Take the Race to Lead Survey TODAY!

The Building Movement Project is pleased to announce the launch of the 2019 Race to Lead Survey. This short, confidential survey is open to anyone working for pay in the U.S. nonprofit sector. It focuses on experiences at work, views of leadership, and perspectives on nonprofits and race. By participating, you will contribute to one of the largest existing data sets on race and leadership in the nonprofit sector, and will help inform the next round of Race to Lead reports. The survey should take about 25 minutes to complete.

To thank you for your time, survey participants can enter a raffle to win one of six prizes:

  • Grand prize $250 Amazon.com gift certificate
  • One of five $100 Amazon.com gift certificates

Please take this survey before it closes on Aug 28


Please share this survey with your networks. Here is some sample social media language to get you started:

  • Twitter: Don’t miss this chance to MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Take the #RacetoLeadSurvey from @BldingMovement today and let us know what it’s really like to work at your #nonprofit. bit.ly/RacetoLeadSurvey
  • FacebookThe last #RacetoLeadSurvey from @BuildingMovementProject resulted in the popular #RacetoLead report series (www.racetolead.org). This summer, the #RacetoLeadSurvey is BACK! Don’t miss your chance to contribute to one of the largest existing data sets on race and leadership in the #nonprofit sector. bit.ly/RacetoLeadSurvey

We’ve also created a google drive with visuals to include with your posts, a full media packet with even more ideas for sharing the survey with your network, and instructions for taking the survey itself.

Get your board moving together toward greater engagement with BoardsWork!

BoardsWork! is a highly effective and cost-efficient way to get your board moving together toward greater engagement, effective service and committed ambassadorship. And if you would like new board members with new skills and new networks, we can provide at least one new board member who has received at least 8 hours of training in board governance.

The program for nonprofits includes a custom four-hour retreat with dynamic facilitators, preceded by a governance assessment and board survey. Then your whole board receives 20% off Bayer Center classes for a full year (for further training on areas critical to your nonprofit).

Pricing is heavily subsidized from corporations and foundation support (80% discount) with a final cost of $250 for organizations under $1M operating budget, and $500 for those over $1M.

Sally Power, Executive Director of Treasure House Fashions told us, “Our experience EXCEEDED my expectations, and I felt the time was an excellent investment in our understanding, our relationship as a board, and in preparation for this stage of our growth! Our facilitator did an outstanding job, and I’m positively giddy with anticipation for our next steps!”

Local companies drive the matching portion of the program by sponsoring their employees to attend the BoardsWork! training and be matched to a nonprofit board. You may know people with influential positions in companies who have employees who would be great nonprofit board members. The company not only gives back to the community, but their employees get leadership opportunities that both engage and develop them.

The next training dates for business volunteers to learn all about nonprofit board governance are Sept 10 and November 6. We’d love to make some new connections and reach more nonprofits!

Personalities of Pittsburgh: Wendy Burtner-Owens with Steeltown Entertainment Project

By   – Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times on 

Photo by The Pittsburgh Business Times

Wendy Burtner-Owens worked for years in the nonprofit world before getting the lead role for one of Pittsburgh’s best-known film production promotion groups, Steeltown Entertainment Project.

For years, she lived in Virginia, working with nonprofit information clearinghouse GuideStar USA Inc., leading the CarMax Foundation and serving as COO for a bereavement camp. Her nonprofit expertise led her to Steeltown and helped land her in the top position about six months ago, taking over the role formerly held by Carl Kurlander.

A Butler native, Burtner-Owens boomeranged back to the region from Virginia to find a changed city from what she remembered. We caught up with her about Steeltown and what her favorite movie is that was made in Pittsburgh.

What prepared you the most to lead Steeltown?
The workforce and economic development. And really getting an understanding of what a region needs and is looking for. That role. But also leading a variety of different kinds of nonprofits. Steeltown isn’t your typical nonprofit, you could say. The fact that I had an opportunity to meet and work with lot of people and actually lead some different types of nonprofits I think was very helpful.

Is there a typical nonprofit?
That’s a good point. I think when people think nonprofit, they think charity, you know. And it’s helping the hungry. And animals with Sarah McLachlan, you know. Feed the Children. Those kinds of things. But obviously there are all different kinds of nonprofits. Sometimes people don’t know Steeltown is a nonprofit.

