DNA Creative Communications set to introduce 2017’s Shine the Light forum

Katie Leckenbusch (Warehouse Theatre), Lamont Sullivan (Big Brothers Big Sisters), Debbie Nelson (DNA Creative Communications), and Sara Montero-Buria (Hispanic Alliance of Greenville), among others, will put their artistic skills to use at the Creating Greenville’s Nonprofit Landscape event. // Will Crooks

On March 1, DNA Creative Communications, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville, the United Way of Greenville County, and the Hollingsworth Funds, will host Creating Greenville’s Nonprofit Landscape, a free event to kick off the 2017 Shine the Light nonprofit leadership series.

This year marks the eighth year of the forum, which has had more than 1,000 participants representing 350 nonprofits since its inception. Shine the Light is geared toward nonprofit professionals, executive directors, and board members. Topics in past sessions have included “fundraising, strategic planning, branding, public relations, and leadership development.”

“The sessions are always about some kind of leadership strategy,” says Debbie Nelson, founder and president of DNA Creative Communications. “The biggest part we really focus on is offering some kind of experience at our events and some kind of engagement part. We facilitate conversations and get the nonprofits talking so they understand how they overlap and can work together more strongly.”

The event, which will be held at Zen (924 S. Main St.) from 4–6 p.m., is a celebration of the local nonprofit community and an opportunity to network. Last year, the Shine the Light schedule was announced via video, but this year, Nelson wanted to try a different route.

“One of the greatest things about Shine the Light is to get together and collaborate. Every session I’ve done has been about that — let’s get together, network, have fun,” she says. Creating Greenville’s Nonprofit Landscape is “an extension of what we’ve done in the past.”

This year’s theme in the Shine the Light series, which will include four half-day workshops, is “Creativity: A Pathway to Change.” The kickoff event’s main activity ties into that concept. Jeff Renow, owner of Zen and a local artist, is painting a Greenville-themed backdrop on a 10-foot by 8-foot canvas, and attendees will add a design that represents their nonprofit to the canvas.

“Everything we’ll do [for Shine the Light] is creative strategies around leadership in nonprofits, so we’re setting the stage for that,” Nelson says, regarding the canvas.

So far, about 150 people have signed up for the kickoff event. Attendees will represent a wide range of nonprofits, from human service agencies to arts and education organizations to policy-based and community-based nonprofits.

“It’s a lot of new folks, so I want to broaden that conversation between nonprofits. It’s open to anyone serving a community need through a nonprofit,” Nelson says. “I want it to be a very inclusive event. I want people … in the nonprofit community who haven’t participated in the past to feel comfortable coming to celebrate the sector.”

To register for Creating Greenville’s Nonprofit Landscape, visit nonprofitforums.org.

Creating Greenville’s Nonprofit Landscape

Wednesday, March 1, 4–6 p.m.


Zen, 924 S. Main St.

Register: nonprofitforums.org



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