January – May 2024

In the nonprofit world, story is everything. The story of your organization can create understanding and empathy and attract volunteers. The stories of the people and the causes that you serve rally support and, ideally, donors. A good story, well told, can be a catalyst for profound change.

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and The John R. Oishei Foundation are proud to announce StoryGrowing WNY 2024! Through a kickoff presentation and a comprehensive in-person, five-month program, you will develop the skills to ethically craft and tell the story of your organization and its mission in a way that will inspire and motivate others to rally behind you. StoryGrowing WNY starts in January 2024 with monthly sessions through May.

Join us for the 2024 virtual kickoff event.

The 2024 StoryGrowing WNY season kicks off October 20, 2023 with a virtual event featuring Kirsten Farrell, Director of The Goodman Center. The Goodman Center teaches communications and marketing professionals how to reach more people with more impact through storytelling.  “Stories that Drive Change” is a 90-minute presentation via Zoom that is free and open to all WNY nonprofits, and will focus on:

  • What makes a compelling story, and the differences between “journalistic” stories intended to inform concisely, and “dramatic” stories intended to engage and motivate.
  • Ethical storytelling, and the difference between deficit and asset-based framing.
  • The six (6) categories of stories nonprofits must tell, featuring examples of how WNY nonprofits are effectively using them, as well as guidelines for how organizations can use stories in every aspect of their communications: Advocacy/Programs, Development, Recruiting, Internal Communications, PR/External Communication

Registration is free and open to all WNY nonprofits. While attending the virtual kickoff is not a mandatory prerequisite for applying for the full StoryGrowing program, we strongly encourage attending if your organization is planning to apply.

Registration info.

2024 StoryGrowing WNY Virtual Kickoff Event

“Stories That Drive Change” featuring Kirsten Farrell of The Goodman Center

Friday, October 20, 2023 at 11:00am EST

After registering, you will receive an email with a link to join the event.

Meet Kirsten Farrell.

Kirsten Farrell

Director of The Goodman Center

Kirsten Farrell is the Director of The Goodman Center, an organization that teaches communications and marketing professionals how to reach more people with more impact. She publishes the monthly newsletter, Free-range Thinking, and The Do Good Better Blog, both of which are Goodman Center resources that share tools and guidance for public interest professionals to connect to and communicate with their audience.

The Goodman Center is internationally known for speeches and workshops on storytelling. Kirsten has facilitated innumerable workshops and webinars for clients including The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, UCLA, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Bank of America, NOAA, The Nature Conservancy, and many others.

Kirsten also served on the advisory team for The Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Speak Up! Program LA, where she trains people with lived experience of homelessness to tell their stories and advocate for permanent supportive housing. In her spare time, she performs as a company member of the nationally recognized Impro Theatre doing long-form narrative improv.

For more information, visit:

Apply for StoryGrowing WNY 2024.

The application period for the full, in-depth, in-person 2024 StoryGrowing WNY program begins after the virtual kickoff event on October 20th, 2023. Local communications professionals will lead sessions on brand positioning, public relations, digital media, and more. The mid-season point of this year’s program will also feature an interactive workshop with Kirsten Farell, focused on helping participants apply the skills they have learned through the program so far, and preparing them for the training that lies ahead. The StoryGrowing WNY program will begin in January of 2024 and will run for five consecutive months, ending in May.

While attending the virtual kickoff is not mandatory, we highly recommend attending if your organization is interested in applying to the StoryGrowing WNY program.

A collaborative effort.

StoryGrowing WNY is presented by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and The John R. Oishei Foundation.

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and The John R. Oishei Foundation are committed to assisting Western New York’s nonprofit ecosystem build communications expertise and capacity to help them be more visible, engage more in the community and, ultimately, increase fundraising. StoryGrowing is a comprehensive, collaborative program designed to enhance and expand nonprofits’ ability to share their story effectively.

Both foundations celebrate and prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of their work. People who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or from other under-represented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.