No duty is more urgent than giving thanks. James Allen

The Greatest Duty is Giving Thanks

Team NLC Stories

At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, we believe gratitude is one of the secret ingredients to success. During this season of giving, Team NLC reflects on the moments, memories and people we’re most grateful for in 2022. Our deep gratitude extends to you, our nonprofit partners, supporters and community leaders, who help strengthen nonprofit organizations and our communities alongside us every day.

Here’s to the Helpers

“This year, I am especially grateful for the helpers: the teachers, nurses, doctors, volunteers, friends, strangers, power company workers, and people who choose to work in the nonprofit sector. Looking in the rear-view mirror, 2022 was filled with unimaginable challenges and shifts. From a waning pandemic and devastating hurricane in Florida to economic volatility and continued political and social unrest, it was like a game of Whack-a-Mole. Just as one issue or challenge was settled, another would pop up.

“But it was also a year of creative solutions, positive progress, joy and great accomplishments. Although none of us knows what 2023 has in store, no matter the challenge, I look forward to being surrounded by those who want to help, support and make things better. For the helpers, I am profoundly grateful.”

Emily H. Benham, CEO

Image of a car windshield where power trucks are lined up to help after Hurricane Ian

Bright Beginnings

“This year, I am grateful for family time and the opportunity to meet my new great-nephew, delayed by the pandemic. I am also grateful for the joy that a new puppy brings to the home! Wishing all many happy thanksgivings to come.”

Charlie Imbergamo, Director of Strategic Programs

Exploring New Destinations

“Travelling is so important because it allows us to embed ourselves in other cultures and meet locals. After nearly two years, I’m very grateful that COVID-19 travel restrictions to many international destinations were lifted in 2022. I have long wanted to visit Peru, and I had the opportunity to do so this summer. It is a beautiful place full of warm people (and more varieties of potatoes than I could have imagined!).”   

Carina Kleter, Program Associate

Image of a painted wall in Peru with a woman driving by on a scooter

The Epic to the Everyday

“Does it ever get old to say you’re grateful for family and friends? It doesn’t if it’s true, and I have the receipts. You see, I turned to my photos for inspiration. As I scrolled through the images on my phone, the moments I am most grateful for this year are deeply connected to the people I love. The list of images is long and ranges from big life events, like my goddaughter’s wedding, to simple things like walking through my mom’s neighborhood garden. Whether epic or everyday, these captured moments elicit joy, love and a dash of nostalgia. I am indeed grateful for family and friends. Thanks to them and our shared memories, I will enter 2023 with a happy heart.”

Meriel Martínez, Program Director

Image of a sign that says Enter with a Happy Heart

Celebrating New Norms

“This year, I am grateful for an opportunity to start developing new norms. While it feels good to be on the other side of 2020, I’d be remiss if I did not show gratitude for the lessons learned and the new norms it created in my life.

“I no longer take time with my loved ones for granted. Whether I am watching one of my children perform on stage, video chatting with a niece or nephew, or celebrating a milestone with family and friends, I find myself pausing to be present in the moment — in a more intentional way than I ever did before the pandemic. This new norm brings me infinite happiness as I remind myself to find joy in everyday interactions. There’s no need for grand gestures or pre-planned fun; being fully present is enough to make my heart full.

“I am also grateful to be a part of such a strong community dedicated to serving others. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we are social beings. Our interactions and continued care for each other help us survive and thrive. I am fortunate to work in a profession dedicated to serving others. I am also lucky to be an active volunteer with organizations whose missions align with my personal mission. Being deliberate with how I spend my time and energy has increased my quality of life, and I will always be grateful to be able to do what I love with those who enjoy it as much as I do.”

Jamiel Maze, MA, Resource Development Coordinator

Photo of a brother and sister hugging each other in the car
Pictured here are Jamiel’s daughter Mia and son Micah exchanging a hug early one morning at the airport before she returns to school out of state. They have come to really value each other and their time together during the past few years. 

Triumphing Through Challenges

“Looking back on 2022, this year was among the most challenging for me, from concluding a two-year Executive MBA program at the University of South Florida to starting my new role at the Nonprofit Leadership Center. I am grateful for the new friendships I’ve made and for the grace with which my colleagues have embraced me.

“All this is thanks to the support that my husband Rudi and my family provide to me. They are my inspiration and strength in every challenge I embark on. For that, I am especially grateful.”

