birdsell has centered his academic work on the nexus of communication, media, and information technology in politics, government and nonprofit administration. An expert on political debating and widely published on communication theory and practice, David is a regular guest commentator on debates and other aspects of political communication for television and print media. His work has been supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the IBM Endowment for the Study of Business and Government, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the United Way of New York City, the Markle Foundation, and other funders. David is President of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, and serves on NASPAA’s Executive Council. He chairs the boards of Governance Matters and of the New York Federal Statistics Research Data Center. He is a member of the board of the New York Council of Nonprofits. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. David received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Public Communication from the University of Maryland.

About United Way of Westchester and Putnam
United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) helps local residents in Westchester and Putnam become self-sufficient and thrive in a stronger community by helping people in crisis through the 2-1-1 helpline, making sure children are reading on grade level by 3rd grade, providing job skills training and offering support programs for the nonprofit sector. UWWP works with agency partners, government, business and community leaders to solve complex problems.  United Way’s 2-1-1, which covers Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers thousands of online inquiries and calls each week ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls.

UWWP is located at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. Phone: 914-997-6700 Website: www.uwwp.org. Facebook: (www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP)