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RAP Newsletter Vol. 18 - March  2018






"Morning Sunrise in the Coachella Valley" as captured by Eva Guenther-James, RAP Grants Manager. 



Newest RAP Board Members


The RAP Foundation Board of Directors recently added two new members, bringing the total to 20.







Elizabeth Romero, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Government & Community Relations at the University of California, Riverside and Valerie Hudson, a Forensic Technician with the City of Blythe, bring a wealth of talent and community commitment to the Board.


Elizabeth served as an intern for the late Fourth District Supervisor Roy Wilson as early as 2002, and has served in a variety of increasingly significant public service positions between that early internship and her current position.


"My desire to serve on the RAP Foundation Board of Directors dates back to my internship with Supervisor Wilson," the Eastern Coachella Valley native said. "I observed the impact that RAP makes to the Coachella and Palo Verde Valleys and thought, 'one day, I'd like to be on that board.'"


Over the years, she has been involved in numerous issue areas that are directly linked or intersectional to RAP's mission, including healthcare, educational equity and access, reproductive and women's right, environmental justice, civic management and governmental advocacy.


Elizabeth holds a Masters of Politics, Economics and Business, Claremont Graduate University, and the list of board memberships and community service positions she has held or currently holds is far too lengthy to detail here. She currently is President of the Riverside County Board of Education, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Desert Regional Medical Center, to name a couple.




In addition to her role as forensic technician for the City of Blythe, Valerie Hudson is a part-time instructor for Palo Verde Community College.


Prior to serving as forensic technician for the Blythe Police Department, she was the Executive Director for the Blythe Police Activities League, and she served as a member of the California Police Activities League Board of Directors. She also served as President and Secretary of the Colorado River Sheriff Station Search and Rescue Team.


"I promise to do my best to be an asset to the RAP Board and to represent the City of Blythe," she said. "I feel that I have a great working relationship with many members of the City of Blythe staff, city council, the mayor and the members of the Palo Verde Unified School District which can benefit both the Foundation as well as the City of Blythe."


Valerie also holds too many area positions to fully account for here.



Spirit of Rotary Honors RAP's CNA 


Palm Desert Rotary recognizes RAP's Center for Nonprofit Advancement (CNA) for educational resources provided to support nonprofit's effort to develop their management and financial sustainability.


The annual luncheon event will take place on March 27 at the Desert Springs Marriot in Palm Desert.


"The RAP board appreciates the recognition and support of our Center for Nonprofit Advancement's commitment to provide worthwhile programs and services to build the capacity of nonprofits so they in turn can better serve their clients," Mark Moran, RAP Chairman.


We hope you will join us at this event which will benefit youth scholarships and leadership opportunities.


For more information and reservations, please contact Jennifer Loretta, Palm Desert Rotary President at (760) 239-1132.




Joint Association of Funding Professionals (AFP) and CNA Mixer 


AFP and CNA hosted a joint mixer on January 29 at the California Desert Trial Academy- College of Law in Indio.  


Over 100 nonprofit professionals attended the mixer which featured the following three speakers and topics:  Bill Ballas' Fundraising 101/Annual Giving, Paula Kennedy's Sr. Executive Level and  Eve Fromberg's Board Development.  We look forward to the next mixer in March.


Eve Fromberg facilitating discussion 



Great turnout at joint AFP & CNA Mixer 



Andy Goodman: A Resource Your Organization Needs


The Regional Access Project has a lofty Vision: "An enhanced quality of life for all residents of eastern Riverside County."


In order to attempt to reach that Vision, it employs a wide variety of tools, from grantmaking to workshops, from office space to seminars. The list goes on.


One of the most important of RAP's assets comes in the form of an inspirational speaker and author by the name of Andy Goodman. Best known for his workshops on "storytelling," presenting and strategic communications.


RAP has used his unique skills, his ability to communicate the power of storytelling to nonprofit leaders, as a speaker for RAP's series of communication seminars and other training sessions.


But let Webb Weiman, executive director of the local nonprofit "Jump," tell his story about Andy Goodman, after having attended a training session by Andy on Jan. 11, 2018 hosted by RAP's Center for Nonprofit Advancement program.


"WOW! As much as I thought I knew about Story Telling, think again!" Webb says. "Andy Goodman certainly is the real deal and thank you for bringing him to the Desert. It was a game changer."


