Friday, May 29, 2009

Firebirds to host Fundraise for Humane Society

May 28, 2009

ALBANY, NY - The Albany Firebirds of arenafootball2 announced today that the team will host a fundraiser for the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society during their June 26, 2009 home game at 7:00 p.m. against the Peoria Pirates at the Times Union Center.

The Humane Society will showcase some of their adoptable dogs in front of the Times Union Center during the pre-game block party at 5:30 p.m. and on the concourse throughout the evening. The adoption event will mark the third time Capital District Sports, Inc. has partnered with the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society to raise funds and awareness for the organization.

Tickets to the fundraising event can be purchased for $25 and include a pre-game meal; a portion of all proceeds will go to the Humane Society. For further details and to reserve your seats for this worthwhile cause, please contact Deidre Bruce of the Mohawk and Hudson River Human Society at 518- 434-5501 x206.

To get the fundraising efforts started, Firebirds Owner Walter Robb presented Brad Shear, Executive Director of the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society, with a check for $10,000 prior to the team's May 16th game against the Manchester Wolves.

"We are excited to continue this partnership with the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society and proud to be affiliated with such a worthwhile organization" said Capital District Sports, Inc.'s Vice President of Ticket Sales, Steven Beno, who has coordinated multiple adoption events with the Humane Society over the past two seasons.

The Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been providing shelter for lost, abused and unwanted animals since 1887. Their animal care facility is the largest in the Capital Region, receiving an average of over 7,000 animals per year. The Humane Society receives not just common household pets like cats, dogs, rabbits and hamsters, but also snakes, birds, iguanas, fish, horses, livestock and even llamas. To carry out their work, the Humane Society receives no ongoing funding from federal, state or local governments or any other animal welfare organization. They rely on your generous donations to support their vital services for the animals.

The Albany Firebirds return to the Times Union Center for a match-up against the Milwaukee Iron on Saturday, May 30th at 7:00 p.m. All games can be viewed at

Partial season ticket packages and single game tickets are now on sale, for more information please contact the Firebirds at (518) 487-2244 or online at

Friday, May 22, 2009

Albany's April Revenue Fell 44% From 2008

NYS Arts offered the following article by Jeremy W. Peters relating that less than two months into the state's fiscal year, revenue collections are about half of what they were last year, according to a report issued by the state comptroller on Tuesday.

The findings reinforced what seemed to be a foregone conclusion almost as soon as Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders agreed last month to the state's $131 billion budget: Lawmakers will need to return to Albany at some point this year to make further cuts.

The comptroller's report said the state collected $4.8 billion in revenue in April, compared with $8.6 billion collected in April 2008, a 44 percent decline.

Collections missed the revenue forecast the governor's office had issued just three weeks ago by nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. The comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said that while it was too soon to say for certain whether the budget would have to be reopened, the outlook was not encouraging.

"If you look at the most optimistic projections, which call for a rebound in the third or fourth quarter, it's going be a very tight budget picture," he said. "Until we start to see some upturn in overall economic activity, the expectation should be that revenues are going to continue to be off.

"The revenue numbers, which include income taxes the state collected around the April 15 deadline, reflect the toll the recession has taken on New Yorkers' personal finances. The state collected $2.9 billion in personal income taxes in April, a 49 percent decline from April 2008.The numbers do not reflect a vast majority of the new and increased taxes and fees approved in the budget that will finance state operations through next winter, a fact the governor's Division of the Budget pointed out on Tuesday. The state began assessing higher personal income taxes on the highest-earning New Yorkers at the beginning of May, and that revenue will not begin showing up on the balance sheets until late May or early June. All told, the new and higher taxes and fees are expected to bring in more than $5 billion a year.

A spokesman for the Budget Division, Jeffrey Gordon, said the state's finances were not as perilous as the comptroller's report suggested, in part because adjustments to spending had been made in anticipation of the drop in revenue.

"The state's finances are in line with the fiscal plan, since decreases in projected revenues were largely offset by decreases in spending," Mr. Gordon said.

The budget the Democratic-controlled Legislature enacted and Mr. Paterson signed was widely criticized by Republicans and independent budget analysts as bloated and heavily reliant on temporary sources of revenue at a time when, they asserted, the state should be exercising fiscal discipline. Spending for 2009-10 rose more than 9 percent over the previous year when several billion dollars in federal stimulus money are included.

With his poll numbers at historic lows, Mr. Paterson has tried to position himself anew as a fiscal conservative. He recently called for a plan that would set mandatory limits on state spending. That plan, however, does not appear to be gaining much traction in the Legislature.