Amarela Peqini, MBA, Business Operations Manager

Photo of the 2022 Executive MBA graduates from the University of South Florida
Photo of Amarela Peqini and her family, including her husband, mom and dad with Tampa Bay in the background

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Get featured. in the 2022 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide: Submissions due Nov. 18, 2022

Feature Your Organization in the 2022 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide

Team NLC News

Now through Friday, November 18, the Nonprofit Leadership Center is accepting submissions for its 2022 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide. Started in 2019, this festive guide highlights holiday gifts that give back to nonprofit organizations to strengthen our communities.

All you need to complete your submission is the following information:

  • Name of the nonprofit organization
  • Description of the product or service that benefits the nonprofit organization
  • Cost of item(s)
  • Link to learn more and purchase item(s)
  • A photo(s) of the item
  • Your contact information

Please note the following guidelines when submitting a gift(s) for the guide:

  • Gifts/items must be available to purchase online. Gifts only available for local pick-up/purchase will not be included.
  • Gifts with purchase deadlines or expiration dates will not be featured.
  • Submissions should feature actual gifts or items. Submissions highlighting gift certificates, raffle tickets or general donation asks will not be included.
  • Please avoid gifts that may only be relevant to specific religious affiliations or population groups. We seek to feature gifts that are relevant and meaningful to people of all backgrounds, cultures and identities.
  • While the Nonprofit Leadership Center strives to feature as many gifts as possible, submitting an entry does not guarantee inclusion in the gift guide.

For inspiration, find past gift guides here:

The 2022 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide will launch on GivingTuesday, November 29. Thank you in advance for sharing your favorite nonprofits and products that support them with our community.

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to get exclusive tips, tools and professional development events exclusively designed for nonprofit leaders.

Group of 10 graduates with instructors from the 2022 Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program

Applications Now Open for the 2023-24 Certificate in Nonprofit Management Graduate Program

Team NLC News

For nonprofit professionals who aspire to be a CEO or senior leadership team member, a graduate certificate in nonprofit management is a powerful step to make that goal a reality. The Nonprofit Leadership Center offers a graduate certificate in nonprofit management in collaboration with the University of Tampa.

Applications are now open for the 2023-24 program.

“I would not be where I am today without the Certificate in Nonprofit Management program at UT. It was truly a game-changer for me. It gave me an incredible network of trusted colleagues, the ability to propel my organization forward and introduced me to concepts I needed to know more about to be effective.”

Certificate graduate

About the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

The 2023-2024 graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Tampa will begin in May 2023 and last about 15 months. Courses are delivered as four one-week seminars, representing 12 credit hours of graduate-level instruction. Program participants will develop skills in strategic thinking, leadership, marketing, development and accounting. The required in-person sessions include:

  • Thinking Strategically
    Students will focus on evaluating mission, analyzing board governance and conducting an environmental scan. They will also identify the focus area for their program-long project and business plan.
  • Marketing, Research & Communication
    Students will learn how to conduct market research, explore fund development and develop a marketing plan for their chosen project.
  • Accounting & Financial Management
    Students will learn the fundamentals of accounting, financial performance, analyzing costs and internal controls. They will also develop a budget for their program-long project.
  • Leadership and Innovation
    Students will evaluate their personal leadership and develop an implementation plan.
  • Final Presentations
    The program culminates with students presenting their business plan to a group of nonprofit and community leaders for evaluation as the final step to receiving their certificate.



Join Us for an Upcoming Info Session

Join us for a virtual or in-person info session to discover how quickly you can further your education with our nonprofit graduate program. You’ll receive a general overview of the University of Tampa as well as details about nonprofit management track options. Faculty and staff will be available to answer your questions, discuss the application process and review financial aid options.

November 10, 2022 at Noon ET

January 25, 2023 at Noon ET

February 16, 2023 at Noon ET

“This program has been so insightful and challenging. Working and learning from organizations that are so different from my own has significantly expanded my horizons.”

Certificate graduate

Have questions? Email us at, or contact our friends at the University of Tampa at 813-258-7409 or

Welcome Stacy and Nate

Nonprofit Leadership Center Welcomes Two New Members to Board of Directors

Team NLC News

The Nonprofit Leadership Center is pleased to welcome two new members to its talented and dedicated board of directors: Stacy Baier, Ph.D., and Nathan Penha, CRPS®, AAMS®.