(In case you're wondering "My Jump, Inc." is a nonprofit headquartered in Indian Wells, with the goal "We help seniors achieve what's left on their bucket list.")


There is so much more to the Andy Goodman story that should be told. He is a nationally recognized author, speaker and consultant. He's been invited to speak at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs, and at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. In 2008, he founded the Goodman Center with Lipman Hearne to further his goal of reaching more nonprofits and other agencies through online classes.


Andy also serves on the Board of Directors of Imagine LA, and he is currently developing a course on storytelling skills for the new African Leadership University.


In other words, the next time Andy Goodman is scheduled as a speaker or to conduct a training session, you will be doing yourself and your organization a big favor by attending.





And  Here Is Yet Another Nonprofit Benefitting From  Collaboration - 

CV Community Tax Services


The Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation may seem like an unlikely nonprofit to be offering free tax services to eastern Coachella Valley residents, but that is exactly the case with MMCDC's Coachella Valley Community Tax Services.


MMCDC has been providing free tax preparation for more than 10 years in Minnesota, and three years ago, perceiving a need for such services here in the desert, they began offering income-qualified residents with this benefit.


"We provide free tax preparation and are looking to expand to provide financial education to complement the tax service," says Sarah Castro, Program Director for CV Community Tax Services. "An important part of our tax service is to fully explain the tax return, so that a taxpayer understands their own return and may be able to do it themselves in the future."


For more than 40 years, MMCDC has been providing capital resources and innovative ideas to assist in successful business and community development throughout Minnesota and the Midwest. The organization's expansion into the Coachella Valley is a welcome addition.


"RAP Foundation has helped us become more connected in the community and our partners are helping us market the program," Sarah says. "We have been on Univision, Spanish TV and partners have posted us on their social media. We have U.S. Bank intake volunteers at our Coachella sites."


Sarah says they recruit students from College of the Desert, Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert campus and members of the community interested in volunteer tax preparation. Bilingual volunteers are also recruited.


To qualify, residents must earn less than $60,000.


For more information, contact Sarah Castro at (218) 844-7027, or visit the website,








CEO Report


Lety De Lara, CEO

First of all I want to thank you, our nonprofit stakeholders, for your interest in learning what is new at RAP. I know there is always so much to do, emails and phone messages to respond to and many Newsletters to read. We hope our Quarterly Newsletter highlights our activities and provides useful information about our services to help improve our communities.


We are disappointed to have had two of our board members, Tricia Gehrlein and Annica Meza-Dawe step down from the RAP board earlier this year owing to their time commitments. We are grateful to for the time they devoted to RAP in the last few years and hope to have them participate in one form or another in our future activities.


We welcome our two newest board members Valerie Hudson and Elizabeth Romero who were appointed at the January Annual Meeting. Both board members are familiar with RAP and are eager to contribute their ideas and thoughts as we venture towards future opportunities....


RAP is proud to partner with the following organization which we have recently awarded funding to:

  • California Care Force for the March 23-26 Free Medical Clinic at the Indio Fair Grounds

  • Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation for the East Coachella Valley Leadership Institute

  • The Indio Rotary's Regional Math Day

  • The Annual Senior Inspiration Luncheon on April 20

  • The Galilee Center

  • One Future Coachella Valley's "The Future is Ours Celebration" promoting the FAFSA completion for high school students.

 There is so much going on with RAP's Center for Nonprofit Advancement program! Many of you receive the bi-weekly E-blasts with many, many announcements for our nonprofits including future events, job opportunities and CNA training opportunities.  We hope this information is beneficial.


In addition, we currently have affordable office and cubicle space available for rent at our facility. Feel free to contact Mireya Reyes at if you would like more information.  


As always, we look forward to continuing to support our local nonprofits in their ongoing efforts to improve the lives of our residents


Lety De Lara, CEO



Interested In Signing Up for Desert Fast Pitch 2018?    Read on...


As you may know, RAP has hosted the Desert Fast Pitch for five years.  However, this year we are changing the event to include training in some other key areas important to nonprofits.  We are inviting organizations interested in competing for cash grants to participate in training sessions. 


The Center for Nonprofit Advancement (CNA) program will by hosting trainings in Communications, Marketing, Social Media, and Branding - Public Relations in the next few months.


