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Encore Louisville convenes experienced leaders who have spent decades of their careers in leadership roles and want to give back to the community as they transition out of the workforce. Participants form teams and provide pro-bono consulting services to a wide variety of nonprofits in the region. The impact of this work has benefitted over 120 nonprofit organizations, which receive strategic guidance and support in furthering their missions.

Key Accomplishments of Past Encore Louisville Classes

Collaborative for Teaching and Learning

This small, 30-year-old educational service provider is firmly established in its classroom programming and its development of curriculum materials, with a dedicated and highly experienced program delivery staff. However, the organization recognized its need for practical advice on how to expand its customer base (consisting of individual schools and school systems) and requested a Community Acceleration Team to help them achieve this goal.

Through lengthy conversations with key staff, this Encore team were able to offer very specific suggestions for how the organization could make its services available to more schools. Some of their suggestions had already been considered by the organization but not acted yet. Other suggestions seemed new to the organization and were received with genuine interest.

The deliverables to this organization were advice in five areas of concern:

1. Enhancement of program delivery methods to include virtual and online components.
2. Uncoupling of curriculum materials from in-person program delivery.
3. Revision of presentation (i.e., marketing) materials to include actual classroom implementation and program efficacy assessments.
4. Much greater involvement in professional education organizations and governments agencies and forums, especially at the state level.
5. Enhancement of Board with individuals more actively engaged in growing the organization


Commonwealth Theatre Center

This Encore team had many discussions with Commonwealth Theatre Center (CTC) and numerous in-person meetings with their leadership. They toured their facility, reviewed previous completed work, went to a show to view their work and impact, and had attendance at a Board Meeting. The team advised on their brand, marketing, and financial position. The team was able to share useful external resources and is continuing to work with CTC to support fundraising initiatives. 


Conrad-Caldwell House

This Encore team focused their efforts on helping the organization to work towards better defining their mission and strengthening its Board. In their assessment of the organization – reviewing their financials, marketing information, touring the museum, investigating the competitive landscape, attending a Board meeting – and from interviews with the executive director and the Board, they determined that this approach would best serve the museum and allow them to make the most long-term improvements.

The team worked together to complete a Board focused SWOT analysis, lead a successful mission statement development workshop, and created a list of potential actions that CCHM could take to develop a stronger Board. They also created an action plan for recruiting new Board members
and developed a handout illustrating how to use the Mission Statement to drive the organization’s actions. For the museum side of things, the team developed a worksheet to help CCHM staff and Board identify and utilize their key connections to generate support of the museum and prepared a competitive overview focusing on regional historic homes or museums.


St. John’s Center

The Encore team reviewed St. John Center’s (SJC) draft strategic plan which includes expanding their operations by adding Sheehan Landing, Louisville’s largest permanent supportive housing facility. They helped St. John Center expand their outreach/communications plan to support expanded fundraising. Additionally, they provided counsel for board recruitment and development to assist them in getting the expertise they need to ensure a successful mission expansion.

One of the major sessions the Encore team facilitated was a “white board” session to assist SJC in creating a comprehensive marketing/communications plan for Sheehan Landing. The emphasis was on highlighting what makes SJC unique, identifying existing donors who can give more, and identifying new corporate donor prospects who are vocal about homelessness. The outcome was a message SJC can use to try and get more support from the business community. They are the largest provider of permanent housing for the homeless in our city. They have a long history of success and high standards. SJC focuses on those that are hardest to house and, as a result, they help create a stronger, healthier and safer community.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Inc.

This Encore team helped Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Inc. by offering recommendations on how to accommodate growth into a second state, and later on to further states, without losing control over its identity, vision and intellectual property.

The team left them with a report that suggested several different pathways for addressing board issues and dealing with the pains of growth they were experiencing, and they counselled with them on board development and growth issues. They also provided input on the need for changes to their strategic planning process to move more toward goals as opposed to being almost wholly tactical. The team strongly suggested that the organization formally register their intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks, in particular) upon employing competent legal counsel.

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Circuit Clerks’ Trust for Life

The Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life’s mission is to educate Kentuckians about organ donation, grow the organ donation registry, and provide grants to transplant recipients in financial crisis. As the state process for issuing drivers licenses changed, it needed to reimagine its board structure and funding mechanisms.

