Harrington Group Blog

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Understanding Stress: Navigating Wellness During Stress Awareness Month

As April unfolds, it brings with it a poignant reminder to pause and reflect on our mental well-being. Stress Awareness Month serves as a beacon, illuminating the importance of acknowledging, understanding, and managing stress in our lives. In a world where the pace of life seems ever-accelerating, taking proactive steps to address stress is paramount for maintaining overall health and wellness.

The Impact of Stress: Stress is an inherent aspect of the human experience, yet its effects can be profound and far-reaching. From mild irritations to chronic anxiety, stress can manifest in various forms, affecting both our physical and mental health. Understanding the impact of stress on our bodies and minds is the first step towards cultivating resilience and finding balance in our lives.

Identifying Stressors: Recognizing the sources of stress in our lives is crucial for effective stress management. Whether it stems from work pressures, relationship dynamics, financial worries, or health concerns, pinpointing specific stressors empowers us to develop targeted strategies for coping and alleviating stress.

Practicing Self-Care: Self-care is not indulgence; it is a fundamental necessity for nurturing our well-being. During Stress Awareness Month, prioritize self-care practices that replenish your mind, body, and spirit. Whether it's mindfulness meditation, engaging in creative pursuits, or simply spending time in nature, find activities that bring you joy and provide a respite from stress.

Building Support Networks: No one should navigate stress alone. Cultivate a support network of friends, family members, or professional resources who can offer guidance, empathy, and encouragement during challenging times. Whether through open conversations, support groups, or therapy sessions, reaching out for support is a courageous act of self-care.

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Mindfulness practices offer powerful tools for managing stress and cultivating present-moment awareness. By tuning into our thoughts, emotions, and sensations with curiosity and compassion, we can develop greater resilience in the face of stressors. Incorporate mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, body scans, or mindful walking into your daily routine to foster inner calm and clarity.

Seeking Professional Help: If stress becomes overwhelming or begins to impact your daily functioning, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Mental health professionals, counselors, and therapists are trained to provide guidance and support tailored to your individual needs. Remember, asking for help is a courageous step towards prioritizing your well-being and reclaiming control over your life.

Stress Awareness Month serves as a timely reminder to prioritize our mental health and well-being amidst life's myriad challenges. By acknowledging the impact of stress, identifying stressors, and embracing self-care practices, we empower ourselves to navigate stress with resilience and grace. Let us use this month as an opportunity to cultivate greater awareness, compassion, and support for ourselves and those around us as we journey towards holistic wellness.

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Unlocking Opportunities: Grants Available to Non-Profits in Pasadena Area this April

As spring blossoms in Pasadena, so do opportunities for non-profit organizations seeking funding to fuel their impactful initiatives. Securing grants is a vital aspect of sustaining and expanding the mission-driven work of non-profits. Fortunately, April brings forth a bouquet of grant opportunities specifically tailored to organizations in the Pasadena area. Let's explore some of these grants and how they can empower non-profits to make a difference in their communities.

Pasadena Community Foundation Grants: The Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) offers various grant opportunities throughout the year to support local non-profits. In April, PCF often announces specific grant programs focused on areas such as education, arts and culture, health and human services, and environmental conservation. Non-profits in Pasadena should keep an eye on PCF's website and subscribe to their newsletter for updates on available grants and application deadlines.

Pasadena Arts Alliance Grants: For non-profits dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the Pasadena area, the Pasadena Arts Alliance provides grant opportunities to support a wide range of artistic endeavors. These grants may include funding for exhibitions, performances, educational programs, and community outreach initiatives. Non-profit arts organizations can visit the Pasadena Arts Alliance website for more information on grant eligibility and application procedures.

City of Pasadena Grants: The City of Pasadena offers various grant programs to support non-profits addressing key community needs. These grants may focus on areas such as homelessness prevention, youth development, senior services, and environmental sustainability. Non-profit organizations serving the Pasadena community should explore the City of Pasadena's official website or contact relevant departments for details on available grants and application requirements.

Pasadena Educational Foundation Grants: Non-profit organizations dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for students in Pasadena can explore grant opportunities offered by the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF). PEF funds programs and projects that enrich the educational experience and support academic achievement for students in Pasadena Unified School District schools. Non-profits interested in partnering with schools to implement innovative educational initiatives should consider applying for PEF grants.

