In 2005, Dr. Zena Lansky and her husband Warren Rodgers both retired to pursue their Philanthropic efforts fulltime! At that point, Zena was a noted Surgeon/Nutritionist/Entrepreneur who had been practicing medicine for more than 40 years in the Tampa Bay area, and Warren had more than 40 years of experience in Marketing as a highly successful Corporate Executive, Entrepreneur, and the Founder and President of two Major Florida 501(C)3’s. Over the next five years, they gradually kept expanding their Philanthropy, primarily in the areas of Health Care, and the Performing Arts.
By 2010, they were involved with/supporting 21 MAJOR local Not for Profit Organizations ( as of today, it’s now 24 )! However, because both Zena & Warren believe in being involved in the Organizations they support financially, over this 5 year period they both served on numerous NFP Boards, Committees, Councils, Etc.! In the process of doing this they observed numerous examples of Business Best Practices that could be shared with other NFP Organizations. In 2010, they began a series of Mini Workshops, focusing on potential areas of improvement in Marketing, Fundraising, Operations, Staffing, Board Development, Etc.! Sometimes these Mini Workshops, which typically ran from 2 hours to a full day, were presented to the NFP’s whole staff, sometimes to KEY Executives, sometimes to the Board, and sometimes to a combination of all three! By April of 2011, Zena & Warren had conducted over an 18 month period, 31 Mini Workshops at 16 of the 21 NFP Organizations they were involved in supporting!
However, they began to have two problems. First they had numerous requests from the organizations they had already presented Mini Workshops for, to return and do more! Second, 11 other MAJOR NFP Organizations had heard about the Mini Workshops, and approached Zena & Warren about conducting one for them! Needless to say, trying to find the time to prepare and conduct all these Mini Workshops was a MAJOR logistics challenge. So to address all these requests, Zena & Warren decided to have a Not for Profit Workshop and invite all 21 organizations they were involved with, and the 11 others who had expressed an interest, to a half day NFP Workshop at Ruth Eckerd Hall, to be held on 9/30/11. At this Workshop, they expected about 35 NFP Organizations, and 75 NFP Professionals to attend! However, as the word spread, and without any advertising, the reservation list kept growing to the point where a total of 188 NFP Organizations, and 387 NFP Professionals ended up attending the first NFP Workshop.
Because of the overwhelming response, Warren & Zena decided to make their NFP Workshop an annual event and invite all Executives / Professionals / Donors / Board Members / Leadership Volunteers from any NFP Organization to attend. At the Second Annual NFP Workshop held at the Straz Center on 9/19/12, a total of 910 people from 467 NFP organizations registered to attend. Visit the website to view the 2013 list of participating organizations. At the Third Annual All Day NFP Workshop held again at the Straz Center on 8/29/13, a total of 1,452 people from 829 NFP organizations registered to attend. Recently, Florida Trend Magazine announced, for the second year in a row, that last year’s Workshop was the “…largest NFP one day Educational Event held in the state in 2013 ”. In addition, the readers of Tampa Bay Magazine have recently voted, for the third year in a row, the Third Annual NFP Workshop as the “Best Philanthropic Program offered in the area.