It all started back in 1987, when our founder, Janine Vanderburg, decided to stay home with her newborn daughter. She wrote a grant proposal that probably sounded like a legal brief—she was a lawyer—and it ended up securing a $750,000 grant for a community-based organization on Denver’s west side. That was the beginning of the convergence of two big ideas at JVA:
- That there ought to be opportunities for people to use their strengths, talents and experience for community and social change.
- That communities often have the answers about what they need within them, and some help or technical assistance from a trusted partner can be all they need to achieve their vision.
We’ve accomplished a LOT in the last 30-plus years, and we’re just getting started.
Today, JVA includes team members who are full-time or part-time staff, fellows and interns, and regular subcontractors. We believe in giving people an opportunity to demonstrate their talents. Our team includes moms with kids at home, boomers in encore careers, corporate career changers, the most talented graduate students and people with longstanding community ties.
What we all have in common is passion for social change, being involved in the community and an insane dedication to this proposition: Change in your community and in society overall begins one person, one step at a time. And here at JVA, we can help you do it.
What sets JVA apart
We’re implementation scientists. There is a lot of stuff out there in the nonprofit consulting world that is based on old ways of thinking, e.g., sending fundraising solicitations in thank-you cards or enewsletters, requiring “give or get” policies for board members, or using “clickers” at meetings and calling it community engagement.
Our team combs the research and our work for new and effective practices, tests promising new ideas and approaches, and then rolls out what we’ve learned into our products and trainings. We aim to create actionable tools and processes that will help you succeed.
We’re your partners. In fact, our customers sometimes call us the “unconsultants,” and they view us as their friends and champions.
We know you’re busy. Our products and processes are designed to get you to the result you want in the most efficient and effective way possible.
We believe having fun is part of the process. Of course, community and social change is hard work. But there’s no reason we can’t enjoy ourselves along the way. Our trainings and meetings are all interactive, fun and engaging. Even in some of those areas that some people fear, like program evaluation, our job is to engage your entire team.