Meet Stacy Baier

Stacy Baier is the CEO of the Pinellas Education Foundation, where she leads all development, educational impact and administrative activities while cultivating a strong working relationship between the business and school communities. Stacy has nearly 30 years of experience in foundation development and capacity building, grantmaking, programmatic design and nonprofit management.

Before joining the Pinellas Education Foundation, Stacy served in leadership roles, including president and CEO of the Florida Philanthropic Network, vice president and program director of college and career readiness for Helios Education Foundation, and the executive director of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

“I believe building the knowledge, skills and talents of leaders within the nonprofit sector is what will make the greatest difference in finding solutions to the community’s most significant challenges. I appreciate being part of an organization like the Nonprofit Leadership Center that assists the sector in maximizing a donor’s investment by leveraging the capacity of the individuals leading and working within nonprofits.”

Dr. Stacy Baier

Stacy received her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Florida, holds a Master of Education from Harvard University and has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Stacy is also a founding board member of the National Schools Foundation Association and author of “From Better to Best: Practical Strategies to Boost Efficiency in Your Education Foundation,” a strategy guide to enhance the effectiveness of education foundations and improve financial return. Most recently, Stacy was recognized for the second time on the Florida Trend 500 Most Influential Leaders in the category of nonprofits/philanthropy.

Meet Nathan Penha

Image of Nathan Penha in a navy suit jacket and white and blue collared shirt.

Nathan “Nate” Penha is a financial professional with more than 11 years of experience specializing in advanced financial strategies and market and economic analysis working with individuals and organizations of all sizes. Nate currently serves as a senior consultant for CAPTRUST. He has previously held roles with Mutual of America, AIG and Edward Jones.

“There are few greater privileges than the ability to serve your community and support those who support others. I have learned, especially these past few years, that representation is critical. It has become of the utmost importance while working with youth and families of color to lead by example and humility. Giving back to my community is at the very core of who I am. It has been such an honor to serve with the Nonprofit Leadership Center as a Key Partner, a mentor through its Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, and now a board member.”

Nate Penha

Nate has been active in supporting his community while volunteering for Metropolitan Ministries, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Hillsborough Education Foundation, Meals on Wheels, Shriners Children’s Hospital, and as a coach for multiple youth sports organizations. He has served on the boards of the Hyde Park Rotary Club, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Society of St. Vincent de Paul South Pinellas and West Tampa Little League. Nate has three children and enjoys frequenting Tampa Bay area restaurants, parks, beaches and spots for kids with his family.

Please join us in welcoming Stacy and Nate to Team NLC.

Image of a computer open to the Google homepage: SEO Resources for Nonprofits

Become an SEO Pro: SEO Resources for Nonprofits

Team NLC Tips

Google is consistently the top-visited website in the U.S., and search engines drive the majority of all website traffic. Have you ever wondered how to get your nonprofit to rank higher on Google or to show up on the first page of search results? One of the answers lies in mastering SEO.

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by implementing strategies that will help it appear higher on the list of search engine results. It serves to increase the quantity and quality of website traffic by understanding what people are searching for and then delivering answers through quality content.

Unlike search engine marketing (SEM), which uses paid advertising to appear in search results and immediately loses visibility when no longer supported by a financial spend, SEO is one of the only marketing strategies that can continue to drive website traffic and results over time when set up correctly. Not only do organic search results appear more credible and savvy to searchers, they typically receive more clicks than paid ads.

READ NEXT: How to Create Breakthrough Communications on a Budget

How SEO Works

1. Conduct keyword research: Using online research tools like Google’s free Keyword Planner, you can determine the keywords people are using when they search on Google and Bing for information that is relevant to your mission and brand.

2. Develop content that uses keywords: Using the search terms identified during your keyword research, develop content that includes those terms and answer the questions people are asking in their online searches. This may include updating or creating new pages or blog posts/articles on your website.

3. Support your content with the Google Ad Grant: Many nonprofits are eligible for a Google Ad Grant, which provides $10,000 in free search advertising to help boost your organization’s visibility by driving increased website traffic through search.

4. Assess content performance: Using online tools like Google Analytics that track website visitors and the actions they take on your site, review how your content is performing. Are users taking the desired action or another action (e.g., signing up for email, making a donation)? Are they staying on your site by visiting another page, or are they leaving quickly?

