Race For Good 2019

Race For Good will consist of a 5k road race along with a Cycling Tour with a 50 mile option, 25 mile option and a 12 mile option. This event is a partnership with The Exchange NLA to raise funds for and promote "Give For Good" on Tuesday, May 7th and help raise funds for this day of giving.

Location: Lincoln Parish Park

Date: April 27, 2019

Time: 8am - 12pm

Hosted by: Anytime Fitness Ruston

Give For Good is North Louisiana's largest day of giving. It is a 24-hour online fundraising challenge to encourage the community members to support nonprofit organizations. Not only does this event provide an easy one-stop shop for donors, it provides organizations with the chance to earn bonus funds through the Lagniappe Fund and additional prizes throughout the day.

The Lagniappe Fund which amounted to almost a quarter million dollars in 2018, is divided up among the organizations based on the percentage of the total funds raised during Give For Good.

Below are The Exchange NLA members participating in Give For Good


Boys and Girls Club
Christian Community Action
D.A.R.T.
Elisha Ministries
Junior Auxiliary
Louisiana Center for the Blind
Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home
MedCamps of Louisiana
North Central Louisiana Arts Council
North Louisiana Farm Fresh (Ruston Farmers Market)
Rolling Hills Ministries:
Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation

We will give out age group awards as well as a custom finisher medal for the 5K!

Half Century Bike Tour Map
https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2423788714

Quarter Century Bike Tour Map
https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2423777632

Eighth Century Bike Tour Map
https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2422956028

Local Q&A: Dylan Sanders seeks to serve

Article originally published in the Sunday, February 10, 2019 edition of the Ruston Daily Leader.


Local Q&A: Dylan Sanders seeks to serve

By Starla Gatson

newsroom@rustonleader.com

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For Dylan Sanders, collaboration and serving others are key. A native of Kilgore, Texas, Sanders began his philanthropic career at age 15 when he began working for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in his hometown. Now, 10 years later, Sanders serves as program director of The Exchange. The Exchange, a program of the Ross Lynn Foundation, is a coalition of nonprofit organizations that exists to enhance the work of nonprofits by providing necessary resources, including but not limited to board development, locating funding sources and social media marketing. Sanders’s work with The Exchange has not only given him the opportunity for connection and collaboration, but has also earned him the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce’s Young Business Leader of the Year award. However, for Sanders, it is not about drawing the attention to himself; it’s about making a difference.

What brought you to Ruston?

I actually came to Ruston in 2011 to come to college. I started out working on my engineering degree and I got two and a half years into that and decided it’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, so I switched to psychology. When I graduated, I just stayed. I just bought a house in Ruston back in October so I’m here for the long haul.

Do you have a personal philosophy you live or work by?

I think it is, “Do the most good for as many people as you can” because I think that we do not exist for ourselves. We exist for others, and I think that God has definitely ordained this; I know that I believe the work we’re doing here is being put in place by the God of all creation.

What has been the best piece of business advice you've been given?

Don’t wait until everything is perfect to get started. You just got to start. You got to get out there and do it, and it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you are learning from those mistakes and as long as you are not letting those failures define who you are as a leader and who you are as a business professional.

What, in your opinion, is the most rewarding part of working in and with the Lincoln Parish community?

One of the things I really love about this area is there’s such a sense of “everyone is for each other” in this area. Ruston hasn’t always been this way; there’s a renewed sense of energy in this town and this parish, and it is unreal to me how much people are fighting for one another.

How do you hope to see The Exchange grow in the future, and what are a few long-term goals you have for it?

I hope that what people will see is that because of The Exchange, we’ve been able to make the lives of these nonprofits even better, so I hope that people will be able to see that and want to be a part of our work, whether it be through being a community venture partner, whether it’s through membership as a 501(c)3 or whether it is somebody who says, “Well, I don’t have any services to offer, but I’ll write this big fat check and help you fund what you’re doing.” I hope that everybody will see the work and recognize that it is good, it is beautiful, and it is making a difference, and they’ll want to be a part of it in some way. A long-term goal of mine would be to start a fund in which we’re able to help to fund some of these programs and projects that are happening in the city of Ruston and in Lincoln parish.

What does it mean to you to have been awarded the Chamber's Young Business Leader of the Year Award?

That is such an incredible recognition to me because of the work that we’re doing here; it solidified in my mind that the work that we’re doing here is important. I have to say that, again, it’s never been about my accomplishments, it’s never been about the things that I’ve been able to do, but I have to say that award comes to me on the backs of people for years and years that have been doing work in this community. That award would not have been possible without the work of NCLAC and without the work of the Boys and Girls Club and Trinity and all of these organizations that are doing amazing and beautiful work. And what I’ve done is I’ve brought them to the table, and I have introduced them to each other. And that’s such an important work, but without them, my work is nothing.

