Nonprofit Support Center

Established by the Foundation in 1998, the Nonprofit Support Center helps to develop a capable, forward-thinking, and collaborative nonprofit sector in Worcester County. Its programs and services help organizations think strategically, govern effectively, and work cooperatively with community partners.

Find out more by contacting Foundation Special Projects Officer Gail Randall. Reach Gail at or call her at (508) 755-0980, x 101.

The Nonprofit Support Center offers programs that help nonprofit board and staff leaders do their jobs well. Please note the specific audience for which each program is intended. Some programs are exclusively for executive directors. We consider an executive director to be a paid chief executive officer who reports directly to a governing board and supervises at least one staff member.

Unless otherwise noted, programs are held at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. In the event of inclement weather, call us at (508) 755-0980.

Programs at a Glance

Please select the + to see the full description of the program.

A printable version of the 2014 Fall schedule is available here. 

 Fall 2014 Programs


Tuesday, September 23
12 noon-1:30 pm
Audience: Executive directors, development and communications staff
Location: GWCF, 370 Main Street, 6th Floor
Fee: None. Lunch will be provided. No-shows will be charged $20 unless 48 hours’ notice of a cancellation. 
REGISTER HERE by Sept 10. You will receive a confirmation.

Millennials, or Gen Y, make up the largest generation in American history according to the Washington-based advocacy organization NDN. (Estimates are that there are now 17 million more Millennials alive than baby boomers.) It is forecasted that in five years, they will be spending more than $200 billion annually – topping out at $10 trillion in their lifetimes. But with all organizations clamoring for this group’s attention, how can your nonprofit gain mindshare from the most tech-savvy, mobile, social generation in history? Join us to learn how you can engage with Millennials to inspire them to support, contribute, and make a significant impact on your mission.

Presenter Ginny Pitcher is co-founder/president of Kel & Partners, a leading public relations and social media agency for consumer and emerging technology brands. Whether defining social media strategies or developing branded social media websites or applications, she delivers focused, dead-on results for clients like UNREAL Candy, Cumberland Farms, Staples,, and others. Her career path has included positions at Bill Hudson & Associates, one of Tennessee’s leading PR/ad firms, and Fidelity Investments.


Thursday, October 16
5-6:30 pm 
Audience: Board Officers and Executive Directors
Location: GWCF, 370 Main Street, 6th Floor
Fee: $25 
REGISTER HERE by Oct 1. You will receive a confirmation and invoice.

All organizations – nonprofit or for-profit—are strengthened and enhanced by a diversity of perspectives. Diversity helps to assure that the organization knows its market and offers services with appeal to a wide variety of constituencies. Yet we often hear about the challenges associated with developing a diverse board-- from identifying people to making board work effective and engaging. This session, facilitated by group leaders with wide and deep board experience, will help you to identify the skills and attributes you’re looking for, find prospective members that fit the bill, and orient them so that they quickly feel connected and ready to serve.

Facilitators: Patsy Lewis serves on the boards of the United Way, Greater Worcester Community Foundation and Worcester Education Collaborative; Mike Keegan is board chair of Notre Dame Academy and former chair of Y.O.U., Inc. and Worcester Community Action Council; Mόnica Escobar Lowell is a board member of the Worcester Youth Center, Family Health Center, and Greater Worcester Community Foundation; and Chick Weiss is co-founder and past chair of the Nativity School, former chair of the American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts and Children’s Friend, and a current director of Greater Worcester Community Foundation.


Thursday, October 23
9 am-12 noon

Audience: Any nonprofit staff member with responsibility for a team or participating on one
Location: GWCF, 370 Main Street, 6th Floor
Fee: $25 
REGISTER HERE by Oct 8. You will receive a confirmation and invoice.

A team that works well together is not a chance event. When team members understand their styles and those of others, they are likely to be more effective. In this workshop you will explore the eight different patterns of behavior individuals normally exhibit as they go about their day-to-day activities. Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) you will discover natural preferences for focusing energy, gathering information, and making decisions. This dynamic half-day session will include hands-on exercises designed to help you understand your preferred response to challenges, your style of interaction with others, and the unique way that your preferences allow you to make a distinctive contribution to any team.

Session Leader Sheila Carroll of Worcester is an MBTI Certified Practitioner, an IFC Certified Professional Coach and operates a Human Resources consulting practice. Her work is focused on executive coaching, strategy development and helping start-up and nonprofit organizations implement effective HR practices across a wide range of disciplines. Sheila brings more than 25 years of HR leadership experience in financial services and insurance organizations.


American Antiquarian Society’s Experience with Social Media

Thursday, October 30
12-1:30 pm

Audience: Executive directors, media staff, board members
Location: Goddard-Daniels House, 190 Salisbury St. (Parking on nearby Regent St., Massachusetts Ave, Montvale Rd.)
Fee: None. Lunch included. No-shows will be charged $20 unless 48 hours’ notice of a cancellation. 
REGISTER HERE by Oct. 15. You will receive a confirmation.

