CCP was founded in 1996 by a small group of inspired practitioners in the field of organization development who believed in the power of service, learning, and collaboration.
They saw a need and wanted to be in service of the nonprofit sector, building capacity one organization at a time by offering pro-bono consulting services. They believed in learning, for themselves and for the rising generation of new practitioners in the field – paying it forward so to speak – as mentors and teachers had nurtured their own learning.
Most importantly, they believed in the power of collaboration and were energized by the notion that we are better together, working and learning side by side, with our clients, with each other, and with our community.
Today we are still an all-volunteer organization – we have no paid staff – the spirit of generosity is the fuel that keeps our community going. We pride ourselves in being adaptive, experimental, light in structure and horizontal in leadership. We are grounded in community and friendship. Each year we ask ourselves:
“Are we still having fun?”
“Where is our energy?”
Our answers to these questions guide our direction and inspire our work together.
We believe in the power of collaboration and are energized by the notion that we are better together, working and learning side by side, with our clients and with each other.
CCP inspires people to join in learning about organization development as volunteer consultants while helping nonprofit organizations build capacity.
We strive to serve small nonprofits who do not have a budget to hire paid coaches and consultants. Often, they are all volunteer organizations, or have small and nimble staff teams. In recent years, with the help of our partner organization Nonprofit Association of Washington, we have worked with more diverse client organizations who serve rural areas across Washington State, and organizations and leaders who represent and serve the BIPOC community.
Our volunteer consultants come from all walks of life, training, and areas of expertise. We don’t require any special educational degrees or credentials. We do require each person to come with a willingness to learn, a deep appreciation for the nonprofit sector, a collaborative team-oriented mindset, and the generosity to invest time and energy in support of our nonprofit clients.
Our Lead Practitioners
Our Lead Practitioners and Coaches bring many years of experience and deep expertise in coaching, consulting, and the nonprofit sector. Their areas of focus and specialty vary widely, but one thing is common: they are dedicated to strengthening the nonprofit sector and approach their work with learning and curiosity.
Our 'Keepers of the Flame' work behind the scenes to recruit and support our clients, volunteer consultants, lead practitioners, and coaches, and sustain our organization throughout the year.
If CCP were a nonprofit like our clients (which we are not, we are really just a long-standing community project) then our “Flames” would function much like a Board of Directors.
Current Flame members:
The CCP Birth Story
Our original service model grew out of the 1995 national conference of the Organization Development Network in Seattle. A pre-conference workshop track, called ‘The Practicum,’ offered attendees a chance to work in a team to provide a Seattle non-profit organization an intense, real-world, three-day consultation experience. Each team of 6 people was provided with a coach, an experienced OD consultant, who would help the team prepare for the consultation. Kathleen Ryan and Geoff Bellman, both based in Seattle, served as coaches to a team. Pat Vivian, also from Seattle, was instrumental in identifying the non-profit clients.
The experience and outcomes were so inspiring, Kathy and Geoff made the commitment to test this practicum concept. Pat readily joined in the effort, along with Steve Cato and others who lived in the greater Seattle area and had participated in the pre-conference experience. Those who came together—truly on a dark and stormy night in January of 1996—committed to serving as the steering committee for the Community Consulting Partnership and named themselves The Keepers of the Flame. The fundamental values of service and learning–for all involved, regardless of role–were declared. CCP was born.
CCP also began (and continues) to offer organization development workshops at no cost to the wider community of nonprofits organizations and consultants. So far we have facilitated workshops on honest productive communication, organizational trauma and healing, and consulting with LGBTQ organizations.
In 2018, as The Keepers of the Flame were thinking about CCP’s future, they took to heart information they were hearing about the experiences of executive directors. EDs seemed to be under extraordinary pressure and were signaling the need for support and help to overcome isolation and discouragement. Recognizing that supporting and coaching organization leaders was an essential part of our team consultation, we reached out to the Nonprofit Association of Washington, with an offer to provide pro bono coaching to EDs. The response was immediate, and since that time, CCP has offered pro bono coaching services to 15-20 nonprofit leaders each year from across Washington State.