The Encore team worked closely with the Executive Director to develop recommendations which included program funding, board growth and development, updating bylaws, and strategic planning for long term growth. They provided a six page memorandum of observations and recommendations and reviewed the document with the Executive Director.

Value: $10,000 Hours: 100


Central Louisville Community Ministries

Central Louisville Community Ministries requested that the Encore team help CLCM with a strategic planning process so that the strategic plan aligns better with CLCM’s mission; help CLCM address their Board’s make-up and responsibilities and to consider possible related and needed by-law changes; and to help CLCM address a possible mission evolution from meeting individuals’ immediate needs to addressing root cause issues. As a result of the work, the team was able to: recommend possible new vision and mission statement; suggest next steps related to board development and by-laws revision; propose possible partnerships, and recommend strategies for raising CLCM’s visibility.

Our Encore team provided a very comprehensive report based on conversations with the CLCM Director; Listening sessions with staff, volunteers, and board members; interviews with other community groups; attendance at a monthly board meeting; and a SWOT workshop. They shared a PDF-formatted PowerPoint report to the CLCM Director to be used as a basis for board discussion, deliberation, and decision-making.

Value: $37,000 Hours: 296


Kentucky Psychological Foundation

Kentucky Psychological Foundation asked the Encore team to help develop a strategy to grow board membership, activities and the identification of external sources of revenue. It became apparent after the second meeting that because of the structure of the group that they needed to better define their mission and vision and that strategic planning was a first priority in order to accomplish the first two which would lead to the possibility of increased fundraising activity.

The leaders at KPF engaged in the process and were receptive to comments, suggestions and direction. The team helped direct their thinking on key organizational issues, most notably the need for strategic planning. They are about to embark on this process to better define their mission and vision, which will lead them to the success they envision.

Value: $2,500 Hours: 15


Play Cousins Collective

Play Cousins Collective was assisted to help organize and development a more sustainable programming model. In addition, the Encore team assisted with an in-depth look into their budgeting and finance procedures and how this correlated with their strategic plan.

The team was able to help them understand their financial status and create and evaluation of programs. They will need to make tough decisions going forward, but are now better equipped to make those decisions.

Value: $99,000 Hours: 95


Seven Counties Services

Seven Counties Services originally asked for help designing and implementing a perception study to help them determine how SCS is perceived as an employer, identify any obstacles in attracting new job candidates, and provide guidance on how to become an employer of choice. After initial discussions and review of SCS existing data, the Encore Team agreed to table the perception study for now, and instead focus efforts on the broader strategic questions of how to enhance employee attraction and retention, both short and long term.

The Encore team provided thinking and strategies around 7 overall recommendations:
1) More fully integrate the organization
2) Raise brand awareness and strengthen brand image
3) Creatively address compensation challenge
4) Revisit segments and strategies by job category
5) Hone attraction strategies
6) Invigorate retention strategies
7) Fully leverage data/tools

Value: $26,000 Hours: 208


Reviving Urban Neighborhoods

The Encore team met with Brandon Hill, Reviving Urban Neighborhoods Executive Director both on zoom and in-person. Brandon had two primary objectives: Help increase the number of people on their board of directors, as well as navigate their benefits and to market and diversify their donor base.

The team started by focusing on helping to create a strong vision and mission statement, while sharing techniques of how to produce and tell their story. They also met with a few members of their board of directors and found them to be engaged, invested and open to any ideas that would help accelerate their success. They were facing a few funding issues, and needed ideas on how to build success measurables and the importance of documenting results. The team shared that funders want to see if results match the mission. If it can’t be measured, it’s very difficult to manage.

When the project started, they were in the middle of initiating their summer programs and are now in a position to start to take advantage of our recommendations. One of their goals is to use athletics to help find employment opportunities. The Encore team suggested that they invite potential employers, trade school and colleges representatives to all their scheduled events. The difference between success and failure many times is lack of exposer.
We felt it’s important for them to diversify their BOD based on need. They recently completed a three year plan that we’ve agreed to help evaluate.

Value: $20,000 Hours: 50


Steam Exchange Community Arts Center

The Encore team’s engagement with Steam Exchange Community Arts Center (STEAM) included emails to set up all meetings, face-to-face meetings at their location, attending their board meeting as well as several Zoom meetings with the nonprofit. It was clear to the team that the nonprofit was at a turning point in its desire to move to a higher level of commitment to its work and to the community. The Encore team members contacted local community organizations and institutions that they believed would help the nonprofit address its issues and achieve its goals.

