Nonprofit Support Center

The Nonprofit Support Center was established by the Foundation in 1998 to promote a capable, forward thinking, and collaborative nonprofit sector in Worcester County. NSC offers trainings and resources that help board and staff members do their jobs well.

We focus on practical programs, believe in the power of peers learning together, and engage presenters of high quality. The results we seek are organizations that are well governed and managed and a strong network of nonprofits in our region.

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

Programs at a Glance

Please help us continue to offer programs at low cost. If your plans change after you register, and you cannot attend, notify us at least 48 hours in advance of the event. If you register and do not attend, we will bill you $20.

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

September - December 2015 Programs

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

A printable version of the 2015 September - December schedule is available here. 


This program is fully subscribed. If you would like to be placed on the wait list, please email

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

5:00 pm Optional Tour of the T&G

5:30-7 pm Refreshments & Panel discussion

Location: Telegram & Gazette, 100 Front Street, Worcester, 5th Floor
Audience: Nonprofit executive directors, development and PR staff, board members
Fee: None
Cancellation Policy: 48 hours in advance of the program or we will bill you $20.

Good storytelling and good writing are essential skills for nonprofit leaders. From communicating with constituents and donors to advocating on behalf of your organization, their value is more important than ever before. But you may wonder, “What goes into telling a really good story or mounting an advocacy campaign that gets your audience to sit up, take notice, and take action?

Join us at the Telegram & Gazette to hear from – and put a face to – the names you see every day:  Columnists Clive McFarlane and Dianne Williamson; Editorial Pages Editor Tony Simollardes; Interim Publisher Allen Parsons; Editor Karen Webber; Multimedia Advertising Sales Director Sue Burtchell; and others on the T&G staff.

You’ll leave with a very special perspective on the key elements of a good story, what feedback lets you know you’re having an impact, how social media expands your message, and the T&G’s vision as a community leader and the role nonprofits play in achieving its goals. Moderator: Mark Bilotta, Board President, MassEdCO; former CEO, Colleges of Worcester Consortium, and author of the recently released Paying for College: Before, During and After (2016 Edition). 

Note: To develop and strengthen your oral storytelling skills, don’t miss NSC’s Training on Nov 10: LEADING WITH STORY.



Corporate Sponsor

Thursday, October 29
9:00 am-12 noon
Presenter: Hilda Polanco, FMA

Bowditch & Dewey, 311 Main Street, Worcester
(Complimentary parking available in the B&D lot on Exchange Street)
Audience: Executive Directors and Board Officers; teams are strongly encouraged
Fee: $100 per 2-person team
To Register: Submit this
form by Oct. 13. You will receive an email confirmation and an invoice for the full cost of the session, due on or before the session date.
Cancellation policy: Because we incur costs and may be unable to fill your seats, refunds will not be made for cancellations received within one week of the session, and outstanding payment will be due in full. We appreciate your understanding.

Do you have an operating reserve or wish that you did? Have you wondered how to explain current reserves to your funders or engage them in an effort to develop one? Attend this session to discover the principles and mechanics of reserve funds – including how operating reserves fit into your organization’s overall capital structure – and how an effective strategy bolsters your organization’s long-term sustainability.

You will leave this session understanding how to:

  • Define and calculate operating reserves
  • Determine the right amount of operating reserves for your organization
  • Implement a strategy to gradually build up to a reserves goal
  • Develop a board-approved operating reserves policy
  • Manage operating reserves once the required amount is in place
  • Communicate the “story” behind your reserve strategy to funders and other stakeholders

Presenter Hilda Polanco, CPA, is founder and managing director of FMA, with offices in New York and San Francisco.  FMA’s services are designed to help nonprofit organizations—from start-ups to legacy agencies—build the fiscal muscle they need to more efficiently fulfill their missions.

A nationally recognized and sought after leader in the field, Hilda is on the selection committee of the New York Nonprofit Excellence Awards, established by the New York Times and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee; an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Department of Health Policy and Management; and on the faculty of the Donor’s Forum of Chicago. She provides direct capacity building, training, and coaching services to foundations and nonprofits throughout the country. Hilda is a National Advisory Board Member of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, and an active member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers. She will discuss operating reserves with local funders at a meeting of Worcester’s Foundation Forum while in Worcester.




Tuesday, November 10
9 am-12 noon

Presenter: Lani Peterson
Location: Greater Worcester Community Foundation, 370 Main Street, Worcester
Audience: Executive directors, development and PR staff, and board leaders
Fee: $35
To Register: Submit this form no later than October 23. You will receive an email confirmation and an invoice for the full cost of the session, due on or before the session date.
Cancellation policy: Because we incur costs and may be unable to fill your seat, refunds will not be made for cancellations received within one week of the session, and outstanding payment will be due in full. We appreciate your understanding.

Story can be a powerful change agent and catalyst. Understanding what it is, why it’s important, and how to use it intentionally are important leadership skills with multiple applications for nonprofit staff and board.

In this interactive workshop you will:

  • Discover the power of storytelling as a communication tool to engage and motivate, articulate challenges, and inspire others to support your vision.
  • Find out how storytelling can enhance your personal presence and influence.
  • Choose and develop your story.
  • Learn how to shift a “stuck”story into a strong one that moves you forward.
  • Practice techniques that maximize your story’s message and impact on your audience.

Trainer Lani Peterson is a psychologist, professional storyteller, public speaker, and coach. She works with a range of corporations and nonprofits, from Fortune 500 companies to hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. Lani brings participants to a profound understanding of what story is, why it is important, how to use it skillfully, as well as sharing where it is making an impact in companies and people’s lives across the country. Her clients have included University of Massachusetts Medical School, Public Voice at City Mission Society, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Eaton Corporation, Devon Corporation, and Citizen Schools, among others. She teaches Effective Organizational Communications Skills for Non Profit Leaders in the Master’s Program at Wheelock College.


Wednesday, November 18
12:00-1:30 pm
the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, 446 Main Street, 20th Floor, Worcester
Audience: Executive directors, senior managers, and those assessing their nonprofit career paths
Fee: None. Lunch provided.
To Register: Submit this
form no later than November 4. You will receive a confirmation.
Cancellation Policy: 48 hours in advance of the program or we will bill you $20.

What do nonprofit leaders need to succeed? A new report, Leadership New England: Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector, was released recently by Third Sector New England. It compiles findings from a survey of more than 1,200 New England leaders and discusses the challenges and opportunities currently facing them and their organizations. In this session you will learn more about the survey data, explore changes that leaders believe are essential, and discuss strategies that will contribute to healthy, resilient nonprofits over the next decade.

Presenter Hez Norton, director of Partnerships and Leadership Initiatives at TSNE, is co-author of Leadership New England. Previously she directed TSNE’s Executive Transition Program; served as executive director of Resource Generation, a national nonprofit that engages young adults with financial wealth in social change philanthropy; and was executive director of North Carolina Lambda Youth Network. Hez also led the youth involvement program in the North Carolina Governor’s Office and was a program officer for Learn and Serve America with the North Carolina Commission on National and Community Service. A Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow, Hez also received a fellowship from the Lyndhurst Foundation’s Southern Community Partners Program. She sits on the board of the National LGBTQ Task Force.