What is Steeltown today, and how does it differ from what it was in the past?
Steeltown today is really focusing on two things, but they are very related. It’s education and digital media arts, independent filmmakers, specifically. So we’re looking at high school programs, and we have a couple of adult programs under the education title. And then we are really just starting to talk to independent filmmakers again. We had the Film Factory, which was the screenwriting competition several years ago. It was before my time here. … Now we’re taking a look at (independent filmmakers) and saying, “okay what do you guys need here? As a community, what can we do for you?”

What are your biggest goals for Steeltown?
So I think right now I’m really focused on the filmmaker side of it. What can we do that we’re not doing? Is there a gap there now that these filmmakers are feeling? And then looking at the kids. I think that we’ve identified there that it’s serving more kids. And we talked to some people in different neighborhoods around Pittsburgh about coming in and doing (our) program.

Is there a void that you think you need to fill with what’s happened with Pittsburgh Filmmakers, which has cut back and faced challenges?
That’s what we want to find out. I think that’s what we’re hearing. Individuals are kind of saying to me, “hey, can you do this?” … But you have to look at again, and is it doable? If it didn’t work the first time around with another organization, then should we pick up a broken program and try to implement it? I really want to talk to the filmmakers and say what do you really need us to be doing? That we’re not doing already.

Is it common for nonprofits to get themselves in over their heads with whatever they’re trying to do?
That’s the nature of nonprofits. People who start nonprofits have missions. Big dreams. They want to eradicate diseases. They want to help people. They want to help animals. Just by their very nature of how it starts. I think the answer to your question is yes. The biggest limiting factor that you’ll see again and again is funding. I think that’s true on the business side, too, though, when you talk about entrepreneurs who have these wonderful ideas for these great products and services and they can’t convince an investor or a bank to lend them money. It’s a very similar kind of thing. And if you don’t have a good plan and you don’t have good budgeting and you’re not paying attention, then it can get overwhelming. And sometimes something happens that is completely out of your control. Nonprofit founders in particular, but most people attracted to working in the nonprofit sector, tend to dream big and tend to be kind of optimists at heart.

Title: President and CEO, Steeltown Entertainment Project
Education: B.A., human service administration, Chatham University
Residence: South Side
Family: Son, Teddy, 23
Causes: Board, Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse
Interests: Reading; volunteer for the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University


Just a few seats left for Excel Classes on June 27

These classes are fully-hands on and almost sold out with just ONE seat left for the full Excel Day and 3 seats left for Introduction to Excel only. We’ll also be offering “Advanced Excel” this fall, so stay tuned and brush up on those Excel basics skills now!

Instructor: Sarah Thurston, Allegheny Department of Human Services

Excel Day: Introduction to Excel
Thursday, June 27 from 9 a.m. – noon
Learn Excel basics in the morning session, including worksheet creation, formula creation, cell formatting using “mouse pointers,” absolute cell references, and printing your worksheet.

Excel Day: Intermediate Excel
Thursday, June 27 from 1 – 4 p.m.
Learn more about Excel in the afternoon, including worksheet template creation and use, using functions, creating links between worksheets, database features, and chart creation and formatting.

Fee: $65 each or $115 for both classes. Don’t delay – register online!



Compliance with Employment Laws: Is it Time for an Audit?

Small businesses and nonprofits are increasingly faced with a laundry list of local, state and federal laws that regulate how they hire employees, how they treat employees after they are hired and how they discipline employees.  Because these laws and the interpretations given to these laws by the courts frequently change, businesses and nonprofits should engage an attorney to “audit” their employment practices to ensure they are compliant.  Such audits will decrease the likelihood of employment claims and lawsuits and, if such claims and lawsuits do occur, will increase the likelihood of a successful result.
At a minimum any employment audit by counsel should examine the following subjects:


  • Background Checks. Do your hiring practices comply with federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), state laws such as Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) and the Medical Marijuana Act, and local “ban the box” statutes, all of which may limit the use of a prospective employee’s criminal, medical and credit history?
  • Social Media. What limits exist on your ability to examine a prospective employee’s social media accounts when making hiring decisions?

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS. Handbooks should be updated by counsel at least every 2 years to ensure that the Handbook reflects changes in the laws relating to discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, use of personal cell phones, electronic monitoring and discipline for off-duty activities, including social media.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICIES AND TRAINING.  Despite a 10% overall drop in employment discrimination charges, the EEOC recently reported that sexual harassment claims jumped by 13.6% from the previous year and the Agency obtained a record $56.6 million in settlements and awards for victims of sexual harassment.  These figures demonstrate the lasting impact of the #MeToo movement on the workplace.  To avoid harassment claims from occurring and to best defend such claims if they do arise, counsel should audit your practices to determine:

  • Whether your Handbook unequivocally explains that harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated and whether it includes concrete examples of the types of behavior that will considered harassment;
  • Whether your harassment policy is disseminated to all employees;
  • Whether you consistently enforce your harassment policy;
  • Whether your policy provides a clear method for reporting harassment;
  • Whether you promptly investigate all harassment claims and your policy clearly states that no retaliation will result from reporting harassment; and
  • Whether you conduct annual sexual harassment training for managers and supervisors, along with separate training sessions for all other employees.

