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