Home » Events » Program Staff Learning Network Meeting: Site Visits to Deepen Knowledge & Relationships

Program Staff Learning Network Meeting: Site Visits to Deepen Knowledge & Relationships

September 26th, 2023
10:00AM to 11:30AM
Zoom - information to be emailed
Grantmaker, Philanthropic Advisor
Event type:
Network Meeting
Member fee:
Base fee:

Join the Program Staff Learning Network for our September session on Site Visits to Deepen Knowledge & Relationships.

As a funder, does your organization conduct site visits? How do they inform your decision making? In what ways do you engage with the nonprofit before, during, and after the visit? Are there ways to make it a more positive experience for all?

Not your typical list of best practices, this session aims to go deeper into the why and how of creating meaningful opportunities to understand and engage with current/potential grantee partners through site visits.  

Hear from a panel of local nonprofit leaders for their insights and advice on how to effectively use site visits to build deeper, more collaborative relationships with organizations. You will then have an opportunity to reflect on these questions with a small group of your peers.

If you have specific questions for the panelists, please feel free to send them in advance to Jessica Berns.

Site Visits to Deepen Knowledge & Relationships connects to the Network's established learning theme for the year: Building and Sustaining Transparent and Respectful Relationships with Grantees.

This program is planned by Amy Hampe (Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation), Carol Lavoie-Schuster (Essex County Community Foundation) and Melanie Torres (The Klarman Family Foundation). 

Panelist Bios:

Celina Miranda, Ph.D., is the executive director of Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), a creative youth development organization located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Before joining HSTF in August of 2016, she was a senior program officer at the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, where she managed grants in education, capacity building, and economic mobility. Before the Smith Family Foundation, Celina was vice president and charitable giving manager for BNY Mellon Public Affairs office in New England. Among her accomplishments at BNY Mellon, she is most proud of her leadership role in developing a multi-year initiative focused on youth aging out of foster care. Celina began her career in philanthropy at The Hyams Foundation, where she managed grants and provided leadership on initiatives in the teen development area. Celina is a trustee of the Rutland Corner Foundation and the Franklin Square House Foundation, a board member of Jewish Vocational Service in Boston, and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. Occasionally, she is a macro practice lecturer at the Boston University School of Social Work. Celina is a recently elected member of the Milton Public Schools Committee. She holds a BA from Smith College in Latin American Literature and Latin American Studies and an MSW and Ed.M. from Boston University. Celina has a doctorate in Social Work and Sociology from Boston University. Her dissertation research looked at the integration of positive youth development in community-based organizations.

Usha Thakrar is executive director of Boston Area Gleaners, a regional food systems organization working at the intersection of farming, food waste, and food access. ​​Usha has a background working with non-profit healthcare organizations and comes by her interest in food security through many years of volunteering at the Lexington Food Pantry. After 12 years at the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber and 2 years at a community health center, Usha decided to make a career change to focus on addressing food insecurity. She is passionate about building resilient, sustainable food systems that can provide access to healthy food for everyone. Usha holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard University and has a wide range of experience including fundraising, financial management, organizational development and as a small business owner (she was a florist). She serves on the board of the Lexington Food Pantry and is a member of the Health and Research Council at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Rosario Ubiera-Minaya is executive director of RAW Art Works, a youth arts organization (serving kids grades 4-12) in Lynn, Massachusetts.  RAW that is rooted in art therapy and believes that all kids should be seen and heard and that everyone has a story to tell. Rosario is intentional and passionate about creating spaces that foster inclusion and opportunity. She invests her time and energy into amplifying and exemplifying the message that empowered and diverse communities' voices will lead us to equity and upward economic mobility. She is a leader, community activist, and social entrepreneur with a passion for education, art, and culture. Rosario is also the founder and principal of Cojuelos' Productions, a social enterprise that proudly celebrates black and brown creatives' artistic expressions by promoting innovative, diverse, and culturally oriented programming and curated experiences through a social justice lens. Rosario's vision led to what is today the PUNTO Urban Arts Museum in Salem, an outdoor collection of public art that serves as a vehicle to start breaking down the socioeconomic and invisible divides that exist in low-income communities of color. She has received numerous awards and recognitions; most recently, 2021 Hall of Fame Inductee to Salem State University's Center for Civic Engagement, 2019 Hispanic Heritage Leader by the New England Patriots Foundation and the Kraft Family Foundation; "Inspirational Woman of 2019" from Latina Center MARIA, and "Unsung Heroine" by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She currently serves as an advisor to several organizations, including Essex County Community Foundation's Creative County Initiative and their Racial Equity Strategy Group, the Center for Women Politics and Public Policy of UMass University, and The Women's Network. She also serves as Trustee for Essex Heritage; Rosario was recently accepted to the inaugural cohort of LEADS fellows for the North Shore alongside a powerful group of leaders. Rosario holds a Master’s degree in Leadership in Education with a concentration in Museum Education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor in Communications with a concentration in Marketing and Public Relations from Salem State University. Her prior experience includes Chief Program Officer for North Shore CDC and Director of Outreach and Enrollment for North Shore Community Health Inc.; as well as Executive Director for the Salem Education Foundation, Program Director at the Peabody Essex Museum and Marketing and Promotions Manager for Telemundo-Boston.

About the Network:

The Learning Network convenes mid to senior level program staff who share elements of a common program staff job description but work across issue areas and types of funding institutions. The purpose of the Learning Network is to create an ongoing, safe space for mid to senior level program staff to learn together, furthering their professional development alongside their peers.

To participate in the Learning Network you must meet the following two criteria:

  1. Have worked in a professional setting for at least 10 years.
  2. Currently situated in philanthropy at a foundation or grantmaking program as mid to senior level program staff
Registration type: 
Normal registration

Zoom Instructions for Virtual or Hybrid Programs:

Zoom information: Zoom information for the program will be sent out to all registrants one week before AND in the afternoon of the business day before the session is scheduled to take place.  Please reach out to info@philanthropyma.org if you believe you are registered for this program and do not receive the link.

Registration & Program Follow-up Materials: Registration for the program will be closed at 2pm EST on the day before the program is scheduled to take place.  If you register after this point, you will be added to the waitlist and will be able to receive the program recording as well as all follow-up materials from the session.  For fee-based Nonprofit Partner programs, you can request these materials for a discounted rate.  Please note that it may take up to a week to prepare and disseminate those materials to all registrants.

Community Guidelines, Program Policies and In-Person Protocol:

Philanthropy Massachusetts has adopted these Community Guidelines & Policies for all programs.  

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