Sanders Awarded Young Business Leader of the Year

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It is with great pleasure that I accept this award, the Young Business Leader of the Year, from the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. I am so overwhelmed by the incredible show of support for our work with North Louisiana nonprofits. When we started The Exchange, I could never have dreamed of the ways that this community would come around us with support. It is clear to me that our work is important, that our nonprofits are making an abundant difference in the life of our community, and that there is much work to be done. We have only just begun!

Onward

-Dylan

Full Biography Originally Written for 2019 Chamber Banquet:
Dylan Sanders grew up in Kilgore, TX. He attended Louisiana Tech University and graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2015. Dylan interned at the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry while in college, where he helped plan events, led missions, worked with outreach, did website design, and social media advertising for the Foundation. In 2017, Dylan went to work with The Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation as a design consultant and was promoted to Program Director of The Exchange, a program under the Ross Lynn umbrella. Dylan is also the Co-Founder of UpAhead, LLC, a web design company that he and his college roommate started.

Dylan serves as the Young Adult Coordinator and is a member of Grace United Methodist Church and is a member of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council. He has done mission trips in New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, and his most recent in Cambodia. Dylan worked disaster relief in New York City after Hurricane Sandy and took a group of students to Baton Rouge after the 2016 floods to clean out churches that had been affected.

Dylan’s passion for helping others while improving the health of communities is reflected in everythinghe does. In a time where non-profits are competing for donors, volunteers, & resources, Dylan somehow manages to bring everyone to the table and show them how community collaboration works best.

Special Thanks to Anytime Fitness!

We are so grateful to have been the recipients of the proceeds raised by the first ever Rock Island Greenway Half Marathon and 10k! It was an incredible race, with over 170 runners participating! All proceeds from the run were donate by the host of the race, Anytime Fitness of Ruston! Thank you, Forrest and Nali Hummel, for such an amazing contribution to our work with North Louisiana nonprofits!

Outreach important to local community

Ruston, LA (Ruston Daily Leader) – Anyone living in this area either recognizes, or will come to learn, that outreach is vital to our community life. Most recently, there has been new and renewed energy in our area evidenced by the expanding outreach of our policy makers, businesses, civic organizations, churches, and nonprofits. This growing movement is making an irrevocable impact on the life, creativity, and health of our community. At the heart of this outreach are those organizations serving individuals. From food banks to thrift stores, community gardens to summer art camps, these organizations work tirelessly to improve the quality of life of the people they serve and to make a place where creative new life can happen. These groups passionately respond to a call-to-action in the community, all the while working to find funding, volunteers, and resources to bring their missions to fruition.

With the funding and business structure challenges of these groups in mind, the concept of building an organizational support system around the responders began to emerge. Jane Watts, Executive Director of The Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation (RLCF), and I began to vision and meet with local groups to better understand the challenges they face in their organizations’ life cycle. Our findings, which affirmed the need for such a support system, made way for the forming of The Exchange to help those serving do what they do even better.

The Exchange, a program of the RLCF, launched in late January of this year. It is a membership-based coalition of knowledge, resources, and shared outreach. It exists to enhance the current work of nonprofit organizations, nurture future leaders, and cultivate new and emerging programs. The Exchange serves to mobilize communal impact by connecting funders, policy makers, and responders and by offering resources, education, and support to its members.

Local organizations who become members can expect a whole host of benefits. Members are invited each month to gather, where like-minded responders are able to share their needs and resources in an effort to build relationships with others doing similar work. The Exchange operates with the mindset that collaboration is the key to successful and fruitful outreach; we believe in the importance of bringing our members together on a regular basis to nurture collaborative work. Our member organizations also have access to information concerning social media, marketing, business structure, and funding sources, with grant writing workshops slated for the future.

With just under four months since our launch, our program has grown to include over 20 area organizations serving Lincoln, Jackson, Union, and Claiborne Parishes. We’ve been able to identify $180,000 in grant opportunities for four of our members. We are beginning to discern and plan a collaborative grant that will focus on making place for a healthy, creative community life.

For more information about The Exchange, visit our website at exchangenla.org. Contact us with questions at theexchange.nla@gmail.com or Call/Text us at 318.245.8708


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Article written by Dylan Sanders, program director of The Exchange.

Call for Artists and Designers

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"The Reuse Project" Call for Artists & Designers is now open!


Deadline: October 15th, 2018 | 5:00pm.


Artists and Designers are invited to submit a design to be screen-printed on a 100% cotton, reusable shopping bag. At the end of the submission period, four (4) designs will be chosen as winners. The winning designs will then be screen-printed onto bags, one design per. The bags will then be sold in local businesses and markets with the mission of reducing the use of single use plastic bags. All proceeds from the sale of each reusable shopping bag will go to benefit The Exchange NLA, who exists to enhance the current work of nonprofit organizations, to nurture future leaders, and cultivate new and emerging programs!


All artwork and applications must be submitted before October 15th, 2018 at 5:00pm.


Limit one (1) design per person.


Categories Include:

Young Artist–Under 18 | Adult–18&Older

One (1) winner will be selected from the Young Artist category

Three (3) winners will be selected for the Adult category.


