News Articles

Doug’s Paid Paid Vacation

Yoderland ATV Park

Almost three years ago, CCNY started an initiative called Paid Paid Vacation (PPV) to help foster company wellness.  Every quarter, full-time staff here are entered into a draw for a chance to win $300 to be used towards something fun (as in, not bills) during a two-day vacation.  Those days are in addition to their usual paid time off.  This round, our IT guy Doug won and for a second time at that!

Kiddos at Strong Museum

He had a packed mini-vacation with his son and the latter’s cousins passing through Rochester, Allegany, and Gowanda for a Museum of Play, ATV riding, and a Twenty One Pilots show.

Playing with toys for the first time in years!
No more lighters, only camera flash

Click for more details about CCNY’s unlimited vacation policy and last quarter’s PPV winner.

CCNY Presenting At AEA Conference This November!


We’re pleased to announce that our Evaluation team will be presenting three sessions at this year’s American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference in Minneapolis!

Our evaluators will be discussing:

Click the links above for more details about each session.

Sample visual based on our work with NFCSD.

If you’re attending as well, be sure to say hello. We’d love to hear from you!

Alana’s Paid Paid Vacation


Being the concert lover that I am, I was thrilled to use my Paid Paid Vacation to attend back-to-back shows. First, I did an overnight in Pittsburgh with my fiancé and soon-to-be in-laws for Jeff Lynne’s ELO as well as some sightseeing around the city.  Despite only being a 3.5 hour drive from Buffalo, I had never had the pleasure of visiting Pittsburgh before.

Alana and family at Heinz Field.

The weather was absolutely perfect and it was a great city to walk around. They had been preparing for a regatta at the three rivers and we stumbled across a beautiful sand sculpture in the middle of Point State Park.  We also got a great family photo in front of Heinz Field.

Korn at Darien Lake.

On the way back to Buffalo, we made a pit stop at Presque Isle Beach before continuing on to Darien Lake for concert #2 where we saw Alice in Chains and Korn, two bands that had been on my musical bucket list for quite some time. It was an incredible show! I am so thankful to CCNY for gifting me some time and cash for such a fun long weekend.

Click for more details about CCNY’s unlimited vacation policy and last quarter’s PPV winner.

New Fellowship Opportunity!


Applications are now being accepted for The John R. Oishei Foundation and Rockwood Leadership Institute‘s new Fellowship for Leaders of Color.  This Art of Leadership (AoL) training is designed to build and strengthen critical personal and organizational leadership skills over the course of a rigorous five-day residential retreat at Beaver Hollow Conference Center, from November 18th to 22nd 2019.

The deadline is Sunday, September 1st.

Please direct any questions to Program Director, Lisa Olszak Zumstein, at

Freaky Friday!


CCNY recently entered the Twilight Zone, or at least Buffalo’s version of it.

Our Vendor Coordinator, Alana, who was recommended by her predecessor, Amanda, for the position turns out to be second cousins once removed with her!

Even more amusingly, they both only found out a couple weeks ago via Facebook.  Alana said, “We spent a good amount of time in shock over this since we have known each other for about five years and just stumbled across this information.  Not even using an ancestry DNA system. So, Amanda refers me for her position, I currently sit at her desk and do the same work that she had, and we come to find out that we are related.  It goes to show just how small a world it is, especially in Buffalo.  Amanda’s parents and grandparents came to attend our Hibschweiler family reunion last weekend with about forty other relatives.  Her parents ended up winning our second annual bocce ball tournament.”

Amanda confirmed: “It was really a shot in the dark, but Alana and I are friends on Facebook and I saw someone post on Alana’s page with the last name Hibschweiler.  And that is not a super common last name… So I was like, ‘well, I think if we go back, maybe we can find a common denominator, so I asked for more info such as her mom’s parents’ names and I gave her my grandparents’ name.  Then I reached out to my mom and asked her if she knew anyone with these names and my mom was actually at her parents’ house and my grandma was like ‘We’re going to Norine’s this weekend!’ and literally the rest is history… I didn’t even know Alana was my cousin when I recommended her to replace me because she is awesome and now knowing we’re related, she’s even more awesome!  I live in Indiana now, but I will be back for the next Hibschweiler family reunion.”

With odds like these, they might want to consider Powerball.