Reacting to Mr. DiNapoli's report, Democrats said that it was still far too early to tell whether the impact of the federal stimulus legislation was having any effect on the state treasury's bottom line.

"I think it would be unfair to say that in April's numbers you can see the trend for the year," said Senator Liz Krueger, vice chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee. "The bad news, of course, is that we're down dramatically."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

First Meeting Announced! Getting it Together! The Nonprofit Community & Our Vital Role in Shaping Leaders, Building Businesses, & Changing Lives

You Are Invited...

June 19th, 2009
Location TBA, Latham NY
Cost $5 (for light breakfast)
8:30am - 10:00am

Getting it Together! The Nonprofit Community &
Our Vital Role in Shaping Leaders, Building Businesses, & Changing Lives

Click here to register!

The first official gathering of the "ED Peer Group" will provide an update on the state of the nonprofit sector on both on the local and national level. Doug Sauer, CEO of the New York Council of Nonprofits and Board President of the National Council of Nonprofits will share his insight on the role of nonprofits in the revitalization of our communities, including the role the new administration will play in connecting to and working in collaboration with our organizations.

We all know that strong nonprofit leadership will be critical to our success in getting federal, state and local funding for our region, getting increased involvement by donors, volunteers and board members, and changing many of the public misconceptions regarding the nonprofit sector and the impact we have on our communities.

To begin building a strong, supportive and informed network of executives, the ED Peer Group Steering Committee will share feedback from recent county meetings and results of an online survey to determine what types of programming, resources and access to expertise you might need in your important job of leading a nonprofit organization during these challenging and changing times. The group will also be taking part in a skill assessment and begin discussions about a "mentoring" program pairing executive directors together for one-on-one peer support.

To RSVP for the meeting please click here.

To join the ED Peer Group online, please click here to become a member of our group on Izoca, a social networking site based out the Capital Region!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Social media is new pulpit for preachers

The Times Union featured the following story about NY Council of Nonprofit's very own, Valerie Venezia and a specialized training about social media she presented to local churches.

The article relates: When Pastor Dan Rushing hits the streets of Albany to do ministry work, church members can track his movements from their home computers.

Rushing spreads the word of Jesus and his church, New Beginnings Fellowship, then types the details of his evangelism into his Blackberry and sends his GPS location to his Web site. He's mixing his preaching with social media — Web sites where users create and control content — to connect to existing and potential church members.

"Social media allows you to connect to people that you normally wouldn't be able to connect with," Rushing said. "There are a lot of people out there that the only way you're going to connect with them is these tools."

New Beginnings has a Web site where sermons are broadcast, a Facebook group page, a Twitter page and a MySpace page.

More churches are starting to use the Web sites to connect to their members in more ways, said Valerie Venezia, of the New York Council of Non-Profits, which has helped organizations enter the digital realm. Today she will be leading a workshop at the Capital Region Theological Center to help churches get started with social media.

Venezia will show church leaders and representatives from the Capital Region the building blocks for increasing their online presence. Participants will learn to use social networks, blogs and how to post videos or audio podcasts of sermons.

Venezia said organizations sometimes don't understand how the services would be of use to them.

"People will ask me 'Why does anyone care if I'm eating a ham sandwich?'" said Venezia of Twitter, a service where users post short 140-character messages to answer the question, "What are you doing?" "Well that's not what it's really about. It could be about crystallizing a thought about a sermon and sharing that with others."

Faye Bailey, church moderator at Emmanuel-Friedens Church in Schenectady is going to the workshop to see what services they can use. The church recently got its own domain name after being on a Times Union community page for years, and Bailey is looking for ways to let members connect outside the church and get more information.

But some members aren't too eager make it onto the Web.

Emmanuel-Friedens is divided into two groups, she said: An older legacy crowd and a much younger crowd that recently joined. When the new Web site went up, the older members voted against posting the newsletter, as they didn't want their full names posted for everyone to see, Bailey said.

So Bailey hopes to see what other churches have done and learn what measures can be taken to ensure privacy.

"Different people have different sensitivity levels with the Web," Bailey said. "So we have to be careful with that, yet, move forward. And younger people connect this way so we have to find a way."

With so many avenues for ministry, it's important to just keep focus, said Rushing, a self-proclaimed techie pastor.

"I think it's important not to replace what we have," said Rushing, asserting in-person preaching is still important.. "We have to be careful that the medium isn't the only message. That we're not seeing social media as the way they worship. We use social media just as the tool to get the message out."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New grant fund to focus on Upstate

The Central NY Business Journal reported on the state's announcement today about $120 million in available grants to finance business investment, infrastructure upgrades, and downtown redevelopment projects in upstate New York.

