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Conversations for Change

As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthening the capacity of local nonprofits and building strong relationships, Foundation for Roanoke Valley is offering "Conversations for Change." This is a periodic series of free, one-hour conversations with Foundation staff and others on a topic of practical relevance to the day-to-day administration of nonprofits serving the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Roanoke.

Upcoming Conversations:

Strategic Planning - How, When, And Why To Do It

Date: Monday, June 13, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Roanoke Higher Education Center– Room 212
Cost: $30 (includes a light breakfast and lunch)
Guest Speaker: Sarah Milston, The Spark Mill

This hand-on workshop is designed to give participants a basic understanding of strategic planning and its importance in the health of the organization. It will also cover:

  • Roles and Responsibilities - What is the Board's role? What is the staff's role?
  • Nuts and Bolts - What are the typical parts of strategic planning?
  • After the Plan - What should an organization do to keep the plan alive?
  • Answers to common questions - Should we use a consultant? How much should we pay?

Sarah Milston is the founder of The Spark Mill, a Virginia firm specializing in strategy and implementation work for nonprofits and small businesses. Sarah spent 10 years working with nonprofits in fundraising, marketing, and board development and then transitioned these skills to consulting in order to build a varied and diverse practice motivated by the belief that nonprofits can and do save the world. Whether a guide, instigator, or knowledge base, Sarah is passionate about connecting the dots and giving people the right plan and tools to make stuff happen. Committed to the nonprofit sector, Sarah earned her Masters in Public Administration from VCU and her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential from CFRE International. Sarah is an instructor for Nonprofit Learning Point (Richmond), Academy for Nonprofit Excellence (Tidewater) and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (Charlottesville). In addition, she speaks at statewide and regional conferences on topics ranging from strategic planning, fundraising, social media, marketing, and board development.

Register Now

Class size is limited to 16 registrants.


Past Conversations:


Grant Search and Strategy Techniques
Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Roanoke City Public Library – The Virginia Room, 706 S Jefferson St, Roanoke, VA 24016
Cost: FREE
Guest Speaker: Jacki Rearick, The RLI Group

This is a workshop on search mechanisms for finding federal, state, and foundation grant assistance. Most beginning grant seekers do not really know all of the resources that are out there to search for grants, including, the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance, the Foundation Center and many others. This will be discussed in detail along with information on which search mechanisms are the most useful and how to create plans for short-term and long range grant funding agendas. Participants will have an opportunity to identify and implement action steps towards a grant funding strategy.

Jacqueline Rearick began her work in grants with The RLI Group specializing in the design, implementation and development of grant evaluations to monitor and meet Department of Education reporting requirements. As a Grant Evaluator, Jacqueline has experience collecting and analyzing data, and providing reports to determine the impact of project performance. The RLI Group client list includes over a dozen school districts in central Pennsylvania.

During this time Jacqueline also served as a Grants Specialist with Virginia Western Community College (VWCC), where she helped to secure almost $3 million in funding including grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Google Foundation and the American Library Association. While at VWCC she also assisted with regulatory grant compliance by regularly monitoring numerous grant programs to ensure alignment with federal, state, and private grant or contract regulations.

Now, Jacqueline is focused on grant writing, management and evaluation as a managing Partner with The RLI Group. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University and a Master of Science in Leisure Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. With the support of VWCC, she created the Roanoke Grants Professionals group and is the Vice-President of the Blue Ridge Grants Professionals Association.

Class size is limited to 16 registrants. Registration is now closed.


How to Prepare for an Audit
Date: Thursday, April 7, 2016
Time: 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Location: Foundation for Roanoke Valley Conference Room, 611 S. Jefferson St., 2nd Floor, Roanoke, VA 24011
Cost: FREE
Guest Speaker: Beth Kelley, Accounting Director

Please join Beth Kelley, the Foundation's Accounting Director, to learn practical tips for making your audit preparation easier and faster!

Prior to Beth joining the Foundation, she worked in public accounting for over a decade, and worked on audits for public and private companies, universities and not-for-profits of all sizes.

This conversation is geared toward executive directors, upper management, and accounting staff.

Class size is limited to 22. Registration is closed at this time.