general newsletter

Dream Forward – Message From the CEO

January 18, 2018

Like many people of my generation, I grew up in a mostly racially segregated society. Despite my public school years being a decade and more after “Brown v. Board of Education,” I attended 100% or nearly 100% white schools. I watched black children who lived within a mile of my house get on buses to all black schools in distant neighborhoods. The only immigrants I knew were my friends’ parents who had escaped Europe either before or after the reign of Nazi terror. They looked like my family, only they spoke with accents. They held the same jobs, went to the same churches and synagogues, voted in the same elections. This was what I knew growing up in Richmond, VA, in the 1960’s.

As I got older, the world around me got much more diverse. Thankfully, I have been able to work and socialize with people whose backgrounds are much different than mine. My children have been able to live in a far more integrated world – to even attend a high school where they were a small racial minority. Nothing would make me want to go back to the world of my childhood, a world that fed isolation and inequality.

There are some that want to go back to the 1950’s and 60’s. The words and tone of the language reportedly used in a White House meeting last week can only drive more divisions and inspire increased inequality and worse. We are blessed to live in a country that as it becomes more diverse, gets richer each day. Only if we encourage and celebrate that diversity, and the contributions that all segments of our population can and do make to our larger well-being, will we truly be the nation that we seek to be. Enough of looking back, let’s dream forward.

Lee Sherman, President & CEO

Of Note…

NHSA in the News

Yesterday, Governing magazine published the article, “Tax Law Could Deliver Billion-Dollar Blow to Social Services,” which quotes NHSA CEO Lee Sherman. It also includes quotes and insight from NHSA board member David Thompson, from National Council of Nonprofits, and other sector leaders from Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Marlo Nash), American Public Human Services Association, and Independent Sector.

Medicaid Work Requirements Will Undermine Well-Being

Access to healthcare is a core human service that enables everyone in our communities to build and maintain emotional, physical, and financial well-being. This includes timely and reliable access to high-quality preventive care, as well as services that address differing health and wellness needs throughout life. When people are healthy, they are better equipped to learn, work, and engage with others, which contributes to a thriving nation where everyone can reach their full potential.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created a mechanism for state governments to undermine this essential building block of community well-being. HHS issued guidance that permits state Medicaid directors to impose work or work-related requirements for Medicaid recipients who are not older adults or pregnant, and do not have a disability.

Evidence suggests that mandatory work requirements would undermine the health and well-being of our country by making it harder for people to access timely physical and mental health services. That’s because any recipient who becomes subject to new work requirements but cannot meet them would be at risk of losing coverage. Even those eligible under the new requirements would face new hurdles to establishing their eligibility, which could result in delayed coverage or the loss of coverage. So far, ten states have submitted proposals to impose some form of work requirement on Medicaid recipients, and Kentucky is the first state to receive approval from HHS.

The human service sector must explain to state policymakers that these choices impact how well public resources and programs work together to build well-being, and that programs like Medicaid should be strengthened and expanded.

New Funds for Work: Connecting Systems for Justice-Involved Youth

Two NHSA members, the National Youth Employment Coalition and Youth Advocate Programs, recently published a new report, “New Funds for Work: Connecting Systems for Justice-Involved Young People.” The report stems from a convening of juvenile justice and workforce administrators from around the country and includes their recommendations for how to cultivate cross-system collaboration to better serve justice-involved youth, including through new WIOA dollars. In 2014, the WIOA was enacted into law, which increased the percentage of youth service dollars local workforce development boards must spend on out-of-school youth from 30% to 75%. This shifted the WIOA youth program from a program directed mainly at in-school youth to one targeting disconnected youth, including youth “subject to the juvenile justice system.” The report contains recommendations and insights into how to serve more justice-involved youth through both systems in a way that grows their future economic opportunities and recognizes developmental stages. Some recommendations include encouraging systems to allow for multiple awakenings, not being afraid of failures, assuming acceptable risks, and balancing narratives of young people. This report was funded through a generous grant by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

SAMHSA Freezes Clearinghouse for Evidence-Based Programs

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), in its current form since 2006, is a clearinghouse of evidence-based substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In late December, SAMHSA abruptly terminated the contract with the organization responsible for reviewing submissions for inclusion in the registry.

