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July 2024

ArtistWorks offers students personalized feedback from the best teachers in their field

ArtistWorks was founded in 2008 by David and Patricia Butler to revolutionize the way the world teaches and learns music. From their headquarters in Napa, California, ArtistWorks has launched 13 online instruction sites, each utilizing the Video Exchange Learning™ method.

Offering lessons in 14 different styles of music including acoustic guitar, jazz improv/gypsy guitar, finger style solo guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, acoustic bass, harmonica, jazz/fusion drums, rock drums, DJ scratching, classical piano and banjo, Artist Works is an innovator in using technology to improve the learning experience.

For more information, go to

Politicians would be lousy business people

From the Washington Post, January 5, 2012

By John Heymann

Politicians often remark that our country must be run more like a business. They are right. But the choices some of these politicians make suggest that they would be lousy businessmen.

In my consulting business, I know I can draw down assets for just so long without replenishing the account. One way I reinvigorate my business is to invest in developing new services and processes. Our clients will continue to hire us only if we provide value and stay one step ahead of the competition.

I also invest in my people by paying them well, training them, and providing good benefits, including health care, flex time, and retirement contributions. It’s the right thing to do and it makes good business sense. My employees must be well trained to be productive and innovative. And with a fair compensation package, they are able to focus on delivering their best effort everyday. While I could probably make more money this quarter if I changed that model –- a year from now I’d be out of business.

My staff and I work hard to make sure that we are as energy and resource efficient as possible. For instance, we’ve invested in technology that enables us to telecommute. This has significantly reduced energy consumption and waste streams. These practices have lowered our costs and, in addition, the knowledge gained has led to new services that our clients value. Additionally, both staff and clients have made it clear that the company’s commitment to these principles is important to them.

Many political leaders don’t seem to understand the importance of reinvesting, this is why I say they would likely be lousy at business. They refuse to make smart choices that help our nation grow. We can’t have a world-class economy without a world-class educational system that prepares Americans to excel. We can’t have productive workers when they’re worried about how to pay for their family’s healthcare. We can’t have real national security when we depend on critical energy resources beyond our control. Finally, we can’t allow some companies to pass their costs of doing business onto society (which really means onto consumers, workers, taxpayers, and other companies), just to juice up returns for a small group of executives and investors who already do extremely well.

As a small business owner, I, for reasons practical and moral, provide decent pay and benefits, minimize energy use and waste streams, and respect the natural resources on which we all depend. Expecting that some or all of those costs should be borne by others would not be tolerated for long by my employees, clients, or the communities that support my business. It’s time our elected officials hold big business accountable to do the same.

Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the U.S. We should encourage capitalism to work its magic to generate profits and all the benefits that follow from that, but let’s invest in ways that build long-term value. And let’s insist that incentives like tax breaks and subsidies reward companies for shouldering the true cost of doing business, not simply serve as entitlements. That makes good business sense, too.

LOHAS Conference, Boulder, CO

Does your organization’s fundraising strategy consist of saying “we need some money, let’s go get some”? Do you lose eye contact with board members whenever the subject of asking for donations comes up?

NewLevel Group's John Heymann just presented a an interactive workshop on "Making the Ask" in fundraising at the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) Conference in Boulder, CO.

This interactive and high-energy workshop was aimed at helping nonprofit  and for-profit social entreprenuers build their skills through training on the theory and practice of effective fund development, including:

  • a strategic approach to fund development
  • concepts of effective fundraising a chance to practice what you learn in a safe environment
  • a panel of experts to provide valuable feedback

For more information about the LOHAS Conference, click here

Napa planners approve new hours for di Rosa

Napa Valley Register, Dec 11, 2011

The di Rosa gallery and nature preserve will soon be able to open its doors on weekends for the first time, and its directors hope the change will make more Napans aware of the cultural landmark in their own county.

County planning commissioners approved the change Wednesday as part of a package of permit revisions that also allows buses onto the di Rosa property and eases curbs on attendance at special events.

Di Rosa now will be allowed to open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April to November, and until 4 p.m. in the winter months. The center also will stay open until 9 p.m. one night a week — probably on Thursday — while closing on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Located in the Carneros winemaking area, the 217-acre di Rosa center is home to a collection of painting and sculpture mostly from Northern California artists, including more than 60 with Napa County ties.

The collection was acquired over the course of more than four decades by Rene di Rosa, who bought the site in 1960 and founded a pioneering pinot noir and chardonnay vineyard. Di Rosa died in 2010.

“He had a vision of a community museum where the art would not be locked away from where it was created, where it would be integrated with nature and the world where it was made,” said Kathryn Reasoner, the center’s executive director.

However, restrictions in the gallery’s permit have kept down attendance, its directors say. Di Rosa currently can accept Saturday and midday Sunday visitors only by appointment, and different occupancy limits for different events has complicated planning for art exhibits and lectures. The revised county permits allows the museum to hold up to 36 public or private events, each with a maximum of 250 guests.

The lack of bus access had left schools unable to arrange field trips without carpooling. Removing that barrier should give Napa-area children a valuable cultural opportunity that few schools can provide themselves, according to Miki Hsu Leavey, one of several di Rosa supporters to speak at the meeting.