Data and Performance Management in the Community

David Monroe, our Director of Evaluation and Analytics, discussing the purpose of dashboards and data dissemination.

This week/ for the last few days, CCNY has been training local organizations about the nuts-and-bolts of data evaluation, analytics, and business intelligence.  Today, we’re presenting to another local non-profit, the Service Collaborative, about data and performance management.  We’ll be sharing best practices for logic models and dashboard development to ensure quality data is being collected and readily analyzed, which in turn maximizes positive program outcomes.  Read more about our PIE Performance Report here.

Evaluation and Improvement Strategies: Spotlight On Yoga


Yoga’s been all the rage for some time now in ‘wellness’ and mainstream communities alike.  In fact, as of 2016, the number of people practicing yoga in the US nearly doubled.  But what is wellness really?  And is yoga the mind-body panacea so many claim it is?

As a healthcare and quality improvement-oriented organization, we thought it’d be interesting to poll a microcosm of the non-profit sector, i.e., our own staff, to get a cross-section of attitudes and beliefs about yoga. We conducted an anonymous survey and despite the small sample (n = 14), found a wide range of experiences with yoga.

The vast majority of our employees have tried yoga at least once. Interestingly, although a majority (51.7%) have been practicing yoga for several years (one person for almost two decades), 41.7% still consider themselves to be Beginners.

There was overlap in positive and negative associations with yoga.
Exactly half of our employees practice mindfulness.

Since this wasn’t a complex study being submitted for peer review, our internal survey was decidedly casual in approach. However, at its core, was a key data collection technique: interviewing. This allowed us to capture more balanced and nuanced perspectives than a questionnaire alone could have, which in turn echoed the variance in the wider population. A selection of these is available below.

As reported in the New York Times, yoga can actually be quite dangerous for some people, even seasoned instructors.  Contrary to the typical Western approach to medical care, it is important to recognize that a one-size-fits-all strategy does not work for one’s own body and by extension, for entire companies and societies. We each have to figure out what works for us given our unique set of circumstances.

Ultimately, it all comes down to choices. We can choose to improve ourselves. We can choose to find alternatives when things don’t work out. We can choose not to give up.

Better data means better choices and better outcomes.

To find out more about how CCNY can tailor process improvements to your organization’s needs, call us at (716) 855-0007, ext. 317 or e-mail

Meghan’s Albany Adventure


My trip to Albany for the NYS 21st CCLC RoS Spring Conference was my first experience traveling professionally for a conference. It was held at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center over the course of three days, consisting of multiple general sessions and workshops for participants to choose for to further develop professional qualities needed to implement, manage, and evaluate the variety of after-school programming that is funded by the 21st CCLC grant.

Workshop and session topics were comprehensive and included literacy and equity among children, social-emotional learning, and trauma-informed care. During the evaluators’ session, an open discussion and collaboration about the current evaluation report requirements took place between all the evaluators and representatives from the NYS Department of Education. It was a powerful experience to be engaged with other evaluation professionals. Given that this was my first time attending, it was a treat to network and converse with seasoned peers. On the last day, I chose to participate in a roundtable discussion about the McKinney-Vento Law and its impact on youth programming.

We were also well fed during the entire event. The Desmond provided breakfast and lunch across multiple days so I had the opportunity to try their famous bread pudding, which was definitely a consistent theme and talking point throughout the conference. It was even referenced in numerous 21CCLC e-mails leading up to my trip (for good reason– it was delicious). In the brief downtime that I had (emphasis on brief) I took a dip in the pool and ventured out to the Crossgates Mall. All in all, it was a great experience filled with networking, a wealth of new information, and of course, dessert.

CCNY Attending The 21st CCLC Spring 2019 Conference


From May 29th to 31st, our evaluator, Meghan Harris, will be attending the Afterschool Experience 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Symposium in Albany.

This conference is hosted by the 21st CCLC Rest-of-State (ROS) Resource Center for the purposes of giving CCLC grantees an opportunity to learn more about grant guideline changes, improve foundational skills for improving after-school programs, and connect with other organizations who have similar missions.

As a quality improvement-oriented collective, we’re committed to our staff’s continual professional development so we can better serve our clients.

If you would like to hear more about how CCNY can enhance your project, please call us at (716) 855-0007, ext. 317 or email us at