Best Starts Capacity Building: Meet Our Support Team!

Best Starts for Kids is investing in a number of capacity building efforts. This is a series to explain what we mean by capacity building and why we think it is so important. You can find all earlier blog posts in the series linked at the end of this post. Today we introduce our capacity builders who were awarded our Capacity Building Support RFQ.  


The Capacity Building RFQ invited proposals from skilled capacity building organizations and individuals to form a team and partner with Best Starts for Kids leadership to provide effective and efficient capacity building services to Best Starts funded partners. Eight capacity building individuals and teams were awarded to help support all Best Starts awardees on their journey to sustainability. $1.4 million is committed to this work through December 2021. 

The capacity builders will provide support in the following areas:  

  • board development 
  • data support 
  • finance  
  • equity and social justice 
  • human resources 
  • IT 
  • legal 
  • marketing/branding 
  • organizational development 

Some capacity builders will provide 1:1 coaching in one specific area and others will provide support across multiple areas.  

Meet our capacity builders: 

alterNative consulting 

alterNative consulting is based in south King County and will be supporting capacity needs in marketing, board and organizational development, and equity and social justice. Damarys Espinoza, Ph.D. and Victor Rodriguez, MSW are co-founders/co-directors of alterNative consulting, a family-owned firm that advances health and environmental justice through Indigenous and decolonial perspectives.  

Bulle Consulting 

Bulle Consulting will support capacity needs in board and organizational development, human resources, marketing, finance, and equity and social justice. Hassan Wardere assists in developing programs that are culturally responsive and creating a collaborative process that is community-driven. Hassan prioritizes a Return on Relationship model that promotes authentic connection and cross-functional collaboration in programs. 

Crux Consulting Consortium 

The consortium brings together experts from its own staff and consulting partners in the areas of strategic planning, leadership coaching, policy development, board development, data support, financial and human resources management, marketing, and fundraising. Best Starts partners will receive support from Barbara Grant, Tara Smith, Catherine Verrenti, and Kristen Spangler. 

Communities Rise 

Formerly Nonprofit Assistance Center and Wayfind, Communities Rise (CR) will support Best Starts grantees with strengthening organizational capacity through coaching, tools and trainings, as well as one-on-one legal assistance on business and organizational legal issues. To create an equitable system, CR pursues cross-sector collaboration and provides capacity building and legal services for community organizations and microenterprises. 

Johnnie McKinley and Associates 

As a Certified WA State Minority Women Owned Business Enterprise, Johnnie McKinley Associates LLC will support BSK grantees on finance, data support, organizational development, and equity and social justice. Dr. Johnnie McKinley leads a multiethnic and multigenerational collective that helps diverse organizations close business performance, learning, opportunity, and organizational capacity gaps.  

RHL Consulting 

Roxanne Hood Lyons will provide capacity building in board and organizational development, marketing, and equity and social justice.  With experience as a funder, consultant, and executive director of a small community-based organization, Roxanne promotes community impact through executive coaching, capacity building and assisting organizations in accessing funds.

Sama Praxis LLC 

Sama Praxis will provide capacity building support for Best Starts partners on board and organizational development and equity and social justice. Sarah Tran is the founder and principal consultant of Sama Praxis LLC. As a woman of color-owned consulting practice, they are dedicated to advancing equity and racial justice with an emphasis on supporting leadership of color. 

501 Commons 

The 501 Commons team will support Best Starts partners in evaluating their technology and data systems and help develop roadmaps for successful IT implementation. 501 Commons offers an IT program to improve nonprofit IT systems and processes to ensure reliability, quality, and security. The team consists of Graham Ford, Jim Pullen, Abraham John and Cedric Jones. 


In order to make thoughtful capacity building matches for partners who wanted to receive support, the Best Starts team shared a survey with all Best Starts partners in August 2019. 100 requests came in from about 90 organizations! (For reference, Best Starts funds about 220 partners). Partners ranked their needs from High, Medium, Low to gauge urgency. Partners have been matched with Best Starts capacity builders following thoughtful analysis and will receive 1:1 support through next spring.  

In addition to 1:1 coaching, this body of work will also include trainings (more info to come soon!) and minigrants available in 2020.  


Previous blog posts in our Capacity Building series: 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s