Corporate and Foundation Grants: In addition to local grant opportunities, non-profits in Pasadena can also explore grants offered by corporate sponsors and private foundations with a presence in the area. Many corporations and foundations prioritize giving back to the communities where they operate, and they may offer grants to support non-profit initiatives aligned with their philanthropic goals. Non-profits should research corporate giving programs and foundation grants that align with their mission and programs.

April presents a wealth of grant opportunities for non-profit organizations in the Pasadena area, providing the resources needed to fuel their missions and drive positive change in the community. Whether it's supporting arts and culture, addressing social issues, or advancing educational initiatives, these grants offer non-profits the chance to make a meaningful impact where it matters most. By staying informed about available grants and submitting compelling applications, non-profit organizations can unlock the funding needed to turn their vision into reality and create a brighter future for Pasadena and its residents.
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Celebrating National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: Honoring the Heart of Small Businesses

While here at Harrington Group, we serve nonprofits in particular, many of these clients are certified small businesses. This month we celebrate those small business owners. March 29th marks a special occasion in the entrepreneurial world – National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. It's a day dedicated to celebrating the backbone of our economy – the small, family-owned businesses that bring character, charm, and vitality to communities around the nation. As we honor these enterprises, let's delve into why they're so significant, not just on this day, but every day of the year.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies. Unlike big corporations, mom and pop shops often source their products locally, invest their profits back into the community, and provide employment opportunities for residents. Whether it's the corner bakery, the neighborhood bookstore, or the family-run restaurant, these establishments create a ripple effect, fostering economic growth and sustainability at the grassroots level.

Beyond economics, mom and pop businesses contribute to the cultural fabric of their communities. They embody tradition, heritage, and craftsmanship, offering unique products and services that reflect the personality of their owners. Stepping into a family-owned store isn't just about making a purchase; it's about forging connections, sharing stories, and experiencing genuine hospitality. These businesses serve as gathering spots where locals come together, creating a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

In an era dominated by impersonal transactions and faceless corporations, supporting mom and pop businesses is a way to preserve individuality and diversity in the marketplace. These entrepreneurs pour their hearts and souls into their ventures, infusing them with passion, creativity, and a personal touch that's hard to find elsewhere. By patronizing small businesses, consumers aren't just buying products; they're investing in relationships, fostering a sense of community, and empowering individuals to pursue their dreams.

As we commemorate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, let's make a conscious effort to support these enterprises not just today, but every day. Whether it's choosing to buy locally, spreading the word about a beloved neighborhood gem, or simply expressing gratitude to the owners, every action counts. Together, we can ensure that the spirit of entrepreneurship thrives, that communities remain vibrant and resilient, and that the legacy of mom and pop businesses endures for generations to come. So here's to the unsung heroes behind the storefronts – thank you for your dedication, your passion, and your unwavering commitment to making our communities a better place. Happy National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!
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Unveiling the Rich Tapestry of St. Patrick's Day: A Journey into Its History and Origins

St. Patrick's Day, celebrated annually on March 17th, is a vibrant and widely embraced cultural event, but its origins are steeped in a history that extends far beyond the festivities we know today. The holiday is named after St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people during the 5th century. Born in Roman Britain, St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. After escaping captivity, he returned to Ireland as a missionary, using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity and subsequently converting many to Christianity.

The date of March 17th marks the traditional death date of St. Patrick, believed to be around 461 AD. Initially, St. Patrick's Day was observed as a religious feast day, commemorating his contributions to Christianity in Ireland. Over time, the religious aspects merged with secular celebrations, evolving into the festive and widely recognized occasion we celebrate today. The first St. Patrick's Day parade, as we know them, took place not in Ireland but in the United States, where Irish immigrants in Boston organized a procession in 1737 to honor their heritage.

The symbolism of the color green and the shamrock is deeply rooted in the celebration's history. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people, and this connection has endured through the centuries. Additionally, the color green has been associated with Irish nationalism since the 18th century, and it gradually became the dominant hue in St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, St. Patrick's Day evolved into a global celebration of Irish culture and identity. Irish communities around the world, from New York to Sydney, organize parades, festivals, and events to showcase their heritage. The day has become a symbol of unity and pride for people of Irish descent and those who simply want to partake in the joyous festivities.

In conclusion, St. Patrick's Day is more than just a day of revelry; it is a celebration with deep historical roots that intertwine religious significance, cultural pride, and a sense of community. From its humble beginnings as a religious feast day to its current status as a global celebration, the history and origins of St. Patrick's Day reflect a rich tapestry of traditions and stories that continue to be woven with each passing year.
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Heartfelt Habits: 5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Heart This American Heart Month

February is not just about love and Valentine's Day; it's also American Heart Month, a dedicated time to raise awareness about heart health. Your heart is a vital organ that works tirelessly to keep you alive, and taking care of it should be a top priority. Here are five practical tips to help you maintain a healthy heart and promote cardiovascular well-being.