“The ability to see art in its realness is hard for schools to give,” said Leavey, a Napa painter and arts educator. “If you look at a picture in a magazine of people tasting wine, it’s nothing like having that wine on your own tongue,” she said, using an adult analogy.

County planners said the addition of turning and merge lanes on Highway 12/121 — the Carneros Highway — has eased access into di Rosa, removing one of the biggest constraints on the gallery accepting more visitors.

Di Rosa directors expect the gallery and preserve to attract some 15,000 visitors this year, down about 5,000 visitors from its 2008 peak. Helping the center extend its reach will give it valuable help in a time of shrinking arts donations, said Commissioner Matt Pope.

“I’m deeply concerned about the lack of arts funding, and I’m afraid we’ll pay dearly for that as a society,” he said. “To have something that can develop vision and critical thinking, something beyond what the Kardashians are up to now, is a real gift.”



Read the full Napa Valley Register article here

NLG offers expanded back office support services

Given the increasing challenges of running a successful nonprofit, more and more organizations are looking for creative ways to build effectiveness. Outsourcing routine tasks is a smart option for many nonprofits facing rising costs and limited resources. The NewLevel Group team can seamlessly relieve overburdened organizations of many ‘necessary chores.’

Many nonprofits that contract with us for back office assistance find the cost equal to, or even lower than, the cost of doing it themselves. When added to the impact of freeing up board members and staff to do what they do best – communicate with the community, bring in hard-earned donations, and guide the organization to increasing its effectiveness – the benefit is even greater.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, our clients value the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the organization’s compliance and fiduciary obligations are being supported with a high degree of professional care.

So, if you serve on the board of an organization that could benefit from experienced back office support, or simply know of a nonprofit that could use some help, please get in touch. I’m happy to provide more information and client testimonials.

You can find additional details on our website

For more information, contact Mary Beth Glisson at 707-255-5555 x101 or


Hawaii, Endangered Species Capital of the World.

Despite its abundant beauty and renowned tropical setting, Hawaii is the endangered species capital of the world, with hundreds of plants and animals, including more than 30 species of birds, listed as endangered or threatened.There are more endangered species per square mile on the Hawaiian Islands than any other place on the planet, and many of Hawaii’s endemic species are threatened by extinction. The Hawai’i Wildlife Center, whose mission is to protect, conserve and aid in the recovery of Hawaii’s native wildlife through hands-on treatment, training, research, science education and cultural programs, was created as part of the solution to address this issue.

With initial funding complete for a brand new, 4,500 square foot building, scheduled to open in November, the board of directors of the HWC has engaged NewLevel Group to help plan its next-stage strategies for operational and strategic success.

The Center, housing a wildlife treatment facility, an interpretive lanai, and an education pavilion, will be open seven days a week, year-round, providing medical and husbandry care for sick, injured, contaminated and orphaned native wildlife, including those affected by natural and man-made disasters. All rescued animals will be returned to the wild. To learn more, go to:


Using Design for Better Health

Patient safety is the topic when the Center for Health Design, working in partnership with Facility Guidelines Institute, and with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, brings together healthcare specialists and experts at Virtua Health's newest medical facility in Voorhees, NJ. The participants will spend two days discussing ways in which patient safety concerns can be integrated into the design of healthcare facilities.

NewLevel Group is providing process facilitation to help the working group reach consensus on recommendations around key issues to address patient safety concerns at different stages in the work for healthcare facilities.

The Center for Health Design champions evidence-based design as a foundation for building healthier, safer, more efficient and more effective healing environments. They offer programs designed to engage, inspire, educate and encourage worldwide adoption and implementation of evidence-based design in hospitals, clinics, wellness centers, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and other residential care facilities.

Merging Early Childhood Education Programs

Three years after a merger between a successful Head Start program and a local government subsidized child care agency, the Children’s Learning Center in Jackson Hole, WY needed to refresh its strategies and re-focus its board. Working with NewLevel Group’s John Heymann, the board is strengthening the CLC’s approach to governance, and developing new strategies to deal with shrinking government support for their critical programs.

With 7 locations in Teton and Sublette Counties (WY) The Children’s Learning Center, teaches the way children learn. Their programs range from early education for infants and toddlers to inclusive preschool, and include Head Start as well as Special Education. Our services include free developmental screenings for children birth to age 5, therapy and special education as well as family resources and service coordination. 

Fundraising Support for South American University

NewLevel Group recently completed a comprehensive fundraising plan for one of the top private universities in Bogota, Columbia. Teaming up with Rob Kusel, from Essex & Drake, NewLevel Group consultants created a step-by-step approach to raising US$25 million for the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. The funding will help build a high tech center on the school’s Bogota Campus, which will also provide distance learning opportunities for students all over Columbia, as well as provide funds for hundreds of post-secondary scholarships.

Family Resource Centers Build Collaboration

Three of Napa County’s Family Resource Centers have joined forces to explore ways to work together to deliver more services at lower cost. Cope Family Center, St Helena Family Center, and Calistoga Family Center will work with NewLevel Group’s John Heymann, and Stephanie Snyder, the former Executive Director of the Calistoga Center, to build alignment between the three agencies and their Boards to identify and implement opportunities for joint effort.

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