Spending time at Omega was a true gift of space, time, and healthy food, said the staff at Global Grassroots, an organization that works to catalyze women and girls as leaders of conscious social change in their communities, reaching 35,000 survivors of war and/or gender-based violence in Rwanda and Uganda annually.
The nonprofit came to Omega Institute’s Rhinebeck campus in 2016 with an intention to provide staff, who frequently travel, the opportunity for deep restoration and connection; to provide their board with a chance to get to know each other in a year of transition; and for the whole group to finalize a strategic plan for the growth and sustainability of the organization over the next five years.
Global Grassroots was just one of the more than 30 peer organizations in the nonprofit sector to come to Omega’s campus for Nonprofit Retreat Week (formerly called Service Week) in 2016.
Each year, Omega awards self-led retreats to nonprofits who need space to both work and rest so they can return to their efforts replenished and energized.
Strengthening a Literacy Consortium
Literacy Connections came to Omega in 2016 for their third working retreat. As in past years, their staff and board re-connected and planned together. But they also used the time to work on a new issue—convening the board members of four member organizations of a regional literacy consortium, which formed when a statewide network of literacy agencies closed down.
“The retreat afforded us the opportunity for great cooperation and to explore our mutual interest in partnering and collaborating,” said Marisol Rodriguez, executive director of Literacy Connections. “When the statewide network ended, it was a change we had to accept. But now after gathering, we can see the impact we can have across the Mid-Hudson Valley by supporting one another’s efforts to promote literacy and provide English as a Second Language classes to growing immigrant communities. We are learning that change has been the best thing for all of us.”
Building Effectiveness of Multidisciplinary Child's Advocacy Team
The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) operates a children’s advocacy center that investigates, prosecutes, and treats child abuse. The many different agencies that collaborate in the center’s work also came to Omega in 2016 to strengthen the effectiveness of their multidisciplinary team.
Child Welfare Services, a different division of WIHD, had a working retreat at Omega previously, which they said helped them consolidate new experiments with mindfulness that are now incorporated into staff meetings.
Danielle Weisberg, who works in both divisions, applied for the organization to return so they "could deepen and strengthen relationships in a way that would be nearly impossible to achieve through any other means."
After their retreat, Weisberg wrote, “Team members walked away feeling very empowered to carry the work forward. This is very important for us because we work collaboratively with many different agencies, and so having individuals take ownership of the future direction of the work is very important.”
More About Nonprofit Retreat Week
Since 2005, Nonprofit Retreat Week has welcomed to campus more than 300 organizations that work to create a more compassionate and sustainable world.
“[It] is an outstanding opportunity for nonprofits who otherwise would be unable to meet outside of the office and enjoy such wonderful amenities,” Rodriguez said.
Retreat grant applications for Nonprofit Retreat Week: Connecting a Community of Change Leaders 2017 are now available. Apply by 1/30/17.