1) Adopt a Heart-Healthy Diet:
The foundation of a healthy heart begins with what you eat. Embrace a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Minimize your intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Consider the Mediterranean diet, which is renowned for its heart-protective qualities. This diet emphasizes olive oil, nuts, fish, and plenty of fresh produce, providing a tasty and heart-healthy approach to eating.

2) Stay Active and Exercise Regularly:
Physical activity is a powerful ally in maintaining heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, coupled with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days. Whether it's brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing, find an activity you enjoy to make regular exercise a sustainable part of your routine.

3) Manage Stress Effectively:
Chronic stress can take a toll on your heart. Develop stress-management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness to help keep stress levels in check. Prioritize self-care and find activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Adequate sleep is also crucial for overall well-being, so ensure you're getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

4) Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Intake:
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it damages blood vessels and reduces oxygen supply to the heart. If you smoke, seek support to quit, and if you don't smoke, avoid starting. Additionally, limit alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can contribute to high blood pressure and other heart-related issues. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

5) Regular Health Checkups:
Don't neglect regular checkups with your healthcare provider. Monitoring key indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar is essential for early detection and management of heart-related conditions. Be proactive about your health, discuss any concerns with your healthcare team, and follow their advice to maintain optimal heart health.

As we celebrate American Heart Month, let's commit to making heart-healthy choices a part of our daily lives. By adopting these tips, you can show your heart the love and care it deserves, not just in February but all year round. Your heart will thank you with a lifetime of vitality and well-being.
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Embracing Self-Love in February: A Heart-Centered Journey

February, often synonymous with love and romance, offers a unique opportunity to turn our attention inward and focus on a different kind of love – self-love. In a month that celebrates relationships and affection for others, it's crucial to remember that the most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves. Embracing self-love in February becomes a powerful act of kindness, nurturing the foundation of our well-being.

Firstly, practicing self-love involves acknowledging and appreciating our individuality. In a world that constantly pushes for conformity, take a moment to celebrate your uniqueness. Reflect on your strengths, passions, and accomplishments. Give yourself credit for the journey you've embarked upon and recognize that your path is uniquely yours, filled with valuable lessons and personal growth.

Secondly, self-love entails setting boundaries that honor your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Take the time to assess your commitments and obligations, ensuring that they align with your values and goals. Learn to say no when necessary and prioritize activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. By respecting your boundaries, you create a space for self-care, rejuvenation, and the pursuit of activities that resonate with your authentic self.

In February, as hearts adorn cards and decorations, consider turning that love inward through self-compassion. Acknowledge your imperfections and mistakes without judgment. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer a dear friend facing challenges. Embracing self-compassion fosters resilience, allowing you to navigate life's ups and downs with a gentler, more understanding heart.

Furthermore, engaging in physical self-love through exercise is a powerful way to nurture both body and mind. Whether it's a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a high-intensity workout, exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural mood boosters. Choose activities that bring you joy and make you feel invigorated, turning movement into a celebration of your body's strength and capabilities.

As February unfolds, consider incorporating gratitude into your self-love routine. Take time each day to express gratitude for the aspects of yourself that you cherish. This could be your resilience, kindness, creativity, or any other quality that makes you uniquely wonderful. Gratitude enhances positive self-reflection and cultivates a mindset of appreciation for the person you are becoming.

In conclusion, February serves as a poignant reminder to redirect the spotlight of love onto ourselves. Embrace self-love by celebrating your uniqueness, setting healthy boundaries, practicing self-compassion, engaging in physical activities, and expressing gratitude. As you cultivate a deeper connection with yourself, you lay the groundwork for a more fulfilling and authentic life, where love emanates from within, radiating outward to enrich your relationships and experiences.
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Embracing Serenity: The Transformative Power of Mindfulness and Meditation

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, finding moments of peace and tranquility is essential for maintaining overall well-being. Mindfulness and meditation practices offer a sanctuary amidst the chaos, providing an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and cultivate a sense of inner calm. In this blog post, we'll explore the transformative power of mindfulness and meditation and how incorporating these practices into our routine can lead to a more balanced and harmonious life.

Understanding Mindfulness
Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgment. It encourages us to observe the world around us with a clear and open mind. Simple practices like mindful breathing or mindful walking can anchor us to the present, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. By fostering a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, mindfulness allows us to respond to situations with greater clarity and composure.

