News from the SBA June 28, 2015

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SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet Announces ‘Startup in a Day’ Initiative

When I started my businesses, it was overwhelming. That’s why I’m proud to join the White House in announcing the launch of our Startup in a Day initiative, in alliance with the National League of Cities. Our goal is to reduce a process that can take weeks or even months into one that takes less than a day.

For more information, visit
e-mail the Startup in a Day team at

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North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council Submits Application for Technical Assistance to CMAP

The North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council is proud to announce that we have submitted our application to CMAP (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) for technical assistance in developing a comprehensive plan for the entire North Lawndale Community, as defined by Community Area 29. We were able to do so with the support of 32 North Lawndale stakeholders, including individuals, organizations, businesses and elected officials.

The elected officials who provided letters of support include Congressman Danny K. Davis, Commissioner Robert Steele, State Rep. Art Turner and Alderman Michael Scott, Jr.

Other stakeholders submitting letters of support include Holsten Human Capital Development, Valerie F. Leonard, Deer Rehabilitation Services Inc., Chicago Youth Centers, Advanced Care Services, Inc., North Lawndale Employment Network, a 501c3, 28th Ward Young Democrats Organization, Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation, UCAN, BBF, EATS Grocery, The Learning Center, Reginald Johns, Lawndale Business Renaissance Association, Sinai Health System, New Covenant CDC, Juvenile Protective Association, Foundation for Homan Square, Audrey Dunford, Rhonda F. Albritton, The Night Ministry, The Lawndale Amachi Mentoring Program, K-Town Historic District Association, Anna Maria Leon, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation.

We thank everyone for the support you have provided during the process of developing the application. We will spend the next couple months developing ground rules, recruiting members and staffing committees. We will roll out the NLCCC in earnest at the end of the summer.

North Lawndale stakeholders may sign on at


Coming to a Computer Near You: Nonprofit “U”

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2015
Contact: Valerie F. Leonard, Expert in Community and Organizational Development; 773-571-3886

Valerie F. LeonardValerie F. Leonard, an expert in community and organizational development, will host the Nonprofit “U” blog radio talk show on Monday afternoons, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., on the BlogTalkRadio network, beginning June 22, 2015. Nonprofit “U” is a forum where nonprofit stakeholders can discuss the latest developments in the sector, and increase their capacity to serve their clients and build sustainable communities. The Nonprofit “U” blog radio talk show is the first series of its kind in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, and one of very few in the country.
“After talking with nonprofit stakeholders from around the City of Chicago and beyond, it’s very clear that the time for this show is now”, Leonard said. “Emerging nonprofit leaders don’t always have access to the more seasoned professionals and policy makers in the industry” . As a result, Leonard says, “they operate in the dark and make a lot of unnecessary mistakes”.
Nonprofit “U” will provide listeners the opportunity to ask questions by phone, social media or live chat. Leonard’s goal for every show is to raise awareness of issues that impact nonprofits’ ability to serve their clients and to provide actionable solutions. At the same time, leaders of organizations that serve nonprofits will have a better sense for how best to meet their needs.

Brenda Palms BarberBrenda Palms Barber, CEO of the North Lawndale Employment Network on Chicago’s West Side, will be the featured guest on Brenda’s Secret Sauce, the first episode of Nonprofit “U”. Palms Barber moved to Chicago 15 years ago and started the North Lawndale Employment Network to assist returning citizens transition back to society through employment and other resources. She found a community that ranked in the top 6 in the state with respect to prisoners returning home. Today, her clients as a group have a recidivism rate of 6% compared to 43% for the country. Under her leadership, NLEN has grown from 2 to 21 employees, and provides job training and financial literacy to over 2,000 men and women. She launched the Sweet Beginnings social enterprise, which produces local honey and skincare products under the beelove brand, where 383 returning citizens have been employed, since 2007.
What’s in Brenda’s secret sauce? “Call-in to the show at (347) 884-8121 and find out”, Leonard said. The show will stream live from

Press Release June 9, 2015

Nonprofit U by valeriefleonard


Upcoming Workshops

I am working in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau to facilitate training on their website in communities around the City of Chicago. The two-part training session will occur 2 days a month in Chicago Public Library branches. Our July class will take place on Friday, July 17, 2015 and Friday, July 24, 2015, from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, at the Uptown Library, 929 West Buena, Chicago, IL. Our August class will take place Wednesday, August 12, 2015, and Wednesday, August 19, 2015, from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm at the Back of the Yards Library, 2111 West 47th Street, Chicago, IL. Register here.

We have very limited space, and we ask that you register ahead of time and bring your own laptop computer. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at

Share Training

American Fact Finer

I am very excited to announce that I will be working with the U.S. Census Bureau to facilitate training on the website.  We will be working with a cohort of 15 journalists, nonprofit leaders and small business owners.  The hands-on training will take place in two parts.  Part one will provide an overview of how to navigate the upgraded website, with a particular focus on the American Fact Finder and demographic and data sets. Participants will also learn to develop queries along specific geographies and to map the results in preparation for business planning, developing community needs assessments, program development and market analysis. The journalists will use the training to better understand the landscapes of the communities they cover in the news.

The first class filled within less than 4 hours of a single announcement on Facebook!  We have decided to provide the hands on training on a monthly basis, while demand lasts. We will also provide occasional training through webinars from time to time.  If you are interested in signing up for a future training, please email me at



We’re awarding scholarships and giving away money!‏

I got the following message from BoardSource.

Awards and scholarships
We’re awarding scholarships and giving away money!

Why? Because promoting excellence in board service is at the heart of our mission.BoardSource is now accepting applications for the following two award programs:

The 2015 Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards 
In recognition of the critical role that boards play in overseeing their organizations’ missions, finances, and strategic directions and presented as part of the 2015 BoardSource Leadership Forumthe awards include
  • $15,000 Grand Prize
  • Two $3,000 Honorable Mentions
Application deadline: June 25
The 2015 Judith O’Connor Memorial Fund Scholarships for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders 
These scholarships enable 15-20 emerging nonprofit leaders to participate in the 2015 BoardSource Leadership Forum. Apply to
  • advance your leadership skills
  • learn about progressive practices in nonprofit governance
  • interact with nonprofit leaders from across the country
Application deadline: June 26
Learn More - PLA
Support for the 2015 Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards is provided by Prudential and The Prudential Foundation.
Learn More and Apply

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