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‘Together we’re better’: Building a Candid partnership in Northern California’s Tri-Valley area

An outside shot of Las Positas College

At the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area lies the Tri-Valley, composed of the San Ramon, Livermore, and Amador valleys, and home to Las Positas College. Las Positas College has been a partner of Candid’s Funding Information Network since 2009, providing area nonprofits with access to Foundation Directory and other Candid resources.

Earlier this year, Las Positas College became a Training network partner with Candid, due to a unique partnership that was formed with two other entities, the brainchild of a trio of women determined to help nonprofits in their community build capacity and thrive.

The Career Technical Education Project Manager of Las Positas College, Vicki Shipman, had worked with the Livermore-based Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance (TVNPA) for a few years, in an effort to get the word out about Candid resources and the library’s fundraising research workshops. President and Co-Founder of TVNPA, Kathy Young, said, “Because we know that Las Positas hosted the workshops on the Foundation Directory and that has been such a valuable resource for our community, we made a point to make sure our local nonprofits were aware of the trainings.”

TVNPA was formed in 2014 to help these solo practitioners share best practices. Its motto is “Together we’re better,” and they host monthly meetings with expert presenters on various topics, including fundraising and strategic planning, as well as an annual funders panel.

Just before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, TVNPA signed an agreement with Las Positas College to launch a nonprofit management certificate. However, when the pandemic hit, Vicki had more pressing matters to attend to—like facilitating remote learning for students—and the certificate idea was tabled.

Instead, in fall of 2020, the first virtual Philanthropy Institute cohort—a six-week-long program of free training classes on fundraising basics—launched and attracted 25 nonprofit professionals. It was led by Susan Houghton, a founding board member of TVNPA and Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE). As Houghton noted, the Tri-Valley area has “a lot of nonprofits making a huge impact,” but many of them are small shops. The six-week program was very successful, setting the stage for Las Positas College to become a Training partner with Candid’s Funding Information Network.

In August 2021, Las Positas College, TVNPA, and the newly formed Three Valleys Community Foundation (3VCF), came together to offer Candid classes to the community. Susan, who serves on the board of 3VCF, noted that curriculum development takes a lot of time and people—both of which are often in short supply. And that’s where Candid’s Train-the-Trainer program came into the picture. It is helpful, she said, to have Candid provide “thoughtful, appropriate, and significant curriculum that we can adapt and tweak for local needs.” In addition, “some people are intimidated by academia. Our job is to make classes and resources such as these accessible, approachable, and easy to use.”

The idea to join forces in the Tri-Valley area came about because each party brought something valuable to the table. Las Positas College had the physical space required to allow people to access Candid’s fundraising applications; TVNPA had the pulse on the nonprofit community; and together with 3VCF, they had two highly-experienced trainers in Susan and Kathy, as well as connections to numerous others. All three organizations are dedicated to promoting the ability for nonprofits to get the training they need to do good.

Beyond the six introductory classes provided by Candid’s Funding Information Network program, the partnership—now officially branded the Philanthropy Institute will most likely offer additional training, focusing their efforts on providing mid-level and senior classes geared to helping nonprofits understand the needs and desires of donors.

“I see this as a way to expand our already successful relationship while adding services to our local nonprofit agencies,” says Vicki. Las Positas College’s partnership with Candid was initially sponsored via the Las Positas College Foundation. Moving forward, Las Positas College’s Office of Career Technical Education will provide funding through various workforce development resources.

The Philanthropy Institute is what makes Candid’s Funding Information Network program so special. The Tri-Valley program enables Candid’s resources to reach thousands of people and nonprofits in communities across the country and around the world. It consists of hundreds of organizations, like Philanthropy Institute, that host Candid databases and training support, available at no cost to their local communities.

Learn more about Candid’s Funding Information Network and the benefits of joining the global network of libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers providing database access and support to local nonprofits.


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