The nonprofit identified three inter-related major issues. The first was to have assistance in board development, the second was to help them with marketing and branding and the third was to help them find ways to diversity the staff, board, and those they serve. The team was able to help them by providing information about what is required for an effective board. They also help them by proposing specific training to develop an effective board. They helped them recognize that an effective board would attract diverse board members. Having an interim board president was also critical to attracting new board members. Utilizing the resources in the local community such as local college institutions, community organizations, and Louisville metro government contacts would help address their marketing and branding needs.

Value: $12,000 Hours: 80

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Adelante Hispanic Achievers

Adelante Hispanic Achievers’ initial ask was for an updated Policies and Procedures Manual (which we drafted), we also were able to work with them on issues of Board governance, program and financial oversight, and increased transparency.

In addition to a draft Policies and Procedures Manual, which will need further customization to Adelante’s needs, we shared documents from Board Source on Board governance and reading financial statements.


Cycle Breakers Breaking Chains, Inc.

Cycle Breakers Breaking Chains, Inc. is a new organization. Their ask was “To have Cycle Breakers name broadcast within the community, to be in a building, to hire staff to have the organization up and running, and most importantly to expand the Board of Directors”.

The team’s focus was on setting priorities for the organization and making introductions to key leaders who have similar missions within the community.

Project accomplishments were:

  • Held a priority setting workshop to identify and sequence activities for the CEO
  • Developed an elevator speech for the CEO
  • Created an agenda template for the CEO to use when meeting with contacts in the city; also provided “preparation steps” for the CEO prior to each meeting
  • Made introductions with key contacts within this space for the CEO; set up multiple meetings as well
  • Connected CEO with CNPE; and secured a free one-year membership to CNPE
  • Identified multiple resources for further investigation by the CEO
  • Created a summary document with all meeting notes and resources as a “leave-behind” for the CEO
  • Delivered project recommendations and summary to the CEO


DELTA Foundation

DELTA  Foundation, based in the Portland neighborhood, offers reading and literacy tutoring and basketball skill training to young men ages 8 to 15, mainly from the West End of Louisville. Founder Wes Hinton has created a dynamic program that has drawn numerous participants, volunteers, and donors. Wes reached out to Encore knowing that he needed more structure and organization to continue the growth of DELTA. Our Encore team was able to help create a roadmap to guide the ongoing development of DELTA. We helped Wes refine his bylaws to better fit the organization. We also helped him with his budgeting and financial reporting process. And we showed him the type of board members he needs to succeed.

Although very successful thus far, Wes realizes DELTA has been a seat-of-the-pants operation since its beginning. The board is made up mainly of friends Wes made during his coaching career. Although they are passionate about DELTA’s mission, they lack many essential skills for directing a non-profit. The team provided job descriptions for board members and suggested the board create Governance, Finance, Fund Development, and Program committees. They gave him a spreadsheet template to better track his expenses and revenue. They also modified his generic bylaws to better reflect the needs of his organization.


Junior League of Louisville

Junior League of Louisville (JLL) requested Encore Louisville’s help with creating a sustainable annual giving campaign. As the team explored their request, they learned the organization needed to build a fundraising infrastructure in order to significantly increase its annual giving goals.

The team asked the JLL leadership to complete a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis that clearly identified areas of need as well as strengths and opportunities. The Encore team focused on the fact that the 100+ year organization does good work but not enough people know about it. They emphasized that JLL’s public image is a critical piece of effective fundraising.

The team provided four deliverables:

  • Conducted a survey with current Ignite Louisville and Leadership Louisville classes to determine what people knew about JLL and its work
  • Provided an outline listing the elements of an effective annual giving plan
  • Provided a list of fundraising activities of other Leagues across the country including Leagues in Louisville’s peer cities
  • Provided lists of local foundations and grant-making organizations as potential funding sources. Provided other resource materials on fundraising


Kentucky Chess Ambassadors

The mission of the Kentucky Chess Ambassadors, led by Corbin Sievers, is to teach young people in West Louisville to develop critical thinking skills through the sport of chess. Their after-school sessions and summer camps serve K-12 youngsters. Specifically, organization had four needs: 1) To pull together a workable budget; 2) To develop a single page summary of funding needs; 3) To set annual fundraising goals; 4) To secure an agency to complete taxes.

