Below is a collection of frequently asked questions about our organizational mission, values, structure and practices. Have another question that needs answering? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
How did UpCity Consulting get started?
UpCity Consulting was founded by Rebecca Channer, a nonprofit manager, social entrepreneur, and community activist who has worked in service to our local and international communities for 20 years.
Having served as a Peace Corps volunteer, grant writer, program director, development director, executive director, and board member for small and large organizations during the first half of her career, Rebecca shifted into the role of consultant and interim management specialist during the past 10 years, partly because she was ready for a new challenge, and partly to allow her the flexibility to care for her mother (and best friend), who suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Originally launched as a sole proprietorship focused on helping grassroots nonprofits meet their resource development and strategic planning goals, the independent consultancy evolved into Channer Kennedy & Associates, LLC in 2013 when program evaluation specialist Sarah Kennedy came aboard.
In 2015, the nimble yet growing firm re-branded as UpCity Consulting and expanded its offerings to include expert-level coaching for first-time development and executive directors. Then, in early 2016, UpCity began producing a limited number of nonprofit training workshops in partnership with local foundations and expert facilitators, including Rick Levine and Eli Levine.
UpCity is working with some of Oregon’s biggest and most influential foundations. How did these relationships develop?
Here at UpCity, we believe that the power to change our communities is wholly dependent on breaking down barriers and strengthening relationships between people from all sectors of society: social service organizations, small businesses, corporations, government entities, and foundations.
Our goal is to connect the community’s many thought leaders, change agents, and creative visionaries, and engage them in creative discussion that opens doors to new ideas and ways of thinking. Because much of our work involves building fundraising capacity, our interactions with program officers and trustees are fairly frequent.
A common misconception is that foundation representatives are difficult to approach or don’t have the time to speak individually with nonprofit professionals and other community leaders, but often they do. In fact, we’ve found them all to be highly personable, caring, passionate and interested in making meaningful connections with the folks on the ground doing the work.
How specifically does UpCity partner with foundations when producing a workshop?
Every foundation representative that engages with UpCity and our clients does so voluntarily and without remuneration. They are supporters, not sponsors. Program officers and trustees often appreciate the chance to interact directly with their colleagues and large groups of nonprofit leaders in one room, while also valuing the chance to inform those leaders about the operations of their foundations. These dynamic and diverse learning environments are largely created to elevate the quality and relevance of grant proposals produced by grant seekers, which foundation staff and trustees will be reviewing.
Is UpCity Consulting registered as a nonprofit organization?
Nope, we are a small independent business registered in Oregon as a limited liability partnership. Ultimately we believe this is the most cost-effective and resource-savvy business model for everyone involved, primarily because it allows us to provide community services without competing with other nonprofits for public and private funds.
We work diligently to keep our sliding scale rates and workshop fees lower than most other consultants and on par with nonprofit technical assistance organizations such as the Nonprofit Association of Oregon (NAO) and the Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO). We also make every effort to offer unique training opportunities that fill the gaps between what NAO, WVDO and other consultants are offering, as we’re fierce opponents of duplicating services.
Despite technically being considered consultants, we’re really just a bunch of hard working social service gurus using our skills and expertise to make the world a better place. All of our partners and associates work from home offices (with assistants who look like snoring black labs), commute by bike (whenever possible), and cover their own expenses related to health insurance, travel, vacation, and leaves.
We wholeheartedly promote efficiency, transparency, and an equitable, thoughtful use of resources. At UpCity, we walk our talk, and we hold the same high standard for all of our partners and clients.
Why does UpCity charge fees to attend workshops?
Though we are committed to operating as frugally as possible at all times, event production can prove especially complex and costly. Venues that cater to 50-100 workshop participants and have excellent A/V capabilities, ADA-accessibility, tables, chairs, kitchen amenities, etc., come with a price tag. We also believe in fairly compensating our skilled facilitators and event managers for their time, curricula, and expertise. At times when we provide statewide access to our training via live webcast, we must also invest in additional equipment and tech support.
Though we do require a fee to attend our workshops, same as NAO, WVDO, and other technical assistance organizations, we don’t require additional membership fees. We also offer sliding scale options, and we always respond thoughtfully to requests for free advice, scholarships, and volunteer/work exchange opportunities.
Does UpCity offer scholarships to attend workshops?
The short answer is yes, and yet we always prefer to offer volunteer/work exchange opportunities over “free” scholarships when possible. Ultimately we believe that value and investment are joined at the hip.
What does that mean exactly? If you’re willing to give UpCity an hour or two of your time during setup, registration, breaks and tear down, we’re very happy to exchange a seat at the workshop. If you’re unable to provide volunteer support and/or all of the support roles have been filled, we can assist you in looking for a sponsor and also discuss the option of partial or full scholarship.
Historically we have always found a way to get people the support they need in the way they need it. Just drop us a note at email@example.com and we can brainstorm a solution together.