Winners will be notified and announced Mid-October. Each winner will received one (1) $50 gift card to Fine Line Supply Co. in Ruston, LA.


Applications and Art Guidelines can be found at https://www.exchangenla.org/reuse.

The Exchange: Helping North Louisiana non-profits and businesses thrive

Originally posted by KNOE News 8 | September 19. 2018

RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - From fighting poverty to mentoring kids, North Louisiana has several has several non-profits and small businesses. No matter the force behind the group, a Ruston program is making sure it thrives.

Jane Watts is the executive director for the Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation. She said, "In general the life of non-profits are growing."

Watts established her foundation in memory of her son, Ross Lynn. She said he had a heart for helping and serving communities. 

His desire is the force behind "The Exchange," an organization started to make sure small businesses and non-profits are successful.

Dylan Sander oversees the program. He said, their goal is to "Nurture and create a new generation of philanthropic people, a new generation of giving people."

He says they support the groups with everything from marketing, writing grants to networking. Sanders says some non-profits they support have already helped the area fight vital issues.

"Issues of hunger, transportation, and shelter," he said.

Current Groups:

-Boys and Girls Club of North Central Louisiana
-Jackson Parish Sheriff's Dept
-Louisiana Center for the Blind 
-Family Counseling Center
-North Central LA Arts Council
-Rolling Hills Ministries
-Trinity UMC Missions & Outreach
-LongLeaf Farm  
-Christian Community Action 
-H.E.L.P. Agency
-Louisiana Methodist Children & Family Services  
-Medcamps of Louisiana 
-Nu-Hope
-Seeds of Light 
- Union Museum Of History & Art
-Domestic Abuse Resistance Team
-Lifehouse Ministries
-The Owl Center
-Ruston Community Men's Shed 
-Ruston Farmers Market
-Star J Literacy Program, Inc.
-Wesley Foundation at LA Tech

Interested groups can check out The Exchange's website for more information: www.exchangenla.org

The Exchange Officially Opens

Originally published in The Ruston Daily Leader | September 09, 2018

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Exchange — A Ross Lynn Foundation Program. The program is a membership based coalition of knowledge, resources, and shared outreach. It exists to enhance the current work of nonprofit organizations, to nurture future leaders, and cultivate new and emerging programs. Jane Watts is the Executive director of the Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation, Dylan Sanders is the program director of The Exchange. It is located at 122 South Trenton St. For more information call 245-8708 or go to http://exchangenla.org.

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Calling All Volunteers!

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Whether you are a student needing service hours or an individual wanting to offer time serving others, let us know.  The EXCHANGE is a member based organization for area non-profits and we keep a list of names of individuals wanting to serve who may not be aware of the nonprofits needing volunteers or how to get in touch with them.

If you let us know what area you like to offer your time in or just find out what needs are out there, we can help.

Email us at theexchange.nla@gmail.com or Call/Text us at 318.245.8708.

We can help you make a connection!

Main Street Exchange: It's changing times and growing focus

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Main Street Exchange is opening its space to make room for the work of The EXCHANGE, an organization of non-profits serving our area.  The EXCHANGE is a program of the Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation and it supports local non-profits with education opportunities and access to funding sources.  The members meet monthly at the shop for learning and open space conversations about current and emerging work.

The Shop is still open, the art and artisans works, antiques and gifts are still here -  the times have changed to Monday -Thursday 10-3 and Friday 10-2.  On Saturdays you will find us in a booth somewhere at a festival or farmers’ market or makers’ fair.  We will be sharing information about the non-profit services being offered, signing up volunteers for the members and selling a few shop

We've Launched The Exchange!

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The EXCHANGE is a program of the Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation launched in January of 2018 in Ruston. It is being offered to support area non-profits and to be part of a growing response in the community to meet undeserved needs. It is a member organization for nonprofits providing ongoing learning opportunities and resources to strengthen their organizational cycles, nurture relationship and coalition building and incubate new forms of response to local social and economic problems.

The present members of The EXCHANGE identified the following as needs for their work to be better served:

-Access to information about available foundation, corporate and government grants

-Grant implementation training (especially collaborative work)

-Tutoring in social media marketing

-Opportunities for relationship building and collaboration in providing services

-Opportunities to develop cross sector partnerships

On February 28th, The EXCHANGE held its first working “Lunch and Share” event, during which an expert in collaborative grant writing facilitated a brain storming session for relationship and coalition development ideas.

During the first year, The EXCHANGE will involve its member organizations in the following services:

-Host monthly “Lunch and Share” meetings to promote nonprofit relationship and coalition development

-Conduct bi-annual, day-long workshops on topics identified by EXCHANGE members, such as grantsmanship and social media marketing

-Provide on-going access to the Foundation Center online database of grants

-Publish a Directory of Nonprofit Services in North Louisiana

-Develop Community Venture Partners serving the members

-Collaborate with La Tech Enterprise and Technology Business Development Center in projects of common interest

-Promote cross sector collaboration with the private sector and local government

-Host quarterly meetings of funders, policy makers and responders