The Encore Louisville team was able to:

  • Identify priorities, short- and long-term for the organization
  • Set up a bookkeeping process to track income and expenses
  • Create a budget for the rest of 2021
  • Identify a firm that filed their taxes pro bono
  • Develop an elevator speech
  • Identify other chess resources in the city, the state, and the country
  • Identify potential funders and funding organizations


Louisville Climate Action Network

The Louisville Climate Action Network (LCAN), with Executive Director (ED), Sarah Lynn Cunningham, and Board member, Monique Tilford, requested the Encore Louisville team’s assistance in transitioning LCAN from an all-volunteer staff and Board to a paid staff. LCAN made considerable progress during this period as they continue to be in high demand as the city’s leading expert on climate change, its impacts, and solutions. The Encore team acted as a sounding board for LCAN to help them focus on expanding their work in two key areas: offering classes to non-profits to help them improve their energy efficiency and working “hands-on” with non-profits and houses of worship to improve energy efficiency in their facilities, as they transition to a paid staff.

The Encore team stressed the importance of having a business plan to ensure the sustainability of a paid staff. They suggested a capacity-building grant to provide the initial funding. Doug Butler linked LCAN with Kentucky’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to assist them with the business aspects of the expansion and SBDC has agreed to work with LCAN. Additionally, LCAN has requested George Demaree continue to work with them on their marketing plan once this Encore session is over. The Encore team is providing LCAN with a report documenting all their recommendations.

Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness

Metro Health has been starved for decades and all of a sudden was expected to step up to deal with a pandemic, while simultaneously doing the other things required of a large city health department. The pandemic required the hiring of large numbers of employees and made large sums of money available. As they tried to integrate those employees, and supervise those employees, they worked long hours and not surprisingly suffered from extreme stress. As the world improves, however, they are unfortunately finding that memories can be short indeed.

The Encore team formed into four sub-teams each working on a different aspect the Metro Health’s needs. One team helped with reframing their strategic plan, one helped with skill assessments for employees, one helped them deal with the extreme stress employees were and are facing, which was diagnosed by a U of L study as PTSD in 80% of employees, and one dealt with salary disparities between Metro Health and the private sector. The audience for some of our information is the Union and Metro Human Resources, and hopefully beyond.

Louisville Pride Foundation

The Louisville Pride Foundation’s (LPF) Executive Director (ED) requested the Encore Team’s assistance in establishing an LGBTQ Center. This Encore team spent a great deal of time in discussion with LPF’s Executive Director about the work involved to open a new Center. Additionally, they researched the resources provided by LPF and reached out to other LGBTQ Centers in the region to gather information on how those Centers operate, how they are sustained, and which of their programs are most popular. The team talked to center leaderships in Lexington, Columbus and Dayton, OH, and Birmingham, AL.

This Encore team believes the discussions they had with LPF’s Executive Director helped focus their efforts in preparing to open the LGBTQ Center. They are submitting a written report to LPF and are prepared to present the report at their next Board meeting on Aug 19th. They do think LPF is a viable candidate for an Ignite Louisville team in six months to a year, once the Center is up and running and has been operating for a while.


Louisville Youth Group

Louisville Youth Group (“LYG”), has a 30-year history of service to Louisville’s LGBTQIA+ youth yet in many ways operates like a start-up organization. There are almost as many board vacancies as members, and members are, for the most part, inexperienced. Board members demonstrate a passion for the organization but that does not translate to long-term board service. There is high turnover of board members. There is no leadership path, hence leadership roles are difficult to fill or remain vacant. LYG recently engaged an outside consultant to develop a Strategic Plan so The Encore team was able to focus on board effectiveness.

The Encore team presented to the board its observations with respect to board operations and recruitment, along with a series of recommendations for improving operations so that the board can successfully transition from a “working board” to a more traditional ”governing board”, which should enhance board recruitment and retention.

