On February 11th - February 15th, SACIV had the opportunity to host eleven international visitors from Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia and Yemen for an IVLP program on “NGO Management”, which aimed to provide participants with the opportunity to examine innovative NGOs, non-profit, public service, and advocacy organization management strategies in the United States and to explore the diversity of the non-profit sector in the United States, as well as the dynamic relationships among business, government, and non-governmental organizations.
The IVLP guests started their program with an insightful meeting with the Development Coordinator of the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions (AIT-SCM). Our visitors learnt about this nonprofit organization, established by the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, who are descendants of the aboriginal people who populated South Texas and Northeast Mexico, and which works for the preservation and protection of the culture and traditions of the Native American tribes and other indigenous people who resided in the Spanish colonial missions. The discussion was mainly focused on the history of indigenous populations in the United States, critical issues currently facing American indigenous communities, and AIT-SCM’s work to promote and protect indigenous culture.
Later that day, our guests had a meeting with Ms. Chris Carmona, a local CPA and founding partner of Schriver, Carmona & Company who has over seventeen years of public accounting experience. He shared with them his experience which includes leading and supervising the audits of several nonprofit entities, including nonprofits requiring single audits as specified in the Uniform Guidance, governmental entities, employee benefit plans, and commercial entities.
On Wednesday afternoon, our delegation headed to the meeting with fundraising consultant Mr. Jim Eskin. He presented his “10 Simple Lessons of Fundraising” book to the group and discussed with them basic steps in developing context-appropriate fundraising strategies.
On Thursday, the group met with representatives of SA Youth. It was inspiring to hear about the ways they develop the character, strengths, talents, and skills of San Antonio’s high-risk urban youth through fun, safe experiences, positive learning environments, and holistic programs that inspire each individual to fulfill their potential personally and in the community. The participants heard about their programs aimed at reducing the number of school-aged children who become involved with negative behaviors and promote academic success.
The next morning's meeting was with representatives of the Masters Leadership Program (MLP), where representatives discussed their best practices in nonprofit advocacy, fundraising, and community outreach. The conversation was unique because it demonstrated yet another approach to highlighting a NGO’s mission and vision in the community so that the financial management becomes more successful and transparent.
After lunch, these visitors met with representatives of the San Antonio Baptist Health Foundation, where they learnt about this organization’s analyses of grants and their decision making process on how to allocate funding. Staff also shared technical details that an applicant needs to know before applying for a grant. This meeting was quite helpful in providing clarity about the decision making process and details of requirements for receiving grants.
On Friday before lunch, this delegation visited the San Antonio Food Bank, where they were given a tour of the facilities and took part in a community service activity. The delegation was able to openly ask questions about community engagement among marginalized groups, especially regarding best practices in volunteer recruitment, retention, and management on a large scale.
In the afternoon, the group had a four hour synthesis & action planning workshop, designed to provide them with structured time to reflect on their experiences during this project, consider actions and initiatives they wanted to pursue upon return home, and to begin developing an action plan to implement these ideas.
The program was intensive and was able to cover a wide array of diverse appointments across San Antonio. Overall, they were able to experience a wide swath of NGO management strategies available in San Antonio from myriad organizations. #ExchangeMatters