The new Upstate Regional Blueprint Fund grants will help stimulate growth throughout the region, help attract companies, improve commerce, and revitalize local economies, according to the state. Empire State Development will administer the grants.

"The road to fiscal recovery must focus on spending our resources wisely and making investments that advance businesses, improve our infrastructure, and turn blighted areas into inviting town centers," Gov. David Paterson said in a news release. "This fund will help to create the opportunities that create jobs and keep our entrepreneurs, workers, and families in New York."

Eligible grant applicants include municipalities, businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofits. Awards will range from $100,000 to $5 million. The program will give a preference to requests for loans, with principal repayments able to be recycled for future projects.

ESD regional office directors will review all applications. The first round of applications is due June 15 and awards will be announced Aug. 17. More information is available at

Capital Region Nonprofit Execs – A Group for You!

How can we help you in your role as a nonprofit executive director in our region?

Led by the tireless efforts of Mary Seeley, Executive Director of Equinox and the regional Steering Committee, we are proud to announce the formation of the Executive Director Peer Network of the Capital Region.

The "ED Peer Network" would like to invite all nonprofit executive directors in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties to share their thoughts on how a group like this one can be of most value to them and their nonprofit organization.

As you may be aware, the New York Council of Nonprofits currently supports six executive director networks across New York State. The current regional groups provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and an on-going support system for those in the unique position of being a nonprofit Executive Director.

Please take five minutes to complete this short online survey that will help guide us in the planning and scheduling of our upcoming meetings.

If you have any questions about the NYNED Network or the future of an executive director group in the Capital Region, please contact the NYCON staff coordinator, Valerie Venezia, at (800) 515-5012 ext. 121 or via email her at

Thank You,

The Steering Committee of the
Executive Director Peer Network of the Capital Region

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Albany Workshop: Nonprofits Saving Money & the Environment

“What Can Nonprofit Groups and Small Businesses Do To Save Money, Energy and the Environment?”

Friday, May 8th, 9am to 10:30am
255 Orange Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room

Learn from a panel of experts about “green” opportunities and tools available for nonprofits and small businesses:
  • Mark DeChiro, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA
  • Sue Montgomery-Corey, Community Power Network
  • Betsy Wyman, Sundog Solar

A light breakfast will be available.

Please RSVP by calling 436-8586, or emailing

Bob Radliff
Capital District Community Loan Fund, Inc.
255 Orange Street, Albany, NY 12210
phone: 518-436-8586 fax: 518-689-0086
financing community development throughout the region since 1985 with capital provided by socially concerned donors and investors

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Association of the Blind plant working ‘flat-out’

The Albany Business Review reported on the Northeastern Association of the Blind and their growing demand for products made at their factory. The nonprofit has been hiring new employees to help meet the demand. In an economy where nonprofits are slashing programs and staff, NABA faces an enviable dilemma: It’s running out of space.

“We’re flat-out busy. It’s a good problem to have,” said Christopher Burke, NABA’s CEO and executive director.

Manufacturing revenue rose 40 percent in the first six months of the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Burke budgeted for revenue of $3.6 million, but expects to finish with sales of $4 million, up 28 percent from last year’s $2.9 million. One new product is moving so well that NABA plans to hire six to 10 more blind workers this summer.

Until 18 months ago, the 100,000 orange and yellow mesh vests NABA makes for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York city, state Department of Transportation, state police and other government agencies represented almost all of the nonprofit’s manufacturing income.

In February 2008, NABA expanded its product line. It started partnering with MPE Inc. in Indiana, a uniform manufacturer, to recycle more than 100,000 Tyvek laboratory cleanroom suits a year. NABA customizes the recycled coveralls for Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia and the Long Island Railroad. Their employees wear the suits to paint and clean ships and railroad cars.
Also last year, NABA forged a partnership with Standard Mfg. Co. in Troy, an 85-year-old business that makes uniforms and clothing for 15,000 government agencies, military branches and private companies. The family-owned company employs 75 to 80 people.

For the first time since it opened in 1958, NABA’s factory is making money. Its 3 percent profit margin this year will equate to between $108,000 to $120,000 for programs that aid the 400 blind adults who use the nonprofit’s services.

But more importantly, Burke says, are the jobs the factory provides for blind people who otherwise would be chronically unemployed, on permanent disability and supported with taxpayer dollars. Only 30 percent of blind people of working age are employed, according to the American Foundation for the Blind in New York City. Read more here.