5. Update content as needed: If visitors aren’t taking your desired actions on the content pages you’ve optimized, consider testing alternate calls to action, reviewing keyword integration or adding additional elements like a sign-up form or lightbox (pop-up).

SEO Resources for Nonprofits

Mastering SEO takes subject matter expertise and a lot of time to learn and implement. These resources from Community Boost are a great place to learn more about search engine optimization and how to get started.

  • Nonprofit Accelerator: Provides coaches, courses and a community to help nonprofits improve their digital marketing, including SEO and strategic content development

Nonprofit Resources for Hurricane Ian Recovery

Nonprofit Support for Hurricane Ian

Team NLC News

Hurricane Ian devastated cities and homes when it made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. The latest estimates show that 8,700 people have applied for federal aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the economic damage to the state is estimated at as much as $65 billion.

Like in all crises and emergencies, nonprofit organizations step in and step up to help individuals, families and communities recover, rebuild and restore hope.

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay: NLC Funder

Our friends at the Community Foundation Tampa Bay have worked quickly, in partnership with fundholders and other philanthropists, to help address the unexpected needs now facing nonprofits and communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Resources & Support for Nonprofits

Here are several resources now available to nonprofits through Community Foundation Tampa Bay:

Critical Needs List 

Now through October 2022, Community Foundation Tampa Bay has expanded the criteria for its Critical Needs List to include nonprofit needs related to Hurricane Ian, particularly to meet increasing service demands from residents impacted by the storm.

A critical need is defined as unbudgeted, unforeseen and time-sensitive, and one that significantly interferes with a nonprofit’s ability to provide crucial services or presents an imminent threat to the organization’s continued operations.

The Critical Needs List is designed to help nonprofits manage unbudgeted, unplanned and untimely emergencies.

Hurricane Ian-related requests are eligible for a fundholder match. The Community Foundation Tampa Bay will provide a 1-to-3 match to grants made from a Community Foundation donor advised fund or Family Foundation to directly address a need submitted on the Critical Needs List.
The list will be published on the Foundation’s website and shared publicly. See eligibility requirements and submit your needs. 

Hurricane Ian Resources 

Community Foundation Tampa Bay has begun compiling local community resources for individual aid. The initial list of resources is available on their website, and new resources will continue to be added..

Prepare Your Nonprofit for Potential Disasters

Having business continuity and disaster recovery plans is essential for nonprofits.

Join the Nonprofit Leadership Center on October 27 for a half-day session on Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery in an Ever-Changing Business Landscape. During this course, you will learn what a continuity of operations plan is, why your nonprofit needs one and what to consider when developing and reviewing it.

Conference logo next to text that says: Conference will be rescheduled due to Hurricane Ian

Nonprofit Leadership Center Conference to Be Rescheduled Due to Hurricane Ian

Team NLC News

The 2022 Nonprofit Leadership Conference that was planned for Wednesday, September 28, will be rescheduled due to Hurricane Ian to ensure the safety of all guests and their families. The Nonprofit Leadership Center is actively working with the Tampa Marriott Water Street to determine a new date to hold the event this year. 

All registered participants will receive more information in the coming days about the conference once a new date has been set. We will automatically transfer your ticket and registration to the new event date. 

Once the new date has been established, if you have purchased a conference ticket and are no longer able to attend, we will refund your ticket in full or offer program credit based on your preference.

As our sector has been nimble and resilient during the past few years, we will do so once again now. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to announcing our new event date and welcoming you to the 2022 Nonprofit Leadership Conference. Stay safe!

Individual Freedoms Act Webinar: Photo features a gold judicial scale next to a clipboard with paperwork

What the Individual Freedom Act Means for Your Nonprofit

Charlie Imbergamo | Director of Strategic Programs Resources

Florida recently passed the Individual Freedom Act, also known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” which makes it unlawful for an employer to require employees as a condition of employment to attend training on a variety of concepts, including some common elements of diversity training. Litigation to strike the Act’s application to employers as unconstitutional was dismissed.

On August 18, 2022, Chief US District Judge Mark Walker of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Florida blocked the application of the Individual Freedom Act to employers, issuing a preliminary injunction in, Inc. v. Ron DeSantis, et al. Judge Walker found the law to violate the First Amendment. 

