Valerie Leonard

Nonprofit Utopia, LLC


Member profile details

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Last Name
Nonprofit Utopia, LLC
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Company Profile

Company Overview
Nonprofit Utopia is the ideal community for emerging nonprofit leaders who want to take their organizations to the next level. This is achieved through consulting, courses, community and coaching. We have created a safe environment in which our members can innovate, speak candidly about the issues and concerns they face on a daily basis, and share ideas and resources.

In preparation for the inevitable transfer of leadership from Baby Boomers to Millennials , we are being intentional about creating an environment within which more experienced leaders and emerging leaders can share knowledge and lessons learned that will elevate the discourse in the nonprofit sector in general, while helping you to strengthen your organization in particular.

Every month, we focus on a specific topic of interest with learning objectives and content that will help our members meet the learning objectives. We have developed a content calendar with specific activities and assignments, assessment tools, videos, discussions and other resources. Members who are able to document the fact that they have completed all assignments and participated in the activities will receive a certificate of completion from Nonprofit Utopia.
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--Organizational Assessment
--Capacity Building
--Collaborations and Strategic Alliances
--Policy Advocacy
--Board Development
--Strategic Planning
--Program Development

--Emerging Leaders
--New Nonprofit Founders

Courses On Demand and Live

Online Community
Practice Areas (select top 3)
  • Board Support (Development, Governance, Retreats, Training)
  • Capacity Building
  • Leadership and Professional Development
  • Organizational Development
  • Policy Analysis and Advocacy
  • Strategic planning
  • Volunteer Management
  • Writing/Editing
Client List
MacArthur Foundation/Lever for Change
University of Illinois At Chicago Certificate in Nonprofit Management
Westside Community Development Collaboration, Inc.
Loving Connections, Inc.
Habilitative Systems, Inc. (HSI)
AMPT Chicago
Daughter of Destiny
The Monroe Foundation

Publications & Articles

Article 1
The Soft Underbelly of Collaboration
Article 2
Whose Project Is It, Anyway? In Search of Equitable Collaboration
Article 3
13 Common Reasons The IRS Says "No"

Speaker's Bureau Information

Speaker Bio
Hi, I’m Valerie Leonard. I am the founder of Nonprofit Utopia, LLC, where I facilitate an online community, provide leadership coaching and consulting services. I am the host and producer of the Nonprofit Utopia Podcast, inviting nonprofit thought leaders to share lessons learned and the latest developments in the nonprofit sector.

I have been working with nonprofit organizations for over 20 years, in some form or fashion. In one life, I was a financial analyst, helping the CFO of a major hospital system arrange nearly $120 million in bond financings to cover major expansion projects. In another life I was the founding executive director of a small neighborhood grantmaking organization, using small grants to help residents develop the leadership skills they needed to take control of their economic environment. I have leveraged those experiences and lessons learned to launch my own consulting practice, where I help nonprofit leaders to improve their own skills while guiding their organizations to sustainability.

I help nonprofit leaders move the needle on some of their most pressing problems. I help them find the answers to questions like, “How do I start a new organization and stay out of trouble?” “Where can I find good board members who will buy into the organization’s mission and help raise money?” “ How can we put together a collaborative of other organizations so that we can do more for the community while building our own organizations?” “How can we raise more money?” Over the years, I have helped over 750 people meet their professional goals, and raise over $100 million through grant writing and technical assistance.

I also teach courses in nonprofit management and social enterprise at local universities, giving students the tools they need to immediately apply their learning to their own situations. I’ve been a pretty engaged citizen, working on several social justice issues surrounding education and school improvement; equitable community development and the importance of the Census and how it impacts our everyday lives.
Topic 1
How Long Before Your Nonprofit Runs Out of Cash?
Topic 1 Description
There's no question that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a ripple effect in the world economy. While we cannot control what's going on around us, we can assess our situation, preserve our limited resources to weather the storm and position ourselves for sustainability. This presentation will help you

Determine your current cash position
Forecast your monthly cash flow
Get a grasp for how long your cash could last if no action is taken
Determine how much money you need to get through the immediate crisis and plan for the future
Topic 2
How to Develop a One-Page Strategic Plan
Topic 2 Description
Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope. We will show you how to write a one-page strategic plan that you can use to guide your organization, inform programs and share with your board, funders and other community stakeholders.
Topic 3
The Major Stages of Collaboration
Topic 3 Description
Nonprofit collaboration can take on several forms. Depending on the circumstances and where organizations are in their life cycle, collaboration can be as simple as producing a a joint program, or as complex as a full merger. We will discuss the various forms and structures of collaboration, including informal and formal partnerships, joint ventures and mergers, and instances in which it's most appropriate to use each tool.

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