Sept. 8 from 2-3:15 p.m. CT

  • Free to members and nonmembers
Register Online


Webinar Description

With 2020 being a high-stakes election year, community-based organizations need to ramp up civic engagement activities around the country. The Alliance has partnered with experienced members and Nonprofit VOTE to provide examples from the field, along with resources containing guidance on voter and civic engagement in the new toolkit, Strategies for Mobilizing Voters: A Toolkit for Nonprofit Community-Based Organizations. This webinar will build on the toolkit guidance by delving into ways to engage your community in the democratic process given the unique challenges of COVID-19.

Through on-the-ground examples, a panel of Alliance members will show that voter engagement is easier than commonly perceived since it is a natural extension of the mission and values of community-based organizations. Panelists will describe concrete tactics and strategies they have used to engage staff and community members in the democratic process and how they are adapting those strategies for COVID-19 conditions and constraints. The webinar will also feature a representative from Alliance partner Nonprofit VOTE, who will discuss online voter registration, mail-in voting tools, and more.

Learn from community-based organizations that have:

  • Made voting an extension of their missions by leading voter registration drives year-round, not just leading up to election day
  • Galvanized staff to register themselves, as well as their communities
  • Confronted and overcame communal apathy stemming from intergenerational poverty and systemic neglect
  • Inspired people to act with educational, relatable messaging on issues that mattered to the community

National Voter Registration Day is fast approaching, so join us to learn about effective mobilization campaigns and voter engagement that can make a positive impact for all families and communities.


  • How voter engagement is already embedded in the mission of your organization
  • Proven tactics that Alliance members have used to engage communities in the democratic process
  • Voter outreach tools that will be helpful for organizing your community in the era of COVID-19 

Who Should Attend

  • CEOs
  • Policy directors
  • Community outreach directors


Susanne Cole
President and CEO
Pressley Ridge

Susanne L. Cole was appointed president and CEO of Pressley Ridge in Pittsburgh in 2011. In this role, she is responsible for overall leadership for the strategic direction, fiscal, operational, and administrative management of the organization.

Cole has devoted her career to serving children and families in our communities. She is passionate about helping those that face challenges reach their full potential. She began her career with Pressley Ridge in 1990, working directly with children and families in one of the many programs Pressley Ridge operates. Through the years, she has held several roles with increasing responsibility, including executive director of West Virginia and Virginia; senior vice president of programs; and, most recently, COO before becoming president and CEO.

Cole holds a master’s in business administration from Chatham University in Pittsburgh as well as a master’s in special education and bachelor’s in criminal justice from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

Polina Makievsky
Vice President of Strategy and Innovation

Polina Makievsky, vice president of strategy and innovation at SaintA in Milwaukee, steers strategic organization-wide and programmatic initiatives using her years of experience in nonprofit management, program development, and innovation. Prior to joining SaintA, she was at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a national association for health and human service nonprofits. There, she was responsible for new program design, knowledge and content management, and leadership development.

Makievsky holds a master’s in public and social policy from the Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s in political science from Smith College.

Rinal Ray
Interim Executive Director
People Serving People

Rinal Ray is the interim executive director at People Serving People, where she leads a dynamic team in responding to the crisis of family homelessness and works to change systems to prevent the experience of family homelessness. Previously, she served as associate executive director and director of systems change and community engagement at People Serving People.

She also teaches nonprofit advocacy, lobbying, and organizing in the Master’s in Advocacy and Political Leadership program at Metropolitan State University. Ray is a former deputy public policy director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN), where she advanced the organization’s policy agenda at the state and local levels, trained leaders on nonprofit advocacy, and led special legal projects for the statewide association. Prior to her role at MCN, Ray served as a staff attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation at William Mitchell College of Law.

She has a bachelor’s in international studies and political science from Macalester College and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. Ray was a 2015-2016 Humphrey Policy Fellow and was named a 2020 Women in Business Honoree by the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal.

Nicque Mabrey
Community Engagement Manager
People Serving People

Nicque Mabrey, community engagement manager at People Serving People, is responsible for managing community engagement through a robust community partnership program, trauma-informed care community capacity building, supporting guests in leading our Civic Engagement, and developing an organizing model unique to families experiencing homelessness. She is a community and cultural organizer, proud to be building power in Minnesota for over 15 years. Mabrey holds a bachelor’s in social work from The College of St. Scholastica.

Previously, Mabrey served in elections at Hennepin County, GOTV coordinator with MN Voice, and associate director of policy for Outfront Minnesota. She is passionate about healing work through intersectional, multigenerational racial justice movements that center youth and families. Mabrey is a past board chair of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and leader with Take Action Minnesota.

Odessa Walker
Director of Human Services
Rockford Housing Authority

Odessa Walker has been the director of human services for the Rockford Housing Authority since 2017. She has been in the Public Housing industry for 10 years, where she started her career as resident social services coordinator at the Freeport Housing Authority for two years, family self-sufficiency coordinator for three years, and director of education and training for two years. Walker was responsible for overseeing all resident programs to ensure their success by providing classroom educational training and implementing programs that addressed employment readiness, financial literacy, self-empowerment, goal setting, and preparation for homeownership.

Walker holds certifications as a Family Self-Sufficiency Specialist, Public Housing Specialist, and assisted in the development of the nationally recognized Workforce Development Institute, which was launched in 2013. The program is now being administered in two other cities with great success.

Karen Hoffman
Rockford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners

Karen Hoffman, chairman of the Rockford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, has resided in Rockford, Illinois, since 1957. She attended Rock Valley College where she earned associate’s degrees in human Services and business. During her working career, she pursued a bachelor’s at Western University through the Regional Academic Center in Rockford.

Hoffman’s early business experience was in banking and managing a large affordable housing development as well as other rental properties. In 1979, she began working for the Winnebago Department of Human Services (formerly known as Public Aid) as a caseworker for family cases as well as all related refugee programs. In 1990, she was appointed administrator of the Boone County Department of Public Aid. During her tenure, she increased the number of minority employees in the office from 10% to almost 30%.

In 1997, Hoffman returned to Winnebago County after also serving in the Elgin office. She became responsible for moving 4,000 local families from receiving Aid to Dependent Children to self-sufficiency. In 2005, she was elected to the Winnebago County Board, where she served until 2010. She also served on the Rockford Community Action Council for 14 years, eventually becoming the secretary of the board. During that time, she became the council’s representative on the Head Start Family Council Board and served for three years in that capacity.

In 2012, Hoffman became a member of American Association of University Women, a group that actively works and lobbies for increased civil rights for women. In July of 2014, she was appointed to serve on the Community Leadership Institute committee. She also serves on the Rockford Neighborhood Network Board.

Debi Lombardi
Partner Engagement Manager
Nonprofit VOTE

Debi Lombardi is the partner engagement manager at Nonprofit VOTE. In this role, she leads support and recruitment activities for strategic nonprofit partners on the national and state levels.

Lombardi’s work in voter engagement started eight years ago with Forward Montana Foundation, an affiliate of the Alliance for Youth Organizing, where she led statewide voter registration drives and supported an effort to defend same-day voter registration. To this day, she serves on the board of Forward Montana Foundation. She first came to D.C. to work with Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project in 2016, where she honed her knowledge of voting rights and election best practices nationally.

Direct questions to Derry Kiernan, field mobilization and policy manager at the Alliance.