The 2018 Desert Fast Pitch launched its first training on January 11 with Andy Goodman's Communications.  If you missed out on this excellent training, it is not too late to participate.  There will be additional training sessions, prior to the actual Fast Pitch competition later this Fall.


If your organization has not participated in the competition in the past three years, you are eligible to participate.  Also, if you are interested in attending the trainings but not in participating in Desert Fast Pitch, that's certainly acceptable. 


"I am excited about the changes we are making to Desert Fast Pitch to focus on increasing the skills on nonprofit professionals," says John Epps, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (CNA).  "We know these services help them to contribute to the future growth and sustainability of their respective organizations.This year's event will increase the value to those participating and also allow us to open up the training opportunities to more organizations."


Participants will be expected to incorporate the skills they learn in all trainings in their final presentation.  The Semi-Finals will be held in October and the Finals will be held in November. 


Contact John Epps at for more information about Desert Fast Pitch and the future training topics, dates and location.   



Center for Nonprofit Advancement (CNA) Corner


John Epps, CNA Director.


CNA is offering ongoing resources to help develop nonprofit professionals.   If you are not aware of the Clinics, you may be missing out on a great opportunity. You will learn key skills and strategies through an effective combination of group and one-on-one instruction with experts. The four clinics: 1) Startup, 2) PR Strategies, Marketing & Advocacy, 3) Funding and 4) Human Resources are each offered once a month, as listed, and they all take place at RAP's Center for Nonprofit Advancement facility located at 41550 Eclectic St., Palm Desert.



The goal of the clinics is to serve as a resource to help organizations identify solutions to the problems that they need to address today and to develop the skills they need to operate more effectively in the future. Our intention is to empower the nonprofits we serve to have the impact they want to have in their communities.


"Startup" Clinic - 2nd Friday of each month at 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

  • Forming the Organization

  • Applying for Exemption

  • Nonprofit Essentials

PR Strategies, Marketing & Advocacy Clinic 1st Thursday of each month at 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

  • Marketing Plan

  • Press Releases

  • Content Development

Funding Clinic - 4th Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

  • Develop a Funding Plan

  • Research

  • Proposal Writing Assistance

Human Resources Clinic - 2nd Thursday of each month at 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

  • Compensation Issues

  • Performance Reviews

For more information and to schedule an appointment contact today.


RAP's Upcoming Community Forums in partnership with Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez


As many of you may know, the RAP board of directors has been focusing on funding mental health programs for the last four years. Initially in 2014, funding priorities were established by the RAP board based on input from mental health stakeholders including mental health professionals, community leaders and nonprofits providing mental health services and were revisited and modified in 2016.


It is time for RAP to once again ask your assistance in formulating our funding goals to address Mental Health or possibly expanding the scope to Behavioral Health. This year, we are partnering with Supervisor V. Manuel Perez's Blue Ribbon Behavioral Health Committee to host four community meetings throughout our service area, from Palm Springs to the Blythe communities.


The meetings will take place:


March 13 at 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM at RAP Foundation, room 103, Palm Desert


March 19 at 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM at Riverside County Workforce Development Center Room 402, Indio


March 27 at 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at the Cathedral Center Community Room, Cathedral  City 


March 29 at 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM at the Boys & Girls Club, Community Room, Mecca


April 3 at 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM at Borrego Community Health in Desert Hot Springs


April 5 at 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM -at Desert AIDS Project, Library, Palm Springs


April 12 at 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM at Riverside University Health Systems- Behavioral Health (RUHS-BH) Clinic, Blythe


You can RSVP to Eva Guenther-James at or contact her should you have any questions.


Wells Fargo Awards Grant to Center for Nonprofit Advancement


Karen Suarez, Community Development Officer for the Inland Empire presents check to RAP Chairman Mark Moran and CNA Director John Epps at the January 24 meeting.


RAP's Center for Nonprofit Advancement (CNA) program was awarded a $25,000 grant to support capacity-building efforts in eastern Riverside County.


Supporting Nonprofits' Search for Grants


RAP provides two free online research services.


The Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on institutional philanthropy and serves grant seekers, grant makers, researchers, policy makers, the media and general public.


And Grant Station provides additional funding sources including Federal, State and regional grants.


These online resource services are available to nonprofits and can be easily viewed at the RAP office. Contact John Epps at   or call at 760 674-9992 to make a reservation.



RAP's Center for Nonprofit Advancement facility located at 41550 Eclectic St.  in Palm Desert and





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