WAGE AND HOUR ISSUES. Any audit of your wage and hour practices should address the following issues:

  • Do your exempt employees meet both the salary basis and job duties tests?
  • Are the exemptions you are relying on recognized under both federal and state wage and hour laws?
  • Do your practices relating to unpaid interns and volunteers comply with federal and state regulations governing the legality of such practices?
  • Do your time-keeping practices for non-exempt employees, including rounding, meal breaks and travel time, comply with federal and state laws?
  • Are your non-exempt employees compensated when they provide services from home?
  • Are any persons you classify as independent contractors really employees due to the control you exert over such persons?
  • Do you retain payroll records for the period of time required by law?

NONDISCLOSURE, NONCOMPETES AND NO-SOLICITATION AGREEMENTS.  If employees are required to execute nondisclosure, noncompete and no-solicitation agreements as a condition of their employment, any audit should examine a number of issues, including:

  • Are your Agreements enforceable under the applicable state law, some of which severely restrict an employer’s ability to enforce such Agreements?
  • Do you include the language required by the Defend Trade Secrets Act?
  • Are your Agreements used with all employees, even lower-level workers?

The topics and issues highlighted above are just some of the employment law compliance matters that should be the subject of any legal audit.  As small businesses and nonprofits consider whether to expend the legal resources needed for such an audit, the old adage that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” must always be part of the decision-making process, since the cost of even a single lawsuit is likely to exceed the legal cost of engaging counsel to review and revise your employment policies and assist in the training of your employees.

Larry Silverman, Esq.

The 2019 Wage and Benefit Survey in the News!

The release of the 2019 Wage & Benefit Survey for Southwestern PA Nonprofit Organizations has received its fair share of news coverage. The new data was made public at the Leadership Briefing on February 1 to a full house of survey participants who eagerly discussed the results despite being greeted by a very snowy morning.

Dr. Carrie Tanctraitor chatted with KDKA’s Jon Delano on “The Sunday Business Page” on February 24.

Peggy Morrison Outon discussed gender pay disparity with KDKA News Radio host Lynne Hayes-Freeland on February 1.

Joyce Gannon covered the survey in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on February 1 with her story, “Women still face gender pay gap at Pittsburgh-area nonprofit firms.”

The 2019 survey is available for purchase. The cost is $200 for nonprofits with budgets under $2M, and $300 for nonprofits with budgets over $2M.  Visit our research page on our website to find out how to purchase the survey, and to see previous iterations of the survey for the last ten years.

Join PACE and BCNM for our free “Daring to Lead” series

The “Daring to Lead” research conducted by Building Movement Project and introduced to Pittsburgh by the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE) asks provocative questions about equity access and justice in our social justice sector. Join PACE and The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management as we explore this research further in this series and seek to bring greater opportunities to Pittsburgh nonprofits by insisting on practices that promote fairness.  Both sessions are FREE, but RSVP is required and space is limited. Register online today!

Picking Up the Gauntlet: The Board’s Role in Achieving Greater Racial Equity in Leadership
Tuesday, March 5 from 4 – 7 p.m. at Co-Lab 18
In 2018, the Nonprofit Quarterly magazine challenged Pittsburgh’s nonprofit sector to use the impending retirement of nonprofit executives (who are primarily white) to increase the numbers of leaders of color. In this hands-on workshop, we will examine the cause as well as the effect and craft a Pittsburgh response to the challenge.
Instructor: Luci Dabney, Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise  

Working with Our Foundation Allies: Equity in Grantmaking
Friday, April 12 from 9 – 11 a.m. at The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
The pursuit of equity in grantmaking is crucial in our community. Many generous gifts from foundations have often secured the future for nonprofits in our region, but how do they ensure that they are using a racial equity lens to determine their grantmaking? In this discussion, we’ll talk to foundation leaders who pay disciplined attention to race and ethnicity while still analyzing problems, looking for solutions, and defining success for an excellent return on investment.
Conversationalists: Peggy Outon, Bayer Center; Carmen Anderson, the Heinz Endowments and Michele Cooper, McAuley Ministries