Valley Nonprofit Resources offers information and services to strengthen the more than 4,000 nonprofit organizations in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California.
About VNR

VNR's History and Operations

Valley Nonprofit Resources was created after six years of research and active dialogue with nonprofit leaders in the San Fernando Valley. A small convening was held in 2001, and a major planning conference convened in 2003, both at California State University Northridge. Thanks to a grant from The California Endowment, a one-year feasibility study was conducted in 2005. It re-affirmed the need for a resource focused on and in the San Fernando Valley and identified topics Valley nonprofit leaders would like help with, such as executive leadership transition, financial management and volunteer recruitment.

The feasibility study also established the desire Valley nonprofits have for peer-based learning, for information that’s easily-accessible on the internet or by phone, and for training and technical assistance that’s locally available. VNR was created to meet all of these needs simultaneously.

VNR is designed to serve executive directors, staff and board members of nonprofits, plus leaders of volunteer groups and of smaller foundations located in the Valley. Most of its services are provided on-line, over the phone, or in facilities of its partner organizations, making VNR a “virtual MSO,” a management support organization that takes advantage of modern technology and multiple partners.

Support for VNR comes from foundations, corporations and private donors. Most services are free of charge, though modest fees for certain training and technical assistance activities also help support the program. Each of the three partner organizations also donates facilities and time for leadership of the program.

VNR’s Definition of the San Fernando Valley

Map showing geographical area covered by the services and resources of Valleny Nonprofit Resources

There are many definitions of the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. The one VNR uses is depicted in the above map. The Santa Clarita Valley is not included, nor are parts of the Simi or Conejo Valleys. Glendale and Burbank are included.

Resources on VNR’s website are available to all, but our Concierge and other direct services are available only to nonprofits physically located in the San Fernando Valley.

Appropriate referrals can be made to other inquiries.

VNR’s Partners

California State University Northridge (CSUN) is the largest institution of higher education in the San Fernando Valley, with nearly 34,000 students and more than 4,000 faculty and staff on its 356-acre campus. VNR's partnership is primarily with CSUN's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which includes the Center for Southern California Studies, and departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, Pan African Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Urban Studies & Planning. To learn more, go to CSUN College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND) is a volunteer-driven organization based in Pacoima, CA that provides services to meet the basic human needs of individuals who reside in the northeast San Fernando Valley. In operation since the early 1970s, MEND provides emergency food, clothing, medical, vision and dental care, job skills training and job placement assistance, English as a Second Language classes, youth activities, and a Christmas program. MEND serves more than 456,000 people each year. Services are provided in a manner that safeguards the dignity of all recipients, while promoting self-reliance. For additional information about MEND and its programs:

The original founder and operating partner of VNR was the nonprofit Human Interaction Research Institute, which conducted research and provided technical assistance to the nonprofit, government and philanthropy sectors from 1961-2014. The Institute's name will continue on the CSUN campus through the HIRI Research Fellowships for faculty research on the nonprofit sector, funded through an endowment. To learn more, contact VNR.


VNR Staff

Thomas E. Backer, PhD, Executive Director
Julaine Konselman, Project Coordinator
Kathryn Groves, Webmaster and Project Assistant
Ashley Wright, Project Assistant

Mary Anne Shew, Technology Consultant

VNR Advisory Committee

Members of VNR’s Advisory Committee come from nonprofits and businesses located in the Valley, as well as from capacity-building organizations throughout Southern California. The Committee provides input on VNR activities, and oversight to its various programs (for instance, by reviewing and commenting on VNR evaluation data). Committee members are:

Joy Picus, Consultant (Advisory Committee Chair)
Regina Birdsell, Center for Nonprofit Management
Rev. Dr. D.D. Chatman, Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church
Neal Dudovitz, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles
David Factor, Executive Service Corps of Southern California
Barbara Firestone, PhD, The Help Group
Susan Kaplan, Friends of the Family
Roy Marshall, Child and Family Guidance Center
Bruce Nelson, Glendale Adventist Hospital
Judy Ross, Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership
Jerry Seliger, PhD, California State University Northridge
Lewis Sharpstone, SingerLewak
Ron Sorensen, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center/Valley Care Community Consortium
Paul Vandeventer, Community Partners
Diana Medina Wiley, Families in Schools
Kimberly Wyard, Northeast Valley Health Corporation

VNR Partner Representatives

Marianne Haver Hill, MEND
Stella Theodoulou, PhD, California State University Northridge


VNR Planning and Evaluation

From the beginning, VNR's mission and activities have been framed by the principles of strategic planning, research and evaluation. Valley Nonprofit Resources was shaped by a 2005 Feasibility Study, and its operations by Business Plans that lay out administrative, program and financial activities. VNR also was designed to include an evaluation component, both to estimate the program's impact and to improve it over time.

The evaluation component builds on the Human Interaction Research Institute's long-standing work in program evaluation (going back to national studies conducted in the 1960s) and more recent projects focused on evaluation of nonprofit capacity building (including a 2010 study for Kellogg Foundation of foundation-sponsored capacity building evaluation methods). Because personnel and financial resources for evaluation are very modest, VNR's activities are low-cost, and involve gathering qualitative and limited quantitative data, both of which can be useful in meeting evaluation objectives.

VNR's evaluation component has six main activities:

1 - post-event surveys of participants' overall reactions to VNR workshops and other learning events

2 - pre- and post-tests of participants' learning and skill development, targeted to VNR's two MultiFamily Group capacity building projects with Valley mental health agencies (both of which included a series of educational workshops)

3 - critical incident reports on specific outcomes from VNR workshops and technical assistance consultations

4 - informal data gathered through post-event interaction with participants in VNR learning events

5 - rosters summarizing basic operations for VNR's workshops and community events, information & referral activities and technical assistance consultations

6 - website statistics gathered automatically by Google Analytics and through a pop-up website user satisfaction survey

To provide context for VNR's evaluation activities, consult VNR's Feasibility Study and the VNR Business Plans 2007-2009, 2010-2011, 2012-2013 and 2014-2016. Evaluation findings in the categories described above are presented in evaluation reports for 2007-2009, 2010-2011, 2012-2013, and a separate report evaluating VNR's Strategic Planning work. Evaluation activities for the Raising the Bar and Latino Multifamily Group projects are reported separately - see their respective pages in Resources.

Consultation on VNR's evaluation activities has been provided by Special Service to Groups, as part of a Los Angeles County Management Support Organization Evaluation Initiative, supported by the California Community Foundation. VNR's current CCF grant provides some limited resources to implement an enhanced evaluation system, including this website section.



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