Partner Spotlight: Stone Soup Films

Every month, Charge Up spotlights one of our partners doing great work in the community. Check out April’s feature story on Stone Soup Films.

Stone Soup Films, a nonprofit production company based in DC, mobilizes professional talent to produce compelling pro bono films that support nonprofits in communicating more powerfully. In 2008, Liz Norton, a former documentary filmmaker and television producer, founded Stone Soup to address local nonprofits’ marketing challenges. This year, the organization celebrated the production of its 100th film and successfully completed a founder transition.

Stone Soup uses a rigorous application process that vets nonprofits against a number of criteria, including their capacity to use the film as a marketing tool. Stone Soup then leverages talented cameramen, photographers, editors, animators, musicians, and film students who volunteer together to deliver high quality marketing tools to nonprofits for free. Check out Stone Soup’s catalogue of films here:

After nearly a decade after founding Stone Soup Films, Liz announced she would be transitioning into a new role for the organization: Senior Creative Consultant. The organization engaged nonprofit consultant, Elizabeth Workman, formerly of Fair Chance to manage the transition and search process for the next Executive Director. After a four month process, the board unanimously selected Brian Cooke as the next Executive Director.

Brian joins Stone Soup Films after mostly recently serving as the Executive Director of the Armed Forces Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and promoting the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of military service members, veterans, and their families. Prior to nonprofit service, Brian held roles in the private sector, including The Charles Group’s government affairs consulting firm, and the Institute of International Education’s ROTC Language and Culture Program. As an active duty US Army Field Artillery officer, he was a platoon leader and staff officer in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He holds a BA from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and an MA in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Liz notes that, “part of what makes Brian so suited to assume leadership of the organization is the breadth of significant work he has done in organizational capacity building, strategic planning, development, and program management. In all of these capacities, he has a stellar reputation for clarity, insight, and accessibility… Brian will lead our board and staff into a future where Stone Soup Films can best leverage our strengths and skills in storytelling in order to benefit the amazing work of nonprofits as well as the communities they serve.”

Brian began his new role on February 6th. Please join us in welcoming him to our capacity building community.

The Charge Up Collaborative, a partnership of leading nonprofit capacity builders in the greater Washington region, unveiled a new logo and website this week.

Two-thirds of local nonprofit leaders surveyed in 2016 indicated that a comprehensive clearinghouse of capacity building resources would make it easier to identify available capacity building assistance. The website relaunch is part of the Collaborative’s coordinated effort to build a platform that highlights our region’s many capacity building tools, resources, and providers.

“Our region is full of capacity building resources and providers that are ready, willing, and able to help local nonprofits,” says Carlyn Madden, Director of Charge Up Collaborative. “But it is often difficult for small nonprofits to know how to access the services that are available. This website is the first step to ensure that nonprofits across the region access the resources they need to amplify their reach and impact.”

The Charge Up Collaborative partnered with D*MNGOOD, an award-winning creative agency based in Washington, DC, for graphic design and web development. Dan Adler, a Co-Founder and the Executive Creative Producer of D*MNGOOD says, “we thoroughly enjoyed partnering with the Charge Up Collaborative on its rebrand and new website. The modern and timeless logo – a monogram of the letter “C” that doubles as a plug – gives Charge Up flexibility and increased awareness as it heads into the future. It’s always rewarding to do good work for organizations that make a difference in our own backyard.”

Information about the Collaborative’s 16 members can be found under Capacity Building Resources. More tools, resources, and events will be added to the site over time. Please let us know what capacity building topics and resources you would like to see featured!

The Charge Up Collaborative is pleased welcome Board Match®  to Washington, DC. The event will be held on the evening of May 11, 2017, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Board Match® is a networking event that introduces nonprofits to hundreds of business professionals with the goal to place them as board members at local nonprofits. Prospective board candidates come from major companies, professional services firms and public agencies across  the D.C. metro area.

Studies show that community-based nonprofits, on average, are recruiting for three board members at any given time. Recruiting exclusively from current board members’ networks results in a homogenous – rather than diverse – pool of candidates. Nearly 60% of nonprofits surveyed by the Volunteer Center ranked board recruitment as “very difficult.” A study by Charge Up Collaborative identified governance assistance as the most sought after capacity building resource for the region’s nonprofits.

Nonprofits want and need high-quality board members with diverse skills and backgrounds. Companies, professional services firms, and other employers recognize how board service complements their existing corporate social responsibility initiatives and provides personal and professional growth for their employees. Since 2005, Board Match® has connected more than 1,000 San Francisco- and Silicon Valley-based nonprofits to 11,000+ men and women working in finance, management, technology, marketing, and dozens of other professions. With seed funding from Google, the Volunteer Center is undertaking a nationwide expansion, launching in NYC in 2016 and DC and LA in 2017.

Although the formal deadline has passed, applications are still being accepted to fill the few dozen remaining spots. Act fast and apply here. Nonprofit participation fees are $250-$400 based on a budget-based sliding scale.

The event is presented by The Volunteer Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. The Charge Up Collaborative is serving alongside a host committee that includes: the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Catalogue for Philanthropy, DC Bar Pro Bono Center, Fair Chance, Foundation Center, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Sanctuary, Resource Partners, and Volunteer Fairfax. We will have a table at the event. Stop by and see us to learn how your nonprofit could benefit from classes, trainings, and technical assistance programs provided by our network.

We look forward to seeing you at the debut of this board networking, board matching event!

Last summer, the Charge Up Collaborative named Carlyn Madden as its new Director. The Charge Up Collaborative is a partnership of leading nonprofit capacity builders in the Washington, DC area with the mission is to improve the effectiveness and assistance needs of local nonprofits through collective actions; thereby ensuring nonprofits receive high quality support services allowing them to achieve their full potential.

Ms. Madden brings considerable professional experience in the local nonprofit sector, first as a grantmaker and now as a consultant. Her clients have included nonprofits, universities, and government agencies. Her work has spanned a wide range of initiatives, including organizational assessments, strategic plans, community visioning projects, earned revenue models, capital campaigns and other fundraising strategies. Prior to consulting, she served on the senior management team of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, where she advised the agency’s grantmaking for youth and capacity building, policy incentives, key partnerships and programs. She began her career at the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the region’s largest private grantmaker, where she worked with grantees in the areas of community services, health, education and arts.

“Carlyn brings a wealth of experience in the Greater Washington nonprofit sector, as well as an understanding of capacity building from her years as a grantmaker and nonprofit consultant,” said, Suzanne Laporte, President of Compass and a Co–Chair of the Charge Up Collaborative. “The Collaborative members spent last year developing a strategic direction to guide us for the next few years. We are thrilled that Carlyn has come on board to lead the Collaborative at a time when nonprofits are going to be needing all the support they can get.”

“In reality, I have been at the table since the very beginning! I had the great fortune of volunteering on a Compass consulting team the same year that we were testing the feasibility of the Collaborative,” said Ms. Madden. “Since then, Charge Up has evolved into an entity with great power for collective action among the region’s nonprofit capacity building service providers. I am especially grateful to Maria Nagorski, who laid so much of our groundwork as Charge Up’s first director and I look forward to leading the organization into its next phase, where we’ll focus on building awareness of high quality capacity building resources and services around the region.”

Ms. Madden assumed the position October 1, 2016. For questions about the Collaborative or nonprofit capacity building in the Washington region, Ms. Madden can be reached at