Pillar (formerly Apple Patch) Community

The needs Pillar outlined were to help them create a vision for the care of the disabled residents of their group homes and to help decide the disposition of undeveloped property that Pillar owns in the community of group homes. The Encore team identified the need for the board to take on traditional board roles as it moves from focus on near-term operational issues to long-term planning and objectives. The extent of the team’s help was bringing the Executive Director’s attention away from the land development toward being a catalyst for board development and strategic planning.

The first outcome was to freeze any sale of or development of the property. Only until the board goes through the exercise of long-term planning and vision creation should they consider what to do with the property. The second outcome was a commitment on Pillar’s part to go through a board development process, as well as a strategic planning process. The team’s deliverable was simply a summary of recommendations and a discussion with the Executive Director, who is considering engaging Leadership Louisville again to help with their next steps.

Volunteers of American Mid-States

VOA asked for assistance to determine the “fit and feasibility” of expanding their veteran services to include moral injury remediation for both veterans and first responders. The Encore team contacted veterans groups and first responders to gauge interest in such a program. The team discovered that the concept of moral injury does not resonate with either group. Once explained it was instantly categorized as a mental health program similar to PTSD (which is accurate) and while interested in such a program, cautioned that it would have the usual stigma and “fit for duty” concerns associated with any mental health intervention. Also cautioned that providers would have to be “culturally competent” to deal with their members.

Provided VOA the results of our research, conducted a SWOT analysis with them, and gave recommendations to consider if they decide to move forward with the idea. It seemed clear that VOA could “own” moral injury as no one else is operating in that space. Advised that the VA Medical Center would welcome collaboration with VOA on a moral injury program.


Wilderness Louisville

Wilderness Louisville (WL) was founded with a mission to be champions for Louisville’s natural areas, from Jefferson Memorial Forest, the nation’s largest municipally-owned urban forest, to the ones in your neighborhood. WL works with Louisville Metro Government’s Department of Parks and Recreation to promote the development, stewardship, and community awareness of these important public spaces.

WL requested an Encore Louisville team to assist in advancing the development of a Business Model to operate the Shawnee Outdoor Learning (SOL) Center at Shawnee Park. This model was to include the following:

  • Comprehensive cost projections
  • Market analysis of the Shawnee-Chickasaw neighborhood and surrounding areas
  • Possible revenue streams which are realistic and relevant to community needs
  • A staffing plan that is equitable and representative of the community

Additionally, they wanted the team to provide a framework to a University of Louisville MBA team for a second phase of work.

The team’s initial work focused on the market analysis, revenue streams, and creation of diverse workforce portions of the WL project request. However, their interviews and research of approximately 30 organizations led to more questions about and issues with the Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center project. As a result, their work then pivoted to perform a detailed and ranked SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) assessment of the SOL Center project itself. From this analysis, they made recommendations to WL regarding both the SOL Center project and the WL organization.

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October 2020 – January 2021:

Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana

This Encore Louisville team met with the senior leadership team of Boys and Girls Clubs Kentuckiana and determined the organization needed a solid marketing strategy. The BGCK leaders told them, ”If you build it, we’ll make it work!”

The team hosted a Listening Workshop with Board members, site leadership, staff, and volunteers. They then hosted a Branding and Ideation Workshop which consisted of two days on Zoom with breakout rooms and marketing development goals. All in all, the team participated in 15 meetings over three months. Their ultimate delivery is a 3-year Marketing and Communications Strategy with tactics developed during these workshops.

Common Table of Catholic Charities

The Common Table is a program within Catholic Charities. Their mission is “…to provide training in the culinary arts to those who face barriers to employment, empowering them to achieve success in their careers and personal lives.” Common Table also operates a social enterprise catering service. The request was to assist in developing a business plan in which the social enterprise income of Common Table would self-fund the Common Table training program.

This Encore Louisville team was able to focus the Common Table team on their priorities and provided outside guidance and review of their programs, with a path to achieve a sustainable financial position.

For the culinary training program, they provided feedback on the curriculum, introduced the team to a local executive chef as a volunteer trainer, and connected the Common Table team to contacts at multiple organizations who can provide job training candidates and jobs for program graduates. They provided feedback on other culinary training programs and reviewed how Common Table might get students college credits.

The Encore team recommended an Advisory Council with steps to recruit members. They introduced the Common Table team to contacts for wrap-around services and website support. They developed a financial model for the culinary training program and for the soup subscription program (one of the social enterprise catering options).

