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Carolyn Appleton

Carolyn Appleton - charity reviews, charity ratings, best charities, best nonprofits, search nonprofits
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7 Reviews

What I want to do

I enjoy being a certified nonprofit fundraising executive!

What matters to me

Advancing the nonprofit sector through well thought-out, responsible, ethical, and considerate fundraising practices.

What inspires me

Donors who not only give financially, but who work tirelessly in the trenches by our sides to accomplish important objectives.

Austin, TX USA

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Ecorise Youth Innovations
September 8, 2014

I discovered EcoRise Youth Innovations in summer, 2013 while reading the Austin EcoNetwork e-newsletter. I drove to Austin to meet with founder Gina LaMotte and EcoRise Board Chair Craig Snook to hear their story, and within a few weeks, I moved to Austin to support its work directly. I am now a volunteer.

EcoRise is a relatively new organization launched in 2008. For the first few years, it was nurtured by the Austin Community Foundation. By the end of 2012, EcoRise was able to become freestanding and to secure its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Despite the economic challenges of the prior few years, EcoRise has continued to grow. It is housed at Center61, an innovative co-working space founded by Steve Wanta.

I have several years of experience working with conservation organizations in Texas, and I have seen many K-12 programs designed to help young people experience and better appreciate nature. I also served 2001 to 2009 on the Texas Environmental Education Partnership Fund Board (appointed and re-appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry for two consecutive terms). That committee - spearheaded initially by the late Richard C. Bartlett of Mary Kay Corporation - sought ways to foster a strong scientific basis for formal and informal environmental education in Texas, as opposed to an emotional approach.

In the end, we came up with a number of ideas that our agency partner, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) adopted, as well as a few other organizations involved in supporting environmental education nationally. But when I discovered EcoRise a few years later in 2013, I felt strongly it was the answer to our search!

EcoRise was founded and continues to be driven by Gina LaMotte. It is an "in-school" program for middle and high school students - not merely an elective or after-school offering. Teachers integrate EcoRise curriculum into their existing STEM courses. Topics range from energy, water, waste, and transportation, to air, food and public spaces. EcoRise curriculum "highlights current science and engineering breakthroughs, while utilizing cutting-edge technologies."

EcoRise believes society must address key environmental issues to ensure the current and future health of our planet. It contends that developing youth eco-literacy and environmental awareness is essential to ensuring a sustainable water supply, promoting clean energy, improving air quality, and developing a culture of public and political support for the protection of environmental resources.

Traditional environmental and outdoors programs, while important contributors to the cause, have not integrated deeply into the fabric of public schools, thereby failing to reach those students who are perhaps most in need of quality environmental programming. At EcoRise the goal is empower students through in-school programming that teaches environmental education through the lens of innovation, design, and social entrepreneurship.

EcoRise is not simply a "kit" that schools purchase and implement on their own. Staffing is provided year-round to train teachers, respond to their ongoing questions, to help them identify business leaders appropriate for classroom visits and student mentoring, to organize field trips, to help organize and implement the year-end student invention showcases and more. Thanks to a grant from Bazaarvoice Foundation, EcoRise curriculum is now available online for ease of access by teachers and to encourage internal networking and information-sharing.

EcoRise students are encouraged to become leaders and creative problem solvers who feel empowered to lead change and make a difference in their schools and communities. Students are exposed to careers in the fields of green technology, sustainable design and social entrepreneurship. EcoRise has also been implemented in a high percentage of Title One (economically disadvantaged) schools. Hence, this is not just a "private school" or elite program.

Recent post-program evaluations are impressive and indicate students significantly increase their knowledge of environmental literacy and sustainability, they feel empowered to lead change and make a difference in their schools and communities, and they have adopt at least one new sustainable behavior. A high percentage of students report becoming interested in "green careers" in architecture, product design, technology, science, and business, to name a few.

