1000 Feathers

Taking the Non Out of Nonprofit

We are thrilled to partner with Venture Carolina and VentureSouth to bring a first-of-its-kind seminar to Columbia, SC on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Taking the Non Out of Nonprofit will bring together leaders from the nonprofit community alongside individual investors to discuss the importance of nonprofits operating more like businesses and less like charities. At the same time, we are excited that this will give us an opportunity to spotlight the amazing work currently being done by nonprofits across the state! 

The lineup of speakers and participants is nothing short of amazing. Check out the line-up and then register today because the early bird saves money. From now until August 9, registrants will enjoy a $30 discount. And while there is a lot of buzz around this event, space is limited, so we encourage those who are interested to register early!

Finally, what's really exciting about this event is the Innovation Challenge. Nonprofits from across the Southeast have the opportunity to have their good ideas not only heard, but funded. During the seminar on Sept. 13, Venture Carolina will give one lucky winner $5,000 to help bring a profitable idea to life.

Ready. Set. Register!

Save the Date: 9.13.17

This September, we are partnering with Venture Carolina and VentureSouth to bring a unique, one-day seminar to Columbia, SC. Taking the Non Out of Nonprofit will bring together nonprofit executives, development directors and board members with industry leaders from across the state to help our social service community think less like a charity and more like a business. 

"Our hope is to help bridge the divide between nonprofits and entrepreneurship," said Charlie Banks, managing partner of VentureSouth. 

Registration will open in June along with the Innovation Challenge, where a select group of nonprofits will have the opportunity to present their profitable ideas to a panel of investors and funders, modeled after the popular show Shark Tank®. The pool of candidates will be culled down to three who will present during the conference on September 13. The winning proposal will receive a $5,000 award to fund the development and expansion of their effort.

For more information, visit www.VentureCarolina.org.  

South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan Released

In May, we were honored to stand alongside the South Carolina Office of Rural Health and the South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan Task Force to unveil the initial recommendations of the Rural Health Action Plan for our state. It was a pleasure and a privilege to lead this group of 50+ individuals over the past eight months.

Throughout the course of our eight meetings, the Task Force culled through a number of issues and concerns, heard from content experts, gathered feedback from community members, and were presented supporting literature and data. Ultimately, the group landed on five key areas of focus necessary to improve the health of rural communities in South Carolina: Access to Health Care; Community Assets, Leadership & Engagement; Economic Development; Education; and Housing.

The full report will be released on November 16 as part of National Rural Health Day, but be sure to review the initial recommendations and send us your feedback.

http://scorh.net/south-carolina-rural-health-action-plan/

Look for the Helpers

We are barely three weeks into 2017 and what a year it has been already. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when Heather and I launched our consulting firm late in 2016, but it has, so far, been a journey like no other I’ve ever been on.

In a short time, our work has taken us across South Carolina and across the country.

  • On one of our projects, we’ve spent time reading, listening to residents, asking questions of the experts, and trying to better understand the challenges and barriers that exist to health and well-being in rural South Carolina. The challenges are real, significant, and deep-rooted.
  • Our team is back and forth weekly to Charlotte, NC working with a group of funders and philanthropists to develop a system of change that presents greater opportunity for the citizens of Mecklenburg County. Certainly not rural America, but the metro has its own challenges.
  • We are preparing to lead a board/staff retreat next week for a statewide nonprofit who is poised and ready to tackle the significant challenge of affordable, reliable housing in South Carolina.
  • Our travels have also taken us to Waco, TX, Tulsa, OK, and Washington, DC. All unique communities with their own challenges centered around race, poverty, and access to health, education, and financial resources.

What’s striking to me is that despite differences in size, region of the country, and demographics, the challenges in these communities are all very similar. From rural South Carolina, to metro-Charlotte, to the “heart of Texas;” all different communities with familiar challenges.

What’s even more striking is the massive number of helpers we have come into contact with. Without exception, one of the first things I notice when visiting a new community is that the helpers are already in place! So many kind and caring souls giving their all, dedicating financial resources and human capital to the causes that matter.

It was Mr. Rogers who reminded us that “when (you) see scary things… look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Indeed.

Having recently celebrated a “day of service” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s fitting to point out how many helpers there are among us. It’s also not lost on me that we are mere hours away from the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. To be sure, with so much uncertainty in front of us, those helpers will be more important than ever. So, my message to you today and in the days ahead is two-fold:

If you need help, whatever that means to you, please don’t be ashamed to reach out. If you are a helper, please don’t be afraid to stand up and make yourself available! 

President Forrest Alton Appears on the Giving Connection

Our President Forrest Alton recently sat down with the Waco Foundation in Waco, Texas to give expert commentary on teen pregnancy prevention efforts across the country, specifically what he helped to accomplish in South Carolina through his role as CEO of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The full broadcast can be found below.

1000 Feathers Launches to Bridge Divide Between Strategy and Vision

With challenges mounting for those in the social service sector and pressure to perform at an all-time high, Forrest Alton and Heather Brandt have launched a new consulting firm, 1000 Feathers, to combat these challenges and assist nonprofits and social service organizations, thus bridging the divide between vision and strategy and leading to meaningful results and community change.

After spending the last 10 years serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Forrest Alton stepped down earlier this year to focus his energy on launching this new firm. In partnership with his wife, Heather Brandt, Alton has formed a team that understands the importance of strategic thinking, planning and performance, and collectively brings more than 40 years of combined experience in communities – working directly with foundations, nonprofits and government agencies.

"Our main value is to always remain client-centered, to present an approach to problem solving that results in our team working with our clients, not for them,” said Alton, who is serving as the President of the new firm. “Collectively our team has learned a lot about what it takes to create measurable change in communities. Most importantly, we have learned that there’s a big disconnect between the needs of communities, the vision of philanthropists, and the organizational strategies in the social service sector.”

In addition to bringing the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors closer together, 1000 Feathers also seeks to provide aggressive leadership development to help prepare organizations to better handle a changing landscape.

“Projecting out over the next several years, we are beginning to realize the combined impact of retiring baby boomers, changing approaches to funding and philanthropy, and a more crowded than ever nonprofit sector. There’s a need to create a space for more strategic thinking, bigger and bolder visions, and data-driven decision making,” said Brandt. While Brandt will maintain her current positions within the University of South Carolina, she will also serve as the company’s owner and will contribute to all major research projects.

The work of 1000 Feathers is based on the premise that a strong vision combined with thoughtful strategy is the only path to measurable results and real community change. But, what Brandt and Alton have uncovered through their professional careers and service on multiple state and national boards, is that there are a lot of moving parts to the “strategy + vision = results” formula, and often organizations and communities never get to the end results they desire. To create a meaningful experience for their future clients, 1000 Feathers will offer services focused on four key areas: executive consultation and leadership training; strategic thinking and planning; market engagement and communications; and research development and organization expansion.