You Don’t Have To See The Whole Staircase, Just Take The First Step.

A special message from Charities Review Council's Executive Director, Kris Kewitsch.  

When we started this conversation we said, ‘big changes start with small steps.’ Now, six months later, we’re excited to share the many small steps our small but mighty team has taken in order to deliver on our commitment to you – our nonprofit partners, donors, and community members.

Thank you for your support of our initial change message. Full transparency isn’t always easy, or comfortable, but your emails, phone calls, texts and social media call outs did not go unnoticed, and reaffirmed our decision to share openly.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

Today, I come to you with our exciting steps forward, progress towards year-end goals, and plans for the future!

Our core work remains the same, and continues to flourish!
In our last Council update, we mentioned that our core work would remain the same, and it has! At Charities Review Council, we’re committed to working alongside both donors and nonprofits, strengthening the relationship between the two so that relationships that were once transactional, can transform into authentic and meaningful relationships that better serve our communities. We see glimpses of this every day; Donors reaching out to nonprofits to learn more before giving of their time, talent and/or treasure. Our Nonprofit Services Team has done an incredible job keeping us on track with our annual goals. Here are just a few of the highlights thus far!

The Highlights: 

  • We have exceeded our annual goal for engagement of NEW nonprofits in the Accountability Wizard® review process! We are now working towards a stretch goal for year-end.
  • We are currently exceeding our year-to-date budget for Accountability Wizard® fees, and plan to finish the year in a strong financial position.
  • Our renewal rate continues to stay strong at 94%.
  • Our 3rd annual Nonprofit Calling Day was a huge success, engaging 42 nonprofits in our Accountability Wizard® review process!

What’s new at Charities Review Council? Great question! We are so excited to share with you our new projects, tools and plans for the future.

NEW PROJECT SUPPORT- Nonprofits Strengthening Project

We received new project support from Youthprise to work with nonprofits serving Somali youth. Our Nonprofits Strengthening Project for these organizations kicked off in July and will continue through October of this year.

Participation in these projects includes:

  • Access to our online, capacity building tool (aka the Accountability Wizard®),
  • Customized training and workshops delivered by local subject matter experts, and
  • One-on-one support from Council staff members in the areas of governance, fundraising, financial activity and public communications

We’re grateful to have Youthprise as strong supporters of this work.

NEW TOOL & RESOURCES – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit

On average, only 14% of our nonprofit partners are able to meet the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Accountability Standard® upon initial review, meaning that 86% need to take action before meeting this Standard. To better support our nonprofit partners in this area, the Council received support from Youthprise in 2014 to begin working on a tool that would support nonprofit organizations with not only meeting this Standard, but also implementing lasting changes in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We’ve successfully completed phase one, which was to create the tool, and are now working on phase two, which is to bring the tool online for our nonprofit partners to use! The Carlson Family Foundation, Wells Fargo and the Medica Foundation have all signed on as supporters of this work. We plan to start beta testing this fall and expect to be online by spring of 2017!


In our last Council update, we mentioned the possibility of a new office space for Charities Review Council. We continue to explore opportunities that are aligned with our current structure, give us room to grow, and allow us to deliver on our mission and programmatic goals. We’ll keep you updated as the year continues.

FORUM 2017 (Previously known as the ‘Annual Forum’)

We are transitioning our once traditional ‘annual’ forum, to instead host a biennial event that honors and celebrates the work of the philanthropic sector. FORUM 2017 will mirror events you’ve attended with us in the past.
Haven’t attended a Charities Review Council event in the past? Sign up now to get an invite to the next one!

Forum 2015

What can you expect from this new event? You can expect a dynamic speaker, or maybe even speakers (!), creative learning opportunities, purposeful networking, donor-nonprofit collaboration, and of course, lots of fun! We’re thrilled to have Bush Foundation on board as our Presenting Sponsor, and look forward to sharing more event details soon!

We’re excited for what the future has in store for Charities Review Council. We’re truly embarking on a journey and appreciate you coming along for the ride.

Consider investing in our future. Click here to help us mobilize informed donors and accountable nonprofits for the greater good, with a financial gift of any size today.

In partnership,
Kris Kewitsch & the Charities Review Council team

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Our mission is building donor and nonprofit relationships for strong, vibrant and just communities. We envision healthy communities for all, benefiting from effective and trustworthy nonprofits that are supported by a well-informed public’s generosity.

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