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. She is a graduate of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence Board Academy. 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 is currently the Director of Development at Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville VA. He has masters degrees in counseling and theatre, and was the Upper School Director of Theatre at Tandem for over 20 years. He brings a profound respect for process, communication and 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.