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Breakout Session #1: 9:15–10:30a

Blessings Branding Bonanza! The What, Why, and How of the new line and logo and how they work for you
Lead by Christie McMahon, Nancy Jordan, and Troy Hayes, 501c3 Creative. This workshop is mandatory for all conference attendees. 

Workshop Description: Blessings Branding Bonanza!

Our goal is to introduce the new branding program for Blessings in a Backpack. We’ll describe the process and thinking from start to finish — from strategy and rationale to final concepts; from initial thinking and learning to establishing objectives and ultimate brand building. We’ll walk you through the process from information gathering to final product, revealing the exciting new branding elements throughout the presentation.

Breakout Session #2: 10:45–11:45a

Grant Writing Basics
Lead by Dr. Yani Mason, director of development and marketing, Epic Academy High School

Workshop Description: Grant Writing Basics

The focus of this introductory course is to introduce participants to the fundamentals of grant writing and strategies that will enable them to identify and pursue viable funding opportunities. Key points include the following: common terms, misconceptions, researching funders, data collection, and increasing one’s odds to receive grant funding.

Corporate Connections Panel
Moderator: Diane Palmer, associate director, corporate relations, Blessings in a Backpack
Panelists: Shelley Long, community affairs representative, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois;
Kim Twist, corporate affairs manager, Constellation Brands; and Robert Rizzo, senior director, community involvement, Conagra Brands Foundation

Description: Corporate Connections Panel

How do I get corporate funding for my program? How do I get volunteers to help pack bags for my program or staff my fundraiser? If you’ve asked these questions and others where corporations and their employees may be able to support your program, you’ll want to attend this session. Panelists will provide insights and advice to help achieve successful nonprofit-corporate partnerships.

Breakout Session #3: 1–2p

Community Partner Panel
Moderator: Dani Childress, senior, director strategy, Blessings in a Backpack
Panelists: Hermine Bernstein, Blessings program coordinator, Frederick, MD; Dr. Kari Cremascoli,
superintendent, Downers Grove District 58; Katie Miles, Urban Alliance

Description: Community Partner Panel

How do you make 2 + 2 = 5? Come and listen to community partners, a superintendent, and a PC to find out! During this panel, you will hear about best practices for creative ways to work and engage with a variety of community resources to help you and your teams work smarter and build your support system.

Foundations of Individual Giving: Identifying, Cultivating and Stewarding Your Donors
Lead by Brent Glass, associate director, individual giving, and Kimberly Ward, managing director, Blessings in a Backpack

Workshop Description: Foundations of Individual Giving

This workshop will give attendees a working knowledge of the overarching components of individual giving for Blessings in a Backpack, including identifying program donors, cultivating a donor, maintaining contact with a donor, stewarding a donor, getting others to fundraise for a program, and what tools are available in the PC Toolkit.

Food for Thought… and Hungry Bellies!
Lead by Jim Agnew, senior principal consultant, Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), Emily Mark, regional manager, education sales, Kellogg’s, and Cecilia St. Arnold, Blessings managing director, Southwest Florida

Workshop Description: Food for Thought... and Hungry Bellies!

This session will introduce new food solutions available on a national basis. In a recent survey of Blessings PCs, issues related to food logistics and pricing were identified as the biggest hurdle in running local programs, consuming the majority of volunteers’ time. Learn the benefits of the new solutions including first-hand experiences from the BIB Managing Director in Southwest Florida that piloted the solution during the 2017-2018 school year with feedback from funders, other donors, and volunteers.

Breakout Session #4: 2:15–3:15p

Food for Thought… and Hungry Bellies!
Lead by Jim Agnew, senior principal consultant, Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), Emily Mark, regional manager, education sales, Kellogg’s, and Cecilia St. Arnold, BIB managing director, Southwest Florida

Workshop Description: Food for Thought... and Hungry Bellies!

This session will introduce new food solutions available on a national basis. In a recent survey of Blessings PCs, issues related to food logistics and pricing were identified as the biggest hurdle in running local programs, consuming the majority of volunteers’ time. Learn the benefits of the new solutions including first-hand experiences from the Blessings Managing Director in Southwest Florida that piloted the solution during the 2017-2018 school year with feedback from funders, other donors, and volunteers.

Sustainability and Succession Planning
Lead by Jennifer Lamkin, chair, Louisville Chapter Advisory Board and Kim Holsclaw, Blessings managing director, Kentucky and Southern Indiana

Workshop Description: Sustainability and Succession Planning

You’ve worked tirelessly to create and build the Blessings in a Backpack program in your community. What happens to the Blessings program when you no longer have the time or ability to lead the program? Proactive attention to succession and sustainability planning, often including a local advisory board, ensures your Blessings program has the resources in place for the program to continue long-term. This workshop will explore strategies for growing and sustaining your program as well as developing, retaining and transitioning volunteers into leadership positions required for long-term impact.

Digital Media
Lead by Nikki Grizzle and Robin Rueff, marketing team, Blessings in a Backpack

Workshop Description: Digital Media

We’ll talk all things digital media, including social media and website, and how to use it to promote your program. Bring your questions and a smartphone — this workshop is interactive! Participants are encouraged to email Robin with the links/handles to their social media accounts and website ahead of time to help the presenters prepare content.

Breakout Session #5: 3:30–4:15p

Creating a Signature Event Panel
Moderator: Eddie Maria, Blessings program coordinator, Roseville, CA
Panel of program coordinators: Regina Estrada, Waukesha, WI; Trisha Ewald, Shirley, NY;
Janice Davis, Sacramento, CA; Kelly McDonald, Lake Orion, MI

Description: Creating a Signature Event Panel

Brought to you by a panel of fundraisers with more than 100 years of experience and expertise among them. No Need to recreate the wheel… we will show you how to: access easy and duplicable events to raise funds for your program; find resources in your area; where to locate assistance to run your event; choose an appropriate event, and develop a realistic event timeline.

Grants, Blessings Style
Lead by Erin Kerr, chief development officer, Blessings in a Backpack

Workshop Description: Grants, Blessings Style

Building on Basic Grant Writing, this workshop will delve deeper into how the national office pursues both corporate and foundation grants, including walking through an example of a program application and budget and what resources are available on the PC Toolkit.

Your Program in the News
Lead by Nikki Grizzle and Robin Rueff, marketing team, Blessings in a Backpack

Workshop Description: Your Program in the News

“My program is doing incredible things for kids in my community, and the world needs to know!” Yes, we agree! In this workshop, we’ll talk about what makes a story ‘newsworthy’ and how to pitch it to your local media.

Workshop registration is now closed. If you need to register, please email Anita Knazze.