The Alliance is pleased to announce that registration is now open for our 2021 Annual Nonprofit Conference: Stronger Together. The global impact of the current health crisis has presented many challenges for nonprofits of all sizes but together, as a united front, we formed a collective voice to keep Connecticut safe, healthy and vibrant. Join us for our flagship event which has been designed to strengthen the leadership, management, and adaptive capacities of nonprofits across the state.

This year, the conference will feature two keynotes, nine live sessions, and at least three on demand sessions every day designed to meet the needs of nonprofit staff from across Connecticut. Tickets include three full days to access the conference portal, exclusive access to video content, and post-event content. All live and on-demand sessions will be available to those with a ticket both during and after the conference. Can’t make a session? Don’t worry, live sessions will be recorded and made available the next day!

 Schedule Day 1

December 7,2021

9:30 AM
Opening Remarks


CT Community Nonprofit Alliance CEO, Gian-Carl Casa and Alliance Board Chair, Andrea Ferrucci

10:00 am

With Vu Le

How Nonprofits Can Own Our Awesomeness and Unleash Our Full Potential to Create a Just and Equitable World.
11:15 am
Public Policy Panel

12:30 Pm
DEI 2.0: What’s Next?

Joelle Murchison


This session will position nonprofits to move beyond the foundational stage of DEI to continue to build for a more equitable future that will help relieve many social ills that nonprofits fight to alleviate.

 Schedule Day 2

December 8,2021


Keynote Day 2
Re-Opening and Beyond: Lessons Learned and Moving Forward 

Sten Vermund, MD., PhD


Due to the overwhelming positive response in 2020, we are pleased to welcome back Keynote presenter Sten Vermund, Dean of the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Vermund has been at the forefront of the re-opening process for schools and arts & cultural venues across Connecticut, since the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Vermund has partnered with the Shoreline Arts Alliance to present a series of webinars (15 to date, reaching more than 15,000 participants), using science-based safety to address “consumer confidence” in arts venues and workplaces. From arts & cultural venues to human service programs, his remarks will provide important information for organizations of all types.


Governance Through an Equity Lens

Sharon Danosky 

Jenora Ledbetter

The hallmarks of a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive board are not in the diversity statements, or how many people of color represented are on the board; it is in the day to day practices and how recruitment is handled, how board members are oriented, how committees are structured and how meetings and discussions are encouraged. In other words, it is in the routine functioning of a board and how the board incorporates its practices that ultimately determines whether a board is equitable and inclusive. 


Becoming Stronger Together by Focusing on Well-Being

Vienna Morrill


This session will discuss why nonprofit organizations that focus on well-being instead of wellness can be more successful in building support and trust in the workplace. We will discuss different dimensions of well-being and provide a basic framework for establishing a culture of well-being. This session will describe well-being opportunities and challenges specific to nonprofits and will leave participants with a foundation for understanding how to improve well-being in their organizations


A Nonprofit Lawyer’s Perspective:
Cultivating a Culture of Professionalism, Profitability, Integrity, Energy, and Accountability

Ed Spinella



In this session, experienced nonprofit attorney, Ed Spinella, translates abstract concepts commonly associated with vision statements and “best practices” of successful, trend setting nonprofits into tangible anecdotes and tips. 

 Schedule Day 3

December 9,2021


How Your Nonprofit Can Thrive Using Outcomes Based Fundraising

Tom Ralser


This session will focus on the transformational process used to move organizations from a charity mindset to one of sustainable investment. Nonprofit sustainability is not about writing a better grant or finding that one product or service for which you can charge a fee. It’s about delivering outcomes and impact that people value in order to make their community a better place to live.


Community Art Project Unveiling!

Jaii Marc Renee


The Community Public Arts Installation Project was created as an opportunity for designated conference sponsors to support a creative representation of the conference theme: ‘Stronger Together’.

Thanks to our sponsor Mutual of America Finance Group, this original piece will be on display in the Nonprofit Center in Hartford, CT


Reaching All Populations: Strategies for Effective and Equitable Community Engagement

Celeste Frye


The pandemic has made it much more challenging to reach people in person. Not everyone has reliable internet service and, for many, the opportunity to speak face to face with a representative in their community was essential to build trust, gain understanding and get their questions answered. This session will equip nonprofit professionals with the tools needed to overcome current obstacles and bring engagement opportunities to the entire community, opening the door to immediate and personalized interactions.


Exploring Strategic Growth Opportunities

Kelly Laflamme 


As organizations quickly pivoted in response to the demands of the pandemic, they were forced to identify and establish new frameworks to advance their organizations forward. In this presentation, Pear Associates’ Consultant and Grant Writing Specialist defines what we mean by growth in this new climate. She discusses why organizations should explore growth opportunities and what an organization’s leadership should consider as they think about growth, and how leadership should navigate this new exploratory process. The webinar will also highlight what an organization risks by not embracing change and growth. Attendees will be encouraged to participate in a case example designed to support the content of the presentation.


The Great Retention: How Do We Get There?

Leesa Schipani 


We are living through what is being called “The Great Resignation” as we move into a new world of work post-pandemic. According to the 2021 People Management Report, 48% of employees have thought about quitting their job. Fortunately many have not acted on their contemplation. The folks that are leaving have sent a clear message- “I don’t want to stay in a job that doesn’t inspire or engage me.”

As we move into 2022, consider that job satisfaction has a new definition. Employees are willing to accept less compensation for generous time off programs, the ability to live and work wherever they want and most importantly who they work with. Organizations that don’t have the ability to offer remote or hybrid work will be looking to understand what’s important to their employees working on site.


Vu Le
Vu Le

Blogger- NonprofitAF

We’re excited to announce that nonprofit leader and advocate Vu Le will be the keynote speaker for our 2021 Annual Conference! Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves.

Known for his no-BS approach, poignant observations, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at

Thank You to our 2021 Sponsors









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