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Carolyn Appleton

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11 reviews

Review for Port Aransas Art Center, Port Aransas, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I had the pleasure of visiting the Center in January, 2017. Thank heaven, after the devastating hurricane of 2017, the Center survived. This nonprofit had only recently completed construction on its new building, in fact. Happily, the architect and the builder did a great job. The Center sustained only modest hurricane damage, and it was repaired and running again in no time. In fact, the Center has become a meeting place for other organizations in Port Aransas that were less fortunate. One cannot blame them for wanting to meet at the Center! It is new, clean, modern, airy, the art galleries are lovely, and there is plenty of parking. And they continue to offer delightful programs and events. The staff and Board have a very positive attitude. Please donate and support this marvelous community institution!

Role:  General Member of the Public
 

Review for Austin Free-Net, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I met Executive Director Juanita Budd as a volunteer for NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network. Juanita spoke during two digital inclusion programs I attended (one of which I organized), at Google Fiber Space in downtown Austin. Life today has become so technological. You can hardly pay a bill, apply for a job, arrange an appointment or communicate with family and friends without knowing how to use tech devices and computers. Austin Free-Net focuses primarily on residents who are of low income, underserved communities in Central Texas, and AFN teaches them how to use technology and to become digitally literate. Basic skills up to formal IT certifications that allow students to secure basic IT jobs are provided, and there are special programs for women and for seniors. In 2017, I agreed to help Juanita research and apply for grants, and I do so at a reduced rate as a professional nonprofit fundraiser. It is a very fulfilling pursuit and I urge everyone to support AFN going forward.

To read a blog post I wrote about digital inclusion, follow this link to Carolyn's Nonprofit Blog: https://carolynmappleton.com/2017/10/08/digital-inclusion-as-we-race-ahead-lets-be-sure-no-one-is-left-behind/. To review Austin Free-Net's GuideStar gold seal profile: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/74-2743446.

Role:  Volunteer
 

Review for Texas Sealife Center, Corpus Christi, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I met Dr. Tim Tristan back when I was living and working in Corpus Christi, Texas (through fall, 2010). We have kept up ever since on Facebook. Texas Sealife Center is all-volunteer and overseen by trained professional veterinarians. Its work is truly lifesaving, and I cannot fathom how the Center has continued operating with no paid staff. I understand plans for an employee are on the horizon, so stay tuned. The volunteers are incredibly devoted, they work 24-7, and they are handling an ever-increasing number of injured and stranded wildlife along the Texas Gulf Coast, which is why I urge everyone to donate today. You can also find the Center's "wish list" of items on Amazon.com, and you can make Texas Sealife Center your charity of choice on Amazon Smile. There is no more worthy nonprofit to support than Texas Sealife Center!

Role:  Advisor
 

Review for Big Medium, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I first discovered Big Medium while attending a "Austin Green Drinks" sustainability presentation at a neighboring gallery in early 2014. Since then, I have become a regular visitor and volunteer. Located in the Canopy development on Springdale Road, Big Medium has a focus on contemporary art and artists in Texas. Big Medium produces the East Austin Studio Tour, West Austin Studio Tour, Texas Biennial, and it hosts innovative exhibitions during the year.

Having several artists as friends, I cannot say enough how important the Big Medium tours and exhibitions are to them. They are truly invaluable. I have also found the Big Medium staff to be very friendly and genuinely supportive of artists of all walks of life and all artistic styles. Their approach is "real" and refreshing. They take risks. I like that.

Another aspect of Big Medium is that it provides affordable studio space to artists, and partners with various organizations in Texas, "to help foster the arts and facilitate an inclusive cultural dialogue between artists and their communities." Big Medium director Shea Little has mentioned to me more than once his interest in more affordable housing for artists in Austin, and similar to the plight of many Austin-area musicians, this is truly a critical need.

Role:  Volunteer
 

Review for Freedom Flyers, Burnet, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

While lending my professional assistance to Freedom Flyers, I helped the organization establish a GreatNonprofits profile. What a wonderful experience. One "reviewer" could not complete a review on her own, and hence, her testimonial came via email from her daughter, who lives in North Carolina. This note sums up my feelings about Freedom Flyers and is very inspiring: "My name is Nelda Nadine Clark. I am 92, and a WWII Navy veteran. I had the awesome experience of flying in the P51 Mustang. It was the experience of a lifetime. They were all so kind to help me in and out of the cockpit [Nelda has mobility issues]. Thank you for the excitement during my flight. My daughter is writing this for me!"

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

Give it more money.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

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

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2016

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field
 

Review for TEXSAR: Texas Search and Rescue, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

When I first learned about TEXSAR, I was genuinely amazed. Since 2005, this highly-trained and motivated group of 180+ volunteers has been saving lives in the face of grave danger - in the midst hurricanes, floods and wildfires, to being in rough and remote regions of Texas where they have helped find missing persons. I had the unique opportunity to observe a search for two missing children in August, 2015. TEXSAR volunteers are well organized, attentive to detail, tightly coordinated amongst themselves, and they are sensitive to the needs of family members in crisis. I can say without hesitation, knowing TEXSAR exists makes me feel safer. I urge everyone to check out the TEXSAR website for more information and to donate.

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

All TEXSAR needs is investment of capital. Thanks to Jimmy Buffett and others, TEXSAR is hiring its first paid employee in 2015 and bringing its administrative functions in-house. But TEXSAR also needs a facility to consolidate its life saving equipment in one location (it is safely stored today but in a variety of places), and it needs more equipment (from medical supplies and a heavy duty brush truck, to Garmin GPS units for its K-9s, and a command trailer). Contact them for more information!

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

Role:  Advisor
 

Review for The Conservation Fund, Arlington, VA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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!

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

Role:  Volunteer
 

Review for Boy Scouts Of America, Corp Christi, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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.

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

Role:  Client Served
 

Review for North American Butterfly Association Inc, Morristown, NJ, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Role:  Volunteer
 

Review for Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Conservation Foundation, Sinton, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Role:  Client Served
 

Review for NON-PROFIT TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRISE NETWORK, Portland, OR, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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!

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

Role:  Volunteer