Valerie F. Leonard- Statement of Qualifications
Organization: North Lawndale Small GrantsHuman Development CorporationRole: Executive Director
Prior to starting her consulting practice, Ms. Leonard was the executive director of the NorthLawndale Small Grants Human Development Corporation (Small Grants). Under
leadership, the group was transformed from an initiative of the Steans Family Foundation into aseparate 501 (c) (3) organization completely controlled by the community. Ms. Leonard managedday-to-day operations and resource development activities for the $500,000 neighborhoodprogram. This included developing internal management and financial systems for board and staff,and coordinating a strategic planning process that included community stakeholders from all walksof life. In addition to managing the small grants program, she spearheaded the development of theTarget Block Program, Housing Resource Center and African Garden Project.Ms. Leonard
Promoted internal and external organizational leadership development and capacitybuilding, including hiring consultants for team building and strategic planning, installingaccounting software, implementing a technology plan, developing a fundraising plan andproviding technical assistance to grantees.
Developed board and management policies and procedures, includingA.
Grant making guidelines, policies and procedures for board, staff and granteesB.
Financial policies and procedures manualC.
Personnel policies and procedures manualD.
Board recruitment criteria and policies and procedures manual
Coordinated a community-wide research and planning process for North Lawndale AfricanGarden. Worked with NeighborSpace to acquire 5 vacant lots valued at approximately$125,000. Total investment from the community, foundations, corporations and the City of Chicago exceeds $200,000. NeighborSpace uses the project as a case study for best practicesfor community gardening.
Developed the Share the Vision and North Lawndale African Garden Project direct mailcampaigns, resulting in cash and in-kind donations exceeding $30,000 within 6 months
Developed a computer model to quantify impact of grant making and volunteer activities
Organized Target Block residents to secure in excess of $500,000 in infrastructureimprovements
Coordinated site selection and relocation activities, including purchasing and solicitingdonations of new furnishings and equipment; installation of a computer network and DSLand negotiating a lease agreement.