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Around Town: Getting help on Jericho Road

February 15, 2012|By Anita S. Brenner

Last year the Jericho Road Project, based in Massachusetts, launched an outpost in the San Gabriel Valley, thanks to seed money from the Ayrshire Foundation. The Jericho Road Project matches skilled volunteers with nonprofit organizations.

Melanie Goodyear, the project's executive director and sole employee, says that the goal is “to promote community development, strengthen social services and enrich the lives of volunteers.” She maintains a roster of skilled volunteers, including IT consultants, marketing specialists, lawyers and financial experts, and matches them to the needs of the nonprofit.

“Surely you won't come to La Cañada Flintridge,” I said, over a cup of coffee at Europane.

“Why not?” Melanie asked.

“Isn't La Cañada too wealthy to merit your services?”

“Not at all,” Melanie replied.

Melanie, who has a master's degree in theology from the Claremont Colleges, explained that La Cañada's school boosters, hospital guilds, church social service groups and other organizations enrich and create a sense of community. Jericho Road will help organizations that are small, apolitical and non-sectarian. A church social action group (e.g. a soup kitchen) would be considered if there are no sermons required in exchange for the soup.

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For groups that qualify, Jericho Road will do a two- or three-month assessment of ways to give the group a greater capacity to achieve the group's mission.

Depending on the initial assessment of the nonprofit, there is no limit to the types of services that Jericho Road can offer, as long as Melanie can find the right skilled volunteer. Jericho Road's seven-step match-making and project management process, has been successful with other groups. There are specific goals, with deadlines and scope for each project.

Recent projects ranged from marketing to board development. Local projects include Flights of Fancy, a story-telling nonprofit based in Sunland, Lake Avenue Church's ACTS Thrift Store, Girls on the Run and the Pasadena Senior Center.

All organizations need a little boost now and then, even organizations in La Cañada Flintridge.

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