In 2016, Deborah Arenstein and Larry Goldstein recognized an unmet need in Charlottesville Virginia - the community they called home for nearly 50 years collectively. Charlottesville was home to many outstanding nonprofits dedicated to serving the community through direct service, the arts, wellness, education, to name a few - but many lacked the structure needed to help them achieve their goals.
Especially with small or startup nonprofits, their attention was often on keeping the organization afloat, without the space needed to dig in to their Board/staff relationships and the strategic thinking that could help the organization become sustainable.
After attending a few workshops and hearing folks ask questions that seemed to indicate a need for more foundational information and support, Larry and Deborah began working, pro bono, with three local nonprofits, to see if their observations were valid. The organizations were all at different stages of the nonprofit life cycle, but they shared a need for infrastructure, Board development, fundraising support and a staffing audit.
One of those organizations has become a thriving local music hub, with its own dedicated location and a highly effective Board/staff relationship. Another has added paid staff to its previously volunteer-run structure, a radical change for a 25 year old organization.
Since then, Board Whisperers has worked with other organizations - including independent schools, racial equity entrepreneurs, therapeutic equine programs and performing arts groups - to support their growth in the areas of fundraising, strategic planning and Board development.
Using a coaching model, we work closely with organizational leadership to set goals and then put structures in place to help meet them. We identify areas that are working and those that need more attention. We connect resources so that nonprofits can work together to problem solve and create shared solutions.
We love community - people - making a difference - and working together.
How can we help you and your organization to succeed?
We want to hear what's going on in your nonprofit's world. Whether you are a Board Chair, committee member, Executive Director or Head of School, we can listen for what's important to you and then help you fulfill on your goals.
We'd love to provide you with a 30 minute coaching session at no charge!
Deborah has been working in the world of nonprofit fund development since 1988. Her early fundraising positions in Richmond VA included the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood and the YWCA of Richmond.
Her volunteer development roles have included grantwriting, special events and board service. She served a six year board term at Free Union Country School, Free Union VA, with an emphasis on annual fund development and governance. She is currently Governance Chair at Live Arts in Charlottesville and is a Board Academy graduate of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.
With a degree in Theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University, she performs improv with an all female team and can also be seen on the stage or behind the scenes at Live Arts.
Larry recently retired from Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville VA, after 23 years. He served as the Director of Development for 5 years and was the Upper School Drama teacher for nearly 20 years.
Larry has master's degrees in counseling and theatre. He brings a profound respect for group process, communication and active listening to his work with nonprofits.
Larry was a founder of Live Arts Theatre in Charlottesville and recently birthed Playback Theatre Virginia, a company that combines storytelling and improv to create dynamic theatre that is heartfelt, inclusive and celebrates humanity. He is a regular coach for TEDx Charlottesville speakers.
In his semi-retirement, Larry enjoys travel, reading, writing and working with individual clients as a performance and life coach.
Before moving to Charlottesville, Katie spent over 20 years living and working in New York City. She has spent her career at the intersection of the public and private sector, tackling pressing social issues and working with organizations that serve the underserved. From the AdCouncil to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to Change.org, she has built ad campaigns, partnerships, and revenue streams to address the needs of underrepresented populations. She loves helping nonprofits solve problems and harness resources to meet their goals.
Katie is currently serving as Executive Director of the Cville Renewable Energy Alliance (CvilleREA), and consulting with Board Whisperers and other nonprofits throughout the community.
Katie graduated from NYU with a Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelors in Marketing and Management. She can often be found cheering for the Yankees, learning to play tennis, or hanging out with her rescue pup, Kaley.