Using the American Antiquarian Society as a case study, find out how one organization has evolved in its use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to further its mission. Consider how organizations with different missions and resources might employ similar or different strategies. The session begins with a formal presentation followed by a reactor panel and audience Q&A. Come ready to share your thoughts and experiences. No prior knowledge of these social media platforms is required.

Presenters: Molly O’Hagan Hardy, Digital Humanities Curator / ACLS Public Fellow; Kayla Haveles, Education Coordinator; and Lauren B. Hewes, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts. Panel: Adrien Finley, executive director, Music Worcester; Jean McMurray, executive director, Worcester County Food Bank; Steve Pitcher, Compass Partners, LLC, specializing in Interim Management.



Thursday, November 6
12-1:30 pm

Audience: Executive directors, development staff, program staff, board members
Location: GWCF, 370 Main Street, 6th Floor
Fee: None. Lunch included. No-shows will be charged $20 unless 48 hours’ notice of a cancellation. 
REGISTER HERE by Oct. 23. You will receive a confirmation.

What’s the role of data in the life of your agency? From program planning to grants and evaluations, thoughtful use of legitimate data has become essential. Attend this session to discover sources; learn how to use and craft data sets relevant to your purpose, and effective ways of presenting it.

Presenters: Timothy McGourthy is Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, which conducts independent, non-partisan research and analysis of public policy issues to promote informed public debate and decision-making in Central Massachusetts. Tim previously served as Chief Development Officer of the City of Worcester and Chief Executive Officer of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority; earlier he was Director of Policy at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and worked at Carnegie Corporation of New York exploring issues of social development and international affairs. Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment at Clark University. She uses advanced techniques of spatial analysis to address a broad range of urgent social, environmental, and health issues such as preterm births, asthma incidence, heat-related mortality, health disparities and noise pollution. She has pursued applied research projects driven by local community needs, collaborating with a variety of stakeholders including local government officials, medical professionals, and community organizations.



 Wednesday, November 12

12-1:30 pm

Audience: Executive directors, media staff

Location: Becker College Boutin Center Multi-Purpose Room.  Parking in Becker lot at the corner of West and William streets and on-street.

Fee: None. Lunch included. No-shows will be charged $20 unless 48 hours’ notice of a cancellation. 

REGISTER HERE by Oct. 23. Seating is limited. You will receive a confirmation.

What is the potential of games for engaging people with your mission? A recent opinion piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy noted, “Games developed for learning and other positive social purposes are growing quite some cases, adding the online element may help deepen the impact of the content.” Some report they have learned about a new cause by playing a game.

Becker College is a nationally recognized leader in interactive media and is the home of MassDIGI (Massachusetts Digital Game Institute). Attend this session with members of Becker’s game design faculty to discover the potential of interactive media for nonprofit education, marketing, and global awareness. The session will offer historical perspective, examples of societal impact realized through games, and recent case studies that show what is being learned about games as an engagement tool. Technical approaches targeted to smaller budget organizations and volunteer-based projects will be included.

SPECIAL NOTE: Thanks to a partnership between Becker College’s Interactive Media Program and GWCF’s Nonprofit Support Center, several nonprofits that attend this session will be able to work with a game design student on a project for their organizations next year.

Presenters: Paul Cotnoir, Ph.D., director of the Design Program, has a special interest in the video game environment—specifically, how real-world data is used to produce instructive computer simulations. As an educator, he feels that a sense of humor, the ability to project a sense of approachability, and a genuine interest in his students’ learning have served him well. Terrasa Ulm, B.S., M.A., was instrumental in the design and evolution of the program, one of the nation’s first. Her concentration is in ‘serious game’ development, focusing on how interactive entertainment can improve both physical and mental development, benefiting society in ways untapped by the entertainment industry.



Tuesday, December 2
4:30-6 pm

Audience: Board Officers and Executive Directors.Targeted to organizations that are focused on building their fundraising capacity.
Location: GWCF, 370 Main Street, 6th Floor
Fee: $25 per organization team 
REGISTER HERE by Nov 21. You will receive a confirmation and an invoice.

This fast-paced, 90-minute workshop with peers explores Board members’ legendary reluctance to “go begging.” Find out how to get on the path to successful fundraising with concrete suggestions for opening the conversation, assuaging board member fears, and giving them confidence. You’ll leave the session with a self-identified strategy for taking your Board to the next level.

Presenters: Burke Keegan, author of Fundraising for Nonprofits (HarperCollins), has more than thirty years in fundraising. She focuses on Major Gifts and Board Development, and provides consulting and coaching in annual giving, grant writing, special event production, corporate solicitation, membership drives and planned giving. Her advice has appeared in the online nonprofit newsletter Blue Avocado.