This month, we’d like to recognize Roger Campana as our Featured Fellow. Roger has been with Schoolyard Farms for 15 months, and we’re incredibly proud of the work he’s done. Read his reflection on his fellowship:
For my fellowship, I’ve been working with Schoolyard Farms. I might have one of the longest Encore Fellowships—going on 15 months as of now. That’s partly because I’ve been able to parse my time on the several projects that I’ve been working on to get the most bang for the buck. My basic mission was to help provide infrastructure and direct help with fundraising. Surprisingly, I’ve not actually worked on the farm all that much. The first several months I helped create strategic and marketing plans for Schoolyard Farms. I then looked at ways to help our development process. Through networking with my Encore Fellow colleagues, I found out about Salesforce’s “Power of Us” program which gives ten free licenses to nonprofits. This project is the biggest and ongoing project that I’ve done in my fellowship. Taking the organization from paper and spreadsheets to a disciplined database was certainly a challenge. However, this has given us useful, correlated information we now use in development. Now I’m not only maintaining and researching for better tool integration with Salesforce, I’m actually doing quite a bit of fundraising as well. I’ve beaten the pavement soliciting in-kind donations from local businesses, making phone calls, and also some simple grant writing.
This fellowship has no similarity whatsoever to my previous life in the Tech Industry with Intel Corporation. First, of course, the nonprofit world is much different in terms of culture, speed and configuration. Nonprofits seem to run on what I call collaborative goodwill versus the incentivized determination in the corporate world. Culturally it seems to me that nonprofits are much more laid back to cultivate the collaboration, and one must have patience for the work to come to fruition. That said I’m certainly glad I signed on for the fellowship as it’s a great view of a world I had no experience in before. My biggest “Aha!” moment was when I realized that nonprofits basically run on decisions by committee. This may vary in strength from NP to NP, but boards are much more involved in the day to day operation, at least from what I’ve seen in the smaller NPs.
One of the things I wanted to do when I retired was to give back to the community at large. I wanted to do something that very directly helped the nonprofit’s constituents. I think I found that in my current fellowship with Schoolyard Farms. I’m planning on staying on with them, as they need me, to help continue their noble mission.” I would definitely do this again.