EcoRise is based in Austin, and thanks to partner grants from Balcones Resources, The Meadows Foundation and H-E-B, expansion has begun into cities across Texas. I believe EcoRise MUST grow and expand, not just across Texas but nationally and internationally. Environmental education is so much more effective when it occurs as an integral part of the regular school day and over the course of the entire school year. For more information, see ecorise.org.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Quite simply, I would give it more money! That way, new curricula could be added and more schools recruited statewide and nationally.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

MY ROLE:
Advisor

The Conservation Fund
May 27, 2013

My experiences with The Conservation Fund are with the Texas field office (see: http://www.conservationfund.org/places-we-work/texas/). I have known Texas Director Andy Jones and his colleague in the Pineywoods, Julie Shackelford, for more than a decade. Whenever I can provide assistance, I jump at the chance. I only wish I could do more.

What I have witnessed is a no-nonsense, scientific, intellectual, and businesslike approach to habitat conservation. The Conservation Fund is lean and focused. They have also been among the first to adopt new business models in keeping with the times. Their approach is a bit like a SWAT team - they identify the need, and they proceed to fix it. The end.

I have worked for other conservation and wildlife nonprofits over the years, both as a staff member and as a volunteer. The Conservation Fund stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. Whenever I have asked for advice and assistance, they have given it to me without delay and without question. They are not emotional, but they are kind, and they adhere to the highest ethical standards.

Other groups in the conservation arena are quite adept at "feel good" self-promotion, and many are also staff-heavy. The membership you contribute is eaten-up quickly by administrative overhead, and the land and/or species protected are relatively fewer. When asked, I always suggest people contribute to The Conservation Fund. I have the utmost trust in them.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I believe a few more staff might be helpful, particularly in the communications and development arenas. Donors, volunteers, and the general public want and need to know more. The more they know, the more support that can be secured. The Conservation Fund would benefit from more staff dedicated to managing public access to the organization, so the conservation experts can focus on their jobs. Having said that, I can't imagine the organization becoming too staff-heavy. They know what works best!

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

Boy Scouts of America Council
May 15, 2013

I am both a volunteer and a former consultant for the South Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America. I worked with the South Texas Council officially in 2005. During that time, I produced two videos, conducted prospective donor research, developed a VIP prospect mailing list, and designed and wrote three newsletters to this influential list. I also orchestrated initial donor meetings, and wrote a few grant proposals for the Council's capital campaign, to help launch a major gift effort.

I am a big fan of the Boy Scouts of America. My father was a "star" Scout, and his father knew some of the founders of the organization from his work in New Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century. My father raised two little girls - my sister and me - who came to appreciate Scouting "second hand." Dad shared with us many of the incredibly helpful life skills and ethical teachings that he was taught during his days as a Boy Scout.

For a large part of my career, I have worked with environmental and conservation nonprofits. A standout from those experiences is my awareness that there is an urgent, continuing need to educate young people about nature, so that they understand and respect it. "Leave no trace" is one of my favorite BSA mottoes. It would seem to me that the Boy Scouts of America should consider partnering with some of the larger conservation education nonprofits to help address this need. Scouting has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands, many more young people than the conservation organizations have - or could - do on their own.

It has taken several years and the outstanding leadership of several Eagle Scouts who are now successful civic leaders, to finally complete this Council's first major gift effort. They accomplished it during one of the most difficult economic climates our nation has ever faced. Just as the Boy Scout Law requires, the Council's leadership has been: "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, [VERY] brave, clean and reverent."

I understand the Council would like to conduct additional fundraising. I urge everyone to support them. Their longstanding camp needs and deserves additional improvements. Once those improvements are made, they will be able to host more young people in a safe natural environment - not only to learn skills that will carry them successfully through life - but also to learn about and appreciate nature and our shared natural resources. That will ultimately translate into knowledgeable land stewards and intelligent future voters.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I believe this Council to be well-managed. In terms of the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, I encourage them to include gay citizens at all levels of the organization. Thanks to the BSA for taking the first step forward toward inclusiveness (policy to become effective in 2014). A comprehensive write-up from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/boy-scouts-shift-on-gay-youth-ban/2013/06/01/c99d6312-c87b-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html.

More feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Client Served

NORTH AMERICAN BUTTERFLY ASSOCIATION INC
April 29, 2013

I first became acquainted with the North American Butterfly Association and its founding president, Jeff Glassberg, through a mutual friend who is a science advisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jeff was just beginning to lay the groundwork for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. I helped him identify potential funding sources, and to open a few doors.

I have continued to support Jeff and NABA in this fashion for more than a decade. The result is discussed in my Tumblr: http://carolynmappleton.tumblr.com/post/16243336956/national-butterfly-center-this-photo-of-a.

"The 100 acre National Butterfly Center is the premier location in the United States to experience the beauty, drama and emotion of wild butterflies. You will see incredible numbers of kaleidoscopically-colored wild butterflies. The clouds of butterflies are at the National Butterfly Center because, by planting thousands of plants that the butterflies need for nectar and for caterpillar growth, we have created a butterfly paradise that sustains large populations of hundreds of species of wild butterflies.”

I can't say enough good things about NABA, the Center, Jeff Glassberg and his wife, Jane Scott. I recommend supporting NABA highly. This has been one of the most enriching experiences of my nonprofit career.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

ROB & BESSIE WELDER WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
April 20, 2013

I was aware of the Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Conservation Foundation for a decade prior to working with it to help develop the infrastructure for a capital campaign. I had visited the site and met the staff, and always had a marvelous experience during these visits.

In 2008, I worked for a few months to help the staff develop the infrastructure for a capital campaign for a new educational facility.

Highlights:

>Staff members are highly intelligent, committed to science-based environmental education, and they are exceedingly gracious.

>Other, more aggressive nonprofit organizations in the field seem to get more public attention, but this nonprofit is certainly among the most deserving (albeit quieter).

>Their educational work - especially in the K-12 realm - should be expanded. The need for science-based environmental education for this age group is critical. There is simply not enough of it, and WWCF provides this in exceptional quality.

>WWCF facilities are noteworthy from an historic standpoint. It is my hope they will opt for National Register status, and also secure funds for restoration of the now-historic campus.

>WWCF has its own well-managed ranch endowment fund that provides for basic ongoing needs. With a little extra outside support, even more work could be accomplished. I cannot think of a more worthy and safe place to invest your money, if conservation and natural resource education is your area of interest.

More feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Client Served

NON-PROFIT TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRISE NETWORK
April 20, 2013

I became a volunteer for NTEN a few years ago. I was searching online for information about constituent data management systems for two nonprofits with which I was working. I discovered an eye-opening vendor satisfaction report on the NTEN website, and there my adventure began. The report helped make my work much easier, it definitely helped my nonprofits, and soon thereafter I became an NTEN member.

Eventually, I was invited to speak at the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Atlanta, which I enjoyed greatly. I have served on two committees, the NTC Organizing Committee (fundraising track), and the Membership Committee. In 2011, I was honored to receive an NTENy award for my membership recruitment efforts.

The way society communicates and works has changed greatly, and it continues to evolve. NTEN has helped me lose my fear of new technological developments, and to embrace them heartily. The staff is always friendly and helpful.

My volunteer work for NTEN is one of the most enjoyable things I do. My blog is a direct result of my work with NTEN, in fact: http://carolynmappleton.wordpress.com/. If you are not already an NTEN member, I urge you to join!

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

Review from Guidestar
INTERSTATE RENEWABLE ENERGY COUNCIL
October 15, 2012

This nonprofit has, for 30 years, been developing the infrastructure for increased, responsible adoption of renewable energy, from workforce development of the highest caliber to credentialing, solar instructor training, connecting renewables to the grid, and promoting small wind technologies. IREC is solidly run, responsible, and the importance of its work has only grown in the current era. IREC doesn't brag about its work, but in truth, it is a star among nonprofits.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Board Member