And just like that, the first six months of 2014 are gone. We’re left wondering – where did the time go? How did we get from there to here?
The second half of 2014 seems like an opportune time to provide a snapshot of what we’ve been up to here at Nurture.
As founder and executive director of a start-up nonprofit, I often find myself feeling like the mother of a baby who is moving from crawling to walking and picking up speed with every step. The work is exhilarating and exhausting; the tasks daunting. Sometimes you wonder how you’ll ever make it through. And then there are moments of grace when everything seems to fall into place, and you realize you’re having the time of your life working with talented, passionate people toward the common goal of improving the health and wellbeing of the incoming generation. Those are the moments that keep us going.
Last year was an awakening for Nurture – both internally and externally, as we began to introduce our organization and our dream for a dedicated maternity resource center to the RVA community. Our gratitude runs deep at the response we received.
The 2014 – 2015 cycle is all about outreach and connection. With spring, fresh energy and new people arrived, ready to help us move forward:
- In March and April, we worked with Randolph Macon College students participating in a first year course entitled Unhealthy Globe: People, Disease, and Policy. The six-student team filmed our classes and interviewed several of our students as they explored maternal/infant health and the local environment in which families give birth. The result was a short documentary you can view here.
- To ensure that our marketing images reflect our activities and the wonderful diversity of families that comprise our Richmond community, Marketing Committee members Beth Furgurson and Tasha Tolliver held two photo shoots in
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late May – one of a Sunset Prenatal Yoga class we held at the VMFA, and the second of four Richmond families at Libbie Hill Park. You’ll be seeing more of their work in future blog posts. Work also began on our case statement, and we are beginning to craft our fundraising systems and strategies.
- Also in May, we welcomed our first student intern, Mary Cait Nannery, a third-year MBA student at the University of Mary Washington. Mary Cait is hard at work helping us develop the financial systems and procedures necessary to take us to our next stage of growth.
- Our Program Committee worked hard to flesh out our second annual professional development program, From Trauma to Triumph: Recognizing the Impact of Childbirth Trauma on Women and Care Providers. Scheduled for October 17, registration for this event opens today.
- In June, our board and volunteer staff committed to participating in the Standards for Nonprofit Excellence early adopter program offered by the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence. We figure that if we’re going to start a nonprofit, we might as well get the guidance we need to implement best practices from the get-go. For the next six weeks, we will attend seminars with other nonprofits of varying sizes and missions to explore how to incorporate best practices in the areas of Board, Staff, and Volunteers; Legal Compliance and Ethics; Resource Development; Finance and Operations; Public Awareness, Engagement, and Advocacy; and Mission, Strategy, and Evaluation.
This summer and fall Nurture is working to raise community awareness of the importance of breastfeeding in partnership with the Richmond Health Action Alliance, a Healthy Communities Action Team (HCAT) funded by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. Partner organizations include Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, William Byrd Community House, and Healthy Heart Plus 2.
Look for us at the Let’s Talk Breastfeeding: First Foods and Next Foods events at the Byrd House Market, and at RVA Latches On! at the Virginia State Capitol on August 2.
Going forward we’re focused on strengthening our foundation, getting our systems in order, increasing and organizing our volunteer base, and
building connections in the community. Taking baby steps and picking up speed as we move toward becoming a full-fledged, grown-up nonprofit.
Thank you so much for your support.
~ Leslie Lytle
Founder and Executive Director
(PS: We heard you! The Sunset Prenatal Yoga will return in the fall – when temperatures and the threat of thunderstorms abate).