According to SAMHSA’s official statement, the NREPP has been undermined “by practices and programs submitted by outside developers—resulting in a skewed presentation of evidence-based interventions….” The agency has indicated that the responsibility for reviewing evidence-based programs will now shift to the National Mental Health and Substance Abuse Policy Laboratory, or Policy Lab. However, Policy Lab and the NREPP were established by different sections of federal law. SAMHSA should, therefore, clarify precisely how it will continue to fulfill the requirements that the NREPP had met. While there are legitimate concerns about the current NREPP review process, without a more concrete replacement plan, new and existing interventions from mental health providers will lack the centralized vetting system that the field relies on to promote interventions demonstrated to build and maintain well-being.

On Wednesday, The Hill reported that five Democratic Senators sent a letter to Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, to raise their concerns about the need to replace the NREPP in a timely manner and ensure that behavioral health professionals have the resources they need to provide effective interventions.

Raise Your Organization’s Voice through the State of the Sector Survey – Now Open!

We are proud to help Nonprofit Finance Fund raise nonprofit leaders’ voices through the State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey. This survey – the biggest national sampling of the sector – collects data about US nonprofits’ health and challenges into an accessible, evidence-based illustration of the sector’s ability to help the communities we all serve. It’s a powerful platform for nonprofits large and small, urban and rural, across sub-sectors and geographies. Its findings are widely used and cited by nonprofit leaders and boards, funders, advocates, policy advisors, media, researchers, and many others. Please consider taking the survey and raising your organization’s voice. The survey takes about 25 minutes to complete and will close on February 21. Your time will be a valuable contribution to this important effort.

Opportunities and Resources


  • 2018 Alliance National Conference Call for Presentations – Deadline: January 24 via Alliance for Strong Families and Communities »
  • Intergenerational Programming in Senior Housing via Generations United and LeadingAge »
  • Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability Study via National Disability Institute »
  • Onboarding Best Practices: A Guide for Onboarding New Staff via Leading Edge »
  • New Briefs Show Impact of Intentionally Embedding Brain Science via Alliance for Strong Families and Communities »
  • 2017 Alliance Impact Report via Nonprofit Leadership Alliance »
    “Expanding the Dream: Engaging Immigrant Youth and Adults in Postsecondary and Adult Education” via CLASP »
  • “Making Tomorrow Better Together: A Guide to Outcomes for 2Gen Policymakers” via ASCEND at the Aspen Institute »
  • “Integrating Issues: Framing for Racial Equity and Children in Immigrant Families” via FrameWorks Institute »

Job Postings

  • Communications Director, Education Coordinator, and Communications and Data Associate via Nonprofit VOTE »
  • Director of Marketing & Communications via Little Kids Rock »
  • Project Assistant, Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care via The Jewish Federations of North America »


  • 12 unique funding opportunities each week via GrantStation Insider »


  • RECORDING: PurchasingPoint Webinar Series: Staples Promotional Products – Your Brand Partner Recorded Webinar »
  • 2Gen and Housing Authorities: Tapping a Powerful Platform via ASCEND at the Aspen Institute from 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST on January 18 »
  • Report Release – A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America via Alliance for Strong Families and Communities from 4:15 – 5:15 PM EST on January 22 »


  • NHSA Volunteer Development Peer Council in D.C. February 21 »
  • Aging in America in San Francisco March 26-29 »
  • 2018 Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans April 11-13 »
  • Ready by 21 National Meeting in Palm Beach County Florida April 18-20 »
  • NJHSA 2018 Conference: Unifying Our Human Service Voice in Chicago April 29 – May 1 »
  • 2018 Risk Summit in Philadelphia October 1-2