During this free on-demand session, you will hear more about what is included in the Individual Freedom Act and what it means for Florida employers. After watching the video, you will understand the statute’s provisions, the recent judicial decision, and the ultimate outlook for this legislation.

Watch the Replay

Download the presentation.

See all free webinars here.

About the Presenter

Scott Silverman

Adept at navigating complex labor and employment matters, Scott Silverman is noted by Chambers USA for being “expeditious” and “excellent at providing all points of view.” His range of experience includes representation of employers in administrative proceedings, federal and state court litigation, and arbitrations. Although he has worked on a variety of labor and employment issues throughout his career, Scott’s practice has emphasized labor-management relations, employment discrimination, non-compete/trade secret, wage and hour, and retaliation claims.

Complementing his litigation practice, he advises employers on day-to-day matters and drafts manuals and contracts for his clients. Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Labor and Employment Law, Scott frequently lectures and publishes articles on current developments in labor and employment law. In addition to Chambers USA,numerous leading industry publications have ranked Scott as a top lawyer in Florida, including The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers Magazine

Photo of a man in a blue shirt taking a photo with a camera next to the words Submit Your Photo

Submit a Photo for the 2022 Nonprofit Leadership Conference Video

Team NLC News

On September 28, 2022, more than 700 nonprofit and business leaders will come together at the 12th Annual Nonprofit Leadership Conference, hosted by the Nonprofit Leadership Center and presented by Bank of America, for a day of inspiration, education and connection.

We invite you to submit a photo that shows your nonprofit in action for a chance to be featured in the opening video at the conference.

Photo Submission Requirements

We’re looking for photos that meet the following guidelines:

  • File type: Images must be formatted as JPG or PNG files.
  • Aspect ratio: We are looking for images shot in a horizontal/landscape orientation. Landscape ratio for video is 16:9 (1920x1080p).
  • Quality: To ensure the best quality, we recommend uploading images up to 2,000 pixels on the longest (horizontal) edge. Please ensure your photos are crisp and not grainy or pixelated. Photos should be well-lit and free from background distractions.
  • Content: Photos should show your mission in action (e.g., staff and/or volunteers working together or with clients/constituents, active in the community, etc.). Photos should feature only a few people where intimate connections and faces are visible. Please avoid large group shots or groups of people smiling directly into the camera.

The deadline to submit your photos is Monday, September 12, 2022.

We look forward to seeing your photos and potentially featuring one of them in our conference communications!

Jamiel Maze Joins Nonprofit Leadership Center as New Resource Development Coordinator

Team NLC News

The Nonprofit Leadership Center (NLC) is pleased to announce that Jamiel Maze, MA, has joined the organization as its new resource development coordinator. In this role, she will support fund development efforts, including grant writing, sponsorship, and recognizing the many people and partners who make NLC’s work possible.

Jamiel joins Team NLC after serving as an educator for more than 15 years. While teaching was extremely meaningful and fulfilling for Jamiel, she found herself eager to volunteer — even on the most exhausting days. 

“When I felt burned out, I still wanted to spend time with the Girl Scout troop I lead or distributing food in the community with local nonprofits,” Jamiel recalls. “I strongly believe in doing fulfilling work and started to question why I wasn’t combining what I love most in my career.”

In addition to her volunteer leadership roles with Girls Rock Camp St. Pete, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, and the Junior League of Tampa, her experience as a 2022 graduate in the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management program at the University of Tampa drew her to NLC.

“During my 15 months in the nonprofit graduate program, I saw how much work and impact the Nonprofit Leadership Center team has on our community and other nonprofits trying to drive sustainable change. I knew I could be a part of it.” 

In her new role as resource development coordinator, Jamiel says she is most excited to learn. “There is no better place to learn the ins and outs of the nonprofit sector than the Nonprofit Leadership Center. I’m excited to be surrounded by the best of the best trainers and experts here and help advance social impact in the community.”

Jamiel received her bachelor’s degree in English from Allegheny College. She also holds two master’s degrees — one in English and a second in global development and social justice. 

When Jamiel is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, visiting national parks and attending the theater. She’s a passionate backpacker and hiker who loves doing anything where she can mix her love of the outdoors and literature.

Please join us in welcoming Jamiel Maze to Team NLC. You can connect with Jamiel at and on LinkedIn.