Kentucky Lions Eye Bank

The Kentucky Lions Eye Bank requested help from this Encore Louisville team on branding and image identification, as well as addressing governance, and strategies for the future. The team suggested specific branding, identity, and fundraising strategies. Additionally, they helped KLEB Board identify and execute their rights under the separation agreement. Finally, the Encore team discussed strategies for strengthening the Board and identifying future partners.

“The Encore group that served us was exceptional, professional, and was organized in a way where experts from different backgrounds, experiences, and education were available to us for counsel and advice.” 
– Bradley Tennant, CEO, Kentucky Lions Eye Bank


OneWest purchased 504-508 South 18th Street and is currently renting it back to Pam Haines, owner of Sweet Peaches restaurant. OneWest is allowing Pam to sub-lease the space and is setting aside part of the rent to allow her to purchase the building and expand her adjacent restaurant there.

OneWest requested an Encore team to aid Sweet Peaches with expansion plans, including overall design/layout, equipment planning, and budgeting. The Encore team was concerned about the likelihood of success of the intended plan given the challenges of owning a building while simultaneously trying to run a restaurant. The team, therefore, suggested a slower, more deliberate approach to both enhance Pam’s chances of success and to enable OneWest’s vision for the area. Specifically, the team recommended OneWest remain as a landlord and take over all landlord duties from Pam. The proposal included OneWest creating and owning a first-class, tenant neutral restaurant space on the first floor, then leasing the space to Pam with a long term lease and option to purchase the building once financial thresholds are met. To ensure this incubation period would allow Pam the opportunity to build business skills as well as profitability, the team suggested splitting the kitchen and business management roles and secured experienced restaurant mentors to work with Pam. The Encore team provided layouts for the first-floor restaurant space, resources to help with budgeting for construction, and recommendations for separate leasing agreements for the second floor of the building.

Seed to Oaks

Seed to Oaks is an organization utilizing a consortium of churches to identify, train, and coach hard-to-place employee candidates into good jobs. An Encore Louisville team was formed to assist Seed to Oaks in answering the question “How do we get businesses excited about us?” The Encore team examined Seed to Oaks’ current system and determined it worked well on the identification, training, and coaching side but lacked a sufficient number of businesses to place these candidates.

The Encore Louisville Team developed five deliverables:

  • A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
  • A potential partnership with a local staffing agency that offered a fee for placement
  • An “informal” board of directors that would be a source of support and counsel
  • A legal review of its nonprofit status
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that could be used with emerging partnerships


Whitney/Strong is a 501(c) 3 organization created in 2019 by Whitney Austin, who has turned her own survival of a 12-bullet attack in the September 6, 2018, Cincinnati mass shooting into a life’s mission to support responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence. The organization asked for Encore’s assistance to “outline and build the best approach to financial sustainability, including a 5-year operating budget along with SMART goals.”

The Encore team provided an outside perspective to the organization’s founder with the following deliverables: 1) Identified the need for a comprehensive multi-year strategic plan before a fundraising plan can be developed around the strategic plan objectives; 2) Located strategic plan resources (such as Kellogg Foundation Logic Model). The team suggested greater clarity was needed for the mission statement and offered further assistance as the organization matures.

“I would encourage other nonprofits to apply outside of a strategic planning cycle and once short and long term goals are solidified.”
– Whitney Austin, Executive Director, Whitney/Strong

June – October 2020:

Center for Neighborhoods

The Center for Neighborhoods asked the Encore Louisville team to assist them in further developing a new organization that is now part of the center, the Louisville Community Development Network (LCDN.) LCDN is about a year old and is a grassroots organization made up of community developers ranging from robust nonprofits to individuals. The team’s focus was on organizational structure and sustainability. They researched similar organizations in other cities to determine which structures might be the best fit for LCDN. The team then worked with LCDN’s organizational structure committee to determine the next steps toward formalizing their organization. They also provided them examples of membership types to help them decide on a membership structure. This is a new organization and there is more work to be done. They have a way forward for the near term. However, once CFN/LCDN makes some progress, CFN may want to ask for another Encore team.

