CREATIVE Connection

CREATIVE Connection2019-11-13T15:02:37-08:00

Capacity building is part of a strategic collaboration between the City of Santa Clarita’s Arts and Events division and the Arts Commission to implement a leadership training for business executives (fellows) to prepare for board services with arts organizations. Capacity building refers to any improvements that allow an organization to better fulfill its mission.

CREATIVE Connection

The CREATIVE Connection is the City of Santa Clarita’s arts leadership training and placement program designed to build the capacity of arts organizations and provide fellows with professional development opportunities by temporarily serving on a nonprofit’s board of directors.


  • Enhancing and promoting arts within the local community
  • Building arts capacity through professional development
  • Collaboratively, improving organizational performance, and management strategies

The nine-month program recognizes the importance of arts-based partnerships and seeks to strengthen opportunities that allow an organization to better fulfill their mission.

The curriculum focuses on leadership, planning, coaching, implementation, and mobilization of arts advocacy initiatives in the Santa Clarita Valley to strengthen nonprofit arts organizations and to provide professional development opportunities.

Monthly workshops and seminars cover a range of topics including nonprofit governance, board culture, financial sustainability, fundraising, and program building to further arts education, economic development, and arts advocacy efforts in the community with the culmination of a capacity building project.

Capacity Building Matters

Participating in the CREATIVE Connection, provides both nonprofits and fellows (acting as interim board members) the opportunity to benefit from leadership training and enhance their respective organization’s ability to have a positive impact on the Santa Clarita community.

Capacity Building Project
Before starting the program, the nonprofit organization will identify a distinct capacity building project such as:

  • Developing a communications strategy
  • Improving volunteer recruitment
  • Ensuring thoughtful leadership succession
  • Updating a nonprofit’s technology
  • Improving how outcomes are measured

Together, the fellow and nonprofit organization will partner to develop strategies that strengthen their ability to fulfill their organization’s mission over time.

2019/2020 Program Schedule

The CREATIVE Connection participates in monthly sessions that feature: presentations, discussions, exercises, networking activities. The program curriculum is designed to develop leadership and educate fellows in nonprofit board service principles such as executive problem solving, strategy, and oversight.

These sessions are designed to deepen partner’s knowledge, empower them to take action,
and foster the formulation of strong bonds with other professionals in the City of Santa Clarita (City).
Together, both the nonprofit organizations and fellows participate in joint sessions to cover shared
topics, network, and cross-pollinate ideas for advocacy.

The State of the Sector and Activating Your Leadership

Speaker: Pamela Saelieb, Center of Nonprofit Management, Senior Strategist

This workshop will provide an overview of the 2019 Sector Snapshot, an annual sector-wide survey conducted by the Center for Nonprofit Management which sheds light on organizational experiences and needs of nonprofits throughout Southern California. Findings will focus on topics such as: current trends in community need, organizational financing, organizational capacity, funding, priorities, and trends in systems change and equity work. After hearing about sector trends, fellows will have an opportunity to reflect on their personal and professional passions, and discuss among peers how to activate that passion into tangible outcomes for an organization.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.


Nonprofit Financial Sustainability: What Does It Really Cost to Achieve Impact?
Speaker: David Greco, Social Sector Partners, President and CEO

This interactive and engaging workshop will help social sector leaders understand the key pieces of financial data that are critical to making better, more informed decisions that drive organizational sustainability. Featuring real world case studies and small group work, this workshop will increase the comfort level of nonprofit leaders in reading and interpreting nonprofit financial statements and will enhance their understanding of:

  • The challenges of nonprofit finance and barriers to scale and impact
  • What does it really cost to achieve outcomes and deliver on mission
  • Ways to improve long-term sustainability and impact

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.


The Full Cost Program Budget: 100% of Every Dollar Goes to Impact

Speaker: David Greco, Social Sector Partners President and CEO

This highly interactive workshop will walk nonprofit leaders through a program-based full cost budget model that will allow nonprofits to understand their fully loaded cost of doing business both at the organizational level as well as at a program level. The goal is to help nonprofits move beyond the outdated direct costs vs overhead model of program budgets and develop programmatic budgets that account for the full cost of delivering outcomes. By understanding the types and amount of money they need, leaders can make a better case for support that drives excellent programs and the long-term sustainability of the organization.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Engaging Funders & Donors: Telling Your Financial Story

Speaker: David Greco, Social Sector Partners President and CEO

In building an effective case for support, nonprofit leaders, fundraising executives and board members need to be able to effectively tell not only their programmatic story but their financial story as well. Stories are the most powerful tool you have to connect with other people, build community, and inspire action. This high-energy session will incorporate facilitated discussion and small group activities to help participants learn to better engage funders, donors, and other supporters in conversations around full cost, sustainability and impact.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Effective Communications and Project Design

Speaker: Pamela Saelieb, Center of Nonprofit Management, Senior Strategist

This workshop explores the role of communications at the board level and introduces methods for better communication among board and staff members. Fellows will dive into an interactive exercise to better understand their own communication and leadership styles, and identify how to use communication in achieving goals for the organization. The workshop will also introduce methods of project design, including identifying a problem within an organization and building a great scope of work. Participants will be given time to discuss their current project work with peers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Building the Best Board: How to Maximize Recruitment and Training Techniques

Speaker: Erin Tanenbaum, Southern California Leadership Network, Senior Managing Director

Board service requires everyone to be honest, trusting and humble. It means being open about what our strengths are as well as what knowledge and expertise our team brings to the table. This collaborative workshop deepens the understanding of what role we should play, resulting in more effective and efficient problem solving. Building the best board of directors requires a collaborative framework. This session provides tools for effective recruitment and training techniques to solve complex challenges together.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

A Board That Governs: Exploring Organizational Capacity and Health

Speaker: Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture

The need to be a healthy organization to effectively provide services, assess community needs and adapt to emerging trends is a top priority among nonprofits. This thought-provoking workshop provides tools to facilitate important discussions between leadership, board and staff as they take a critical look at the various aspects of an organization’s capacity, including their strategic focus, direction and administration, human resources, financial and fundraising structure and adaptability.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Being Innovative: Building Capacity by Supporting Nonprofit Advocacy

Speaker: California Alliance for Arts Education panel of experts

This interactive session explores some of the challenges and opportunities that advocacy affords as a vital part of strategic action planning. Beginning with some basic definitions and legal rules to establish what’s permissible, this dynamic workshop confronts the myths and misperceptions surrounding advocacy efforts as a funding strategy. The benefits and possibilities of advocacy is revealed when it’s focused on mission fulfillment, including most significantly, the role of advocacy as the necessary partner to boldness and innovation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

CREATIVE Connection Culmination

Speaker: Pamela Saelieb, Center of Nonprofit Management, Senior Strategist

At the Connection Culmination, participants will participate in a reflection session focused on their learning throughout the 9-month program. Fellows will hear from one another about the outcomes and progress of their project work, and the highlights and challenges, experienced in the program. Together, the group will discuss how their learning can be applied to future opportunities.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Joining the CREATIVE Connection

Completion of the program will benefit organizations, individuals, and nonprofits with a more vibrant workplace and community, enhanced by leadership engagement and creative problem solving.

  • Arts-based partnerships improve business executives’ focus on innovation.
  • Community leadership improves arts and culture nonprofits’ ability to fulfill their mission.

Become connected to the creativity of Santa Clarita by applying for the CREATIVE Connection. Review and submit the nonprofit organization application, or the fellow interest form on

Application Deadline Extended to Saturday, October 5, 2019



For more information contact: Casey Miller at (661)250-3712 or