Census.gov 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 Census.gov 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 Census.gov 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 consulting@valeriefleonard.com.



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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Washington, DC  20001
(202) 349-2500
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Update-Illinois State Budget Cuts

Petition Drive Against Budget Cuts

The Alliance for Budget Equity (ABE) is circulating petitions as follows:

“We the undersigned voters and duly qualified electors residing in communities in the State of Illinois, hereby petition that Governor Bruce Rauner restore the $26 million in social services and public health grants, suspended on the 3rd day of April, 2015.

Shall the Governor of the State of Illinois restore appropriated funds to pay for the burials of public aid recipients; teen drug abuse prevention programs; austism, epilepsy, HIV and AIDS awareness and other public health services; and for immigrant services, and youth jobs.”

I hope to have electronic copies of the petitions that you can print out and circulate by Monday, April 13, 2015. If you are interested in circulating the petition in your community, let me know. Signed petitions will be delivered to Governor Rauner on May 4, 2015. Others who may have more information concerning this initiative include Minister Walter Jones, William Riley, Donald J. Dew, and Deborah Williams. ABE is trying to get 100,000 signatures by May 4, 2015 to deliver to the Governor during a rally at Thompson Center.

May 4th Day of Action at Thompson Center

We received hard copies of flyers with the following message:

The Alliance for Budget Equity (ABE)
Save the Date
Monday, May 4, 2015
Day of Action
Call for Restoration of $26 million State Funding for
Social Services and Pubic Health Grants
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL
Let your voice be heard
Please call the Governor at 312- 814-2121 or email Bruce.Rauner@Illinois.gov.

The time has not been confirmed, but is tentatively set for 10:00 am.

Cook County Board Meeting April 29th

Commissioner Richard Boykin will be introducing a resolution calling on Governor Rauner to restore $26 million in budget cuts to human and social services during the April 29th meeting of the Cook County Board. (10:00 am) There will be a public comment period in which you may provide testimony on how you, your organization and community have been impacted by these cuts. Visit the Illinois Partners for Human Service website to get information on how to frame letters to Governor Rauner and get ideas as to how to frame your testimony before the Cook County Board. http://illinoispartners.org/Happening%20Now

Other resources may be found here http://us3.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d80f30bea30ebd5363eeb80e9&id=c6d386e520

Check Out This New Infographic

We put together a new infographic to share quick updates.

Illinois Budget Cuts


Weathering the Storm Part 1

Even though economists say we are in recovery, we still experience profound effects of a fundamental shift in our economy. The economy has stabilized nationally, but there are still several communities that remain virtually untouched by recovery. Our state and local governments, which often serve as a safety net, are struggling, can not be counted on to support programs that serve “the least of these”. The nonprofit sector will never be the same. I am sharing a series of memes that are intended to help nonprofit leaders work through strategies to weather the storm.




Governor Rauner’s Unilateral Grant Terminations

I got the following email from Voices for Illinois Children




OcApril 7, 2015 


Dear Supporter,
On Friday, Governor Rauner unilaterally terminated current funding for a range of important investments in children and families such as afterschool programs, autism services, addiction prevention, and public health programs.

With a budget “fix” already enacted over a week ago to fill the hole for this year, these terminations reflect very deliberate choices by the Governor to target these important services — choices that do the very opposite of “preserving core programs to serve the most vulnerable” as the Governor’s office has claimed.

Email Governor Rauner and your legislators today to protect critical services for children and the most vulnerable in our state by raising the necessary resources. 

These terminations are the tip of the iceberg if lawmakers don’t raise the resources our state needs to fund critical services and investments in kids and families. Without new revenue to make up for the billions of lost revenue due to the recent income tax cuts, more devastating cuts to services are inevitable.

Among those impacted by last Friday’s terminations include youth in dozens of communities around the state who benefit from afterschool opportunities funded through Illinois’ Teen REACH program. Due to the terminations, many afterschool providers will be forced shut their doors to thousands of youth.

Tell Governor Rauner and legislators to work together to find solutions to our revenue problems to prevent further devastating cuts. 

More than two dozen other service areas were also terminated such as services for individuals with epilepsy, developmental disabilities, and mental illness. For example, the Illinois Autism Project (TAP) had its grant terminated on Friday — World Autism Day. TAP provides services and support to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

Friday’s terminations and the Governor’s billions of dollars in other proposed cuts will make Illinois weaker, not stronger.

Join with Voices to urge lawmakers to maximize our state’s resources by investing in our most valuable assets: our children, families, and communities. 

David Lloyd
Director, Fiscal Policy Center










  • Illinois Kids Count 2015 Benefit: Thursday, June 4, 2015, Harold Washington Library, Winter Garden, 401 S. Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL, featuring New York Times best-selling author and youth advocate, Wes Moore, who will discuss that being a leader, both in your personal life and in the business world, comes down to one thing: personal responsibility.


  • Our Communities: Illinois Kids Count Conversations: This discussion series offers special opportunities to convene civic, business, and community leaders in a face-to-face discussion with local legislators on the best strategies to build better lives for local children and families. Join Voices in galvanizing leadership across the state by hosting an Illinois Kids Count Conversation in your community. Visit our website for more information.








Voices for Illinois Children
208 South LaSalle St., Suite 1490
Chicago, IL 60604

(312) 456-0600


Let the Illinois State Legislature Know How Governor Rauner’s Budget Cuts Are Impacting African American Communities

I am working with the Illinois African American Family Commission and a number of other organizations to analyze the impacts of Governor Rauner’s budget cuts on African American communities in the State.  Please, take a few minutes to complete the attached survey by March 20, 2015.  Your assistance is most appreciated.


Business Planning

Photo from Blackdoctor.org © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Photo from Blackdoctor.org © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

I am pleased to have recently completed the business plan for an agency serving youth athletes with asthma.  The 3-year plan included an assessment of the asthma situation from a national, state, county and city level to identify target areas in high-need, under-served areas. The plan identified potential clients and partners and strategies to provide asthma education and devices for youth athletes and their families and athletic and school personnel. The plan included program logic models for each of the programs, a budget, evaluation plan and implementation plan. The agency is now in a position to develop the necessary infrastructure to sustain itself for the long term, and to make the case for funding. I wish them well.