Cathie Anderson: Consultant aims to boost donations to charity

Published: Tuesday, May. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 22, 2012 - 10:39 pm

As chief executive of regional "action tank" Valley Vision, Susan Frazier put wheels under plenty of big ideas and got them going.

Her successes include helping create a blueprint for how the Sacramento region should grow and taking a regional business development plan from concept to implementation.

Frazier left Valley Vision in 2008 and hung out a shingle as a consultant. She told me the role has allowed her to choose only projects that inspired her passion. If, like me, you thought that was code for hammock time, just wait until you hear about her first project with regional scope.

She is leading the GiveLocalNow campaign, trying to persuade local residents to increase donations to regional nonprofits.

The region's charitable giving lags U.S. averages, according to a survey prepared for the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, even among the highest-paid residents.

Frazier is seeking volunteers who view the work of nonprofits as crucial to the area's quality of life. Email susan@givelocalnow.org to volunteer or share ideas.

"I want people to get engaged," she said. "I want really good ideas, creative ideas. Then I want them to be willing, with the project team's support, to carry them out."

All aboard

Chaez Boswell has worked with teenagers since he was a 15-year-old senior at the Elk Grove district's Florin High School.

He volunteered at a local not-for-profit agency that treated teenagers struggling with mental health conditions and substance abuse, then worked there through his first two years at Sacramento State.

Now 30 years old, Boswell has consulted with school districts and colleges around the nation on youth development. You might expect that he would have been recruited to the board of a nonprofit organization that shared his goals, but he wasn't until he participated in Sacramento's Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program. The 10-month fellowship immerses young business people in civic leadership and more.

"There is a real sense of community engagement in NELP," Boswell said. "It's one of the strongest values that we have, not just at the level where you say you want to be involved but actually encouraging you to step up and put yourself in that position."

Because of the Nehemiah program, Boswell attended many community events, and it was at one of them that he ran into the founder of the nonprofit where he had volunteered as a teenager. He had several talks with Vannessa Lindsey of Another Choice, Another Chance, leading him to join her board of directors. Today, he chairs the group.

Boswell also had joined the board of the VIBE Foundation, which runs a youth lounge and career center at 1725 K St. A year or so into his tenure, the director resigned for personal reasons.

The board hesitated to hire a permanent director until they had more funds. Boswell presented his ideas on how the agency could execute its mission for events and training. His fellow board members asked him to step in as interim director two months ago.

"One board position connected me with my past," Boswell said, "and the other determined my future."

Boswell is one of many Nehemiah fellows leading area nonprofits. Go to www.nelpleaders.org by June 15 to nominate a candidate for the program.

In and outta Folsom

The Snook family – parents Ray and Ann and children Grace and Joel – opened up a Dickey's Barbecue Pit franchise Thursday at 1016 Riley St. in Folsom. "Grace worked for Dickey's and … when it came time for the family to choose a franchise there was no question — it had to be Dickey's," said Kate Morganelli, writing from Dickey's home base in Dallas. … Tahoe Joe's has closed its restaurant on Blue Ravine Road in Folsom, a company spokesman said, because the market area has shifted away from that location. The Fresno-based company's Roseville location, 1905 Taylor Road, remains open.

Editor's note: This column was changed May 29 because it incorrectly stated that Susan Frazier left Valley Vision last year and that GiveLocalNow is her first project. She left in 2008, and this project is her first with regional scope.

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