Jeanne Canina Tedrow, President & CEO, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
As I close in on my first year at the Center and begin to think about our second year together, I would like to express sincere gratitude. From where I sit, the work of our sector is so important to the communities in which we live, and I feel blessed to be a part of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits - supported by you all – and able to offer leadership at such a critical time. Let me share an overview of what we have been up to and, going forward, offer deeper dives on what supports and challenges us.
Since beginning August 1, 2017, I have tried to use these first 11 months to listen to the Center staff and visit with nonprofit Members, board members, supporters, and constituents to hear more about their cares and concerns, challenges, and achievements. I have had the opportunity to learn about key initiatives begun before my tenure and add my perspective and support from my 30+ years working in the nonprofit community development world. I appreciate the welcome given to me across the state and the show of support from funders and investors who have demonstrated their commitment to the Center’s work through ongoing support during my first year. I have been impressed by all those who work at the Center and those who left their imprint, for their dedication to excellence and the values we uphold. We are fortunate to have a Board of Directors so committed to the Center’s mission, representing the sector from all areas of North Carolina.
This past year, the Center launched its Walking the Talk initiative and webinar series, and if you listened in, you know that we are committed to looking at all we do through this lens. Both staff and board leaders have contributed, and we have sought the council of so many who have been working on these issues for so long. Look for us to do more to check our own inventory on how the Center promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion, even as we are “Walking the Talk” alongside many of you, working with consultants and other leaders in the field who have provided long-term leadership. Doing this difficult work is a process, and we need to support each other as we travel and navigate the course. We are committed to the journey.
We have continued to focus on critical public policy issues at both the state and federal levels and to work with other statewide leaders – including the National Council of Nonprofits and our sister state associations across the country – to align our interests and better understand how our state policy fits within federal issues. We know that our influence is stronger through collaboration. I have been impressed with the role the Center plays in helping to shape and support public policy and advocacy in ways that truly support our Members’ interests, and by the partnerships we have formed and continue to form to advocate for the nonprofit sector. Tax policy and the risk of repealing of the Johnson Amendment are only a couple of important public policy matters that we have addressed this year. If you are a Member, you are receiving our regular Public Policy Updates and staying informed!
We hosted eight Nonprofit Town Halls this past spring, seeking feedback on the issues that matter most to you. Among them is the lack of choice and access to affordable health insurance for your employees. This is important as you seek to attract and retain talent for the work you do, and we are working on options that we may be able to share with you for discussion, feedback, and adoption over the next year or so – recognizing, of course, that health care and insurance options are a complex matter. We are also committed to creating an Advocacy Toolkit (mentioned at our Town Halls) to empower you with the tools necessary to advocate for your organization and your own interests.
We have been in transition and on the move at the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits! We have actually moved from the Center’s long-time venue to a space leased from one of our Members, the North Carolina Community Development Initiative in Raleigh (5800 Faringdon Place). We are excited to become building mates with other statewide nonprofits already housed here and hope this will encourage our work and synergy together as we get to know each other better.
While we stand on our legacy, we are also moving forward with new strategic directions and embracing change. Accepting this new role as president and CEO of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, I was excited to stand on the firm foundation and legacy built by its founder, Jane Kendall, and those like Trisha Lester, senior vice president, who worked with her and provided leadership for more than 25 years. Before taking on this role, I transitioned from a community-based nonprofit where I was the co-founder and executive director for almost 30 years. I knew well what it takes to start and build an organization that could thrive and sustain itself over time. Building on past leadership and the support of statewide, local, and community foundations, I have been excited to see the Center continue to thrive and serve more than 1,450 current nonprofit Members across the state, in almost all 100 counties.
When I began, our board and staff agreed that we wanted to reflect on the past, look toward the future, and encourage adaptive change that allowed the Center to remain relevant and strategic. We took time to survey our Members, listen to leaders across the state, and meet with Members in their locales wherever and whenever possible. Our board hosted welcome receptions from Wilmington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh to Durham, Charlotte, Asheville, and Boone and many places in between. We gathered to focus on our “Strategic Directions.” Through this process, we completed a working document that restates our vision, mission, values, and goals (shared below) and seek your continual feedback.
We are at an exciting place in the lifecycle of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. All communities are more sustainable when their nonprofits are strong and thriving. The Center encourages innovation in the nonprofit-community benefit workspace to which we are committed. We can continue to achieve great things as we help build capacity in the nonprofit sector across our state. We seek to support you in your work and ask that you hold us accountable to you, our Members and our sector, in ways that affirm our stated values. We want to do all that we can to promote and support your work and fulfill our vision and mission. Marianne Williamson said, “In every community there is work to be done. And in every heart there is the power to do it.” Let us go forward thinking, caring, and working together.
We are shifting our approach from a transactional framework to a dynamic and transformational culture where equity, inclusivity, and the ability to generate sustaining earned income guide our strategic decisions on the programs and services we offer.
- We see the Center as a vital leader in building and sustaining equitable and thriving communities. Our mission is to educate, connect, and advocate for North Carolina nonprofits.
- We believe we do this best when our values align with our work. We support collaboration – working together as nonprofits, businesses, and government – to achieve the best solutions to strengthen the fabric of our communities.
- We are committed to helping nonprofits be change agents that contribute to an equitable society, underscoring our commitment to the values of equity and inclusion.
- We believe that what we do makes a difference, and we focus on results that matter.
- We challenge ourselves to do great work and actively seek feedback to continually improve and evolve our services.
- We believe we are responsive, adaptive, and committed to innovation – we seek relevance.
How will we progress into the future? We will:
- Advance the nonprofit sector
- Innovate training
- Initiate connections and relationships
- Grow relevant services for Members
- Improve the Center’s internal capacity