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Capacity Building Spotlight: Downtown Churches United

On September 14th, an eager crowd of funders, board members and nonprofit staff gathered at the Cameron Foundation to watch “Investment Plan” presentations from five local nonprofits who had just undergone a major capacity building evaluation.  Funded by Cameron, the nonprofits were able to go through a cohort-based “Organizational Improvement Process” (OIP) offered by the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence over the past six months.


Photo Credit: The Cameron Foundation

OIP gave the nonprofits an in-depth look at infrastructure, operational effectiveness and sustainability, including directional strategies.  Executive Directors and Board members took online assessments, attended workshops, partnered with a consultant and learned from peer organizations during the process.

The five participating nonprofits were:

Here’s a snapshot of the Downtown Churches United Investment Plan:

Downtown Churches United, Incis a union of the faith community and other human service organizations responding to community needs.  They aspire to be a one-stop-service center for human services, for the citizens of Petersburg.  Harold Sayles said that “The OIP Assessment process allowed the Board to work together for the same goal, made the agency re-evaluate their strategic plan and showed that the Board of Directors and the Executive Director are committed to move in the same direction.”


DCU identified several areas to improve on, without major funding, that will allow the agency to grow and improve on service delivery like Fiscal Management, Fund Development and Fundraising.

As far as building capacity for the organization, the top priorities lie in their programming and becoming a true “one-stop” service center, increasing awareness of their brand in order to become financially self-sufficient and sustainable, building a highly capable staff and recruiting new board members and building capacity of current board members.


Here are their funding priorities for the next year:

  • Infrastructure ($11,000)
  • Fundraising & Marketing ($27,000)
  • Programs ($27,000)

Next Steps include hiring a part-time bookkeeper, strategic planning and restructuring Board Committees.

Stay tuned for more Capacity Building and Investment Plans from the other local nonprofits!

See Al-A-Mo Addiction Recovery Center

See Colonial Heights Food Pantry



The Organizational Improvement Process provides a proven-framework for helping our nonprofit partners invest in organizational learning and development to move their missions forward. Nonprofit capacity building is an ongoing process that requires commitment, resources and expertise to grow and advance for greater impact. All of the organizations that participate in OIP found value in taking a step back to assess strengths and opportunities for growth in order to approach the future with an informed perspective. The partnership with The Cameron Foundation has been invaluable in offering such a meaningful opportunity to five dynamic organizations that are poised to leverage this experience to open new doors and engage in conversations about what it takes to strengthen organizations that provide such important resources and services to our community. Investors should feel confident in knowing that OIP participants are committed to strengthening their sustainability, impact, and success.

Jenay Barbee, Organizational Solutions Senior Manager, Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence


One thought on “Capacity Building Spotlight: Downtown Churches United

  1. Jenay Barbee and Downtown Churches United,

    This is great work that you all are doing!

    I am a clergy organizer for rapid transit, which is a sister organization to RVA Rapid Transit. We are a non-profit, faith based organization, that is interested in connecting metropolitan Richmond (Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover) by a regional rapid transit system. For starts this system would more than double the access to jobs and provide public access to institutions of higher learning throughout the richmond region. You can find out more about us by visiting http://www.metrocrt.org and http://www.rvarapidtransit.org.

    We would love to do a presentation at you all’s next event. Please let me know how we can make this happen. If you need to you can reach me at dominic@rvarapidtransit.org or by dialing 804-252-1543.

    Thanks and talk to you soon,

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