“Working with the Encore team gave us the opportunity to have additional brainpower on some critical strategy, which we will use to build our collaborative work and have a quicker, more effective impact on Louisville neighborhoods. The Encore team was committed, thoughtful, engaging, and their partnership was extremely beneficial to us.” 
– Jessica Brown, Planning Director, Center for Neighborhoods

Dancing Well (the Soldier Project)

Dancing Well: The Soldier Project has provided proven, life-changing programming to veterans and families affected by PTSD since 2014 under a fiscal sponsor. Now an independent 501(c)(3), they are struggling to cover operating costs and needed help examining sustainability options. They wanted guidance on creating an informed plan, with action steps, for a sustainable organization. Specifically, they wanted the Encore team’s thoughts on three topics:

  • Developing a major fundraising campaign for funds to hire a business manager/fundraiser, freeing the founder’s time to focus on programming.
  • Finding another veteran service organization that would acquire them and manage their business and fundraising tasks, leaving the founder to focus on programming.
  • Recruiting an intern/volunteer to help with office and bookkeeping tasks. We had virtual meetings with the executive director and board members to learn about the organization. We were able to provide advice on these and other matters.

The Encore team met virtually with the executive director and board members and were able to provide advice on these and other matters.

“I encourage nonprofits to apply for an Encore Louisville team. They are seasoned professionals and can provide advice, resources, and mentoring during their tenure. Dancing Well: The Soldier Project is definitely in a stronger position now to meet the needs of our veteran families affected by PTSD, after working with the team.”
– Deborah Denenfeld, Dancing Well: Executive Director

Louisville Literary Arts

Louisville Literary Arts provides a space for writers to connect, attend workshops and seminars, and receive feedback on their writing. The ask of LLA was to provide a rebranding and marketing plan, infrastructure and capacity building plan, and a fundraising plan. The Encore Louisville team collected information about past work, current work, and goals and aspirations for LLA. They met multiple times with the Executive Director and provided feedback on their observations. The team also provided historical profit and loss statements for the organization for the prior year as they don’t have a treasurer.

“The Encore Louisville team identified where our organization is struggling and offered detailed analysis and recommendations for our board and staff to use as guidelines as we prioritize the next steps in capacity building, marketing, and board development. With so many new board members, the Encore team’s combined expertise has been invaluable.”
– Amy Miller, Executive Director, Louisville Literary Arts


Make-A-Wish had a dual ask: 1) to strategize on the local expansion of their board membership/participation; and 2) to increase community engagement within Kentucky. The Encore Louisville team initially met with the Kentucky Director along with the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana regional Make-A-Wish CEO to learn of current planning with respect to branding, development, and outreach programs. The team then worked directly with the KY Director and current local board members to create a Kentucky-specific strategic initiative to re-frame and promote the organization for both community outreach and board development. They created, managed, executed, and collected results from a focused workshop directed at these issues.

“Working with an Encore team was an extremely valuable experience. The breadth of knowledge and expertise the team brings to the table and commitment to ensuring the project fulfilled the need of our organization helped move us forward in a way we would not have been able to do on our own or without significant financial cost.”
– Kim Hales, Market Director of Advancement, Make-A-Wish

Sowing Seeds with Faith

Sowing Seeds with Faith (SSwF) engages Louisville youth in academic and social activities, providing structure and mentoring while raising educational expectations and requiring individual accountability. SSwF programming combines tutoring and summer academic enrichment, coupled with character and leadership development to give young people a positive and effective platform to prepare them for success in life. SSwF’s initial request was for an Encore team to help the organization: 1) Strengthen and develop its Board, 2) Achieve long-term financial sustainability, and 3) Find or develop options for a physical home for offices and programming activities. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term programming priorities became critical, and the Encore team and SSwF leadership agreed that it was necessary to change the project plan. The Encore team became an operational resource to help SSwF navigate the required transformation of its tutoring business model from in-person to virtual. The team also committed to developing a road map for SSwF to use to achieve the original three project objectives of Board Development, Sustainability, and a home.

“Our Encore Team did the unthinkable while accomplishing the undoable. They created direct outcomes forms for the tutoring program. They restructured the finances and created an outline for the 2021 Budget. They spent hours creating informational forms that update educators on who we are and what value we bring to each scholar. They conducted study groups to make sure we were able to create the correct information, and so much more.”
– Da’Marrion Fleming, Executive Director, Sowing Seeds with Faith

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