The Art of Meditation
Meditation, a powerful tool for self-discovery, goes hand in hand with mindfulness. Whether through guided meditation, focused breathing, or mantra repetition, meditation enables us to quiet the mind and enter a state of profound relaxation. Regular meditation practice has been linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced stress, improved focus, and enhanced emotional well-being. It serves as a retreat for the mind, offering a space for introspection and self-reflection.

Cultivating Mindfulness in Daily Activities
One doesn't need to set aside specific meditation sessions to practice mindfulness. Integrating mindfulness into daily activities, such as eating, walking, or even washing dishes, can be transformative. The key is to bring full attention to the task at hand, savoring each moment and appreciating the richness of the experience. This cultivates a heightened sense of awareness and allows us to engage more fully with the world around us.

Overcoming Challenges Through Mindfulness
Life is replete with challenges, and mindfulness equips us with the tools to navigate them gracefully. By staying present and embracing the current moment, we can approach difficulties with a calm and centered mind. Mindfulness teaches us not to be overwhelmed by the past or anxious about the future but to focus on what we can control in the present. This shift in perspective can be profoundly empowering.

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation practices into our lives is a journey toward self-discovery and inner peace. As we embrace the serenity that these practices bring, we find ourselves better equipped to navigate the complexities of life with a sense of clarity and resilience. By making mindfulness a part of our daily routine, we open the door to a transformative experience that extends beyond moments of meditation, fostering a profound and lasting impact on our overall well-being.

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Revitalize Your New Year with Nutrient-Packed Recipes

As we usher in the new year, many of us are on a quest for healthier habits. A great way to start is by incorporating nutritious and delicious recipes into our daily meals. In this blog post, we'll explore a few easy-to-make and wholesome recipes that will kickstart your journey to a healthier you.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
Assorted vegetables (bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, etc.)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh herbs (such as parsley or basil)

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
Chop vegetables and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Roast vegetables in the oven until they're tender.
Mix quinoa with roasted vegetables and top with fresh herbs.
This colorful and nutrient-packed quinoa salad is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a perfect addition to your new year's menu.

Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill:

Salmon fillets
Lemon slices
Fresh dill
Garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Place salmon fillets on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
Top with lemon slices and fresh dill.
Bake until the salmon is cooked through.
This baked salmon recipe is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, promoting heart health and providing a burst of flavor.

Berry Smoothie Bowl:

Mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Greek yogurt

Blend mixed berries with Greek yogurt until smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
Top with granola and a drizzle of honey.
Start your day with this vibrant and antioxidant-rich smoothie bowl, packed with vitamins and minerals to boost your energy levels.

Incorporating these healthy recipes into your new year routine is a delicious way to prioritize your well-being. Experiment with these nutrient-packed dishes to discover the joy of nourishing your body while enjoying flavorful and satisfying meals. Here's to a healthier and happier new year!

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Charting Success: Setting Office Goals for the New Year

As the calendar turns a new leaf, it's an opportune time to reflect on the past and set our sights on the future. In the office, this means establishing clear and achievable goals that will not only propel individuals forward but also contribute to the overall success of the team. Here are five key areas to focus on as we embark on a journey of growth and accomplishment in the coming year.

Firstly, effective communication lies at the heart of any thriving workplace. Consider setting a goal to enhance communication channels within your team. This could involve implementing regular team meetings, adopting collaboration tools, or even fostering an open-door policy. By prioritizing transparent and efficient communication, you'll create an environment where ideas flow seamlessly, ultimately boosting productivity and team cohesion.

Secondly, professional development should be a cornerstone of your goals for the new year. Encourage team members to set individual goals for skill development or further education that align with their roles and the organization's objectives. This not only fosters a culture of continuous learning but also ensures that your team remains competitive in an ever-evolving professional landscape.

Thirdly, emphasize the importance of work-life balance. Burnout can be detrimental to both individual well-being and overall productivity. In the new year, strive to create an environment that values and supports work-life balance. This might involve implementing flexible work hours, encouraging breaks, or organizing team-building activities that promote a positive work culture.

Fourthly, consider setting specific targets for innovation and creativity. Challenge your team to think outside the box and bring fresh ideas to the table. Whether it's implementing new processes, adopting cutting-edge technologies, or fostering a culture that values creative thinking, innovation can be a driving force behind the success of any organization.

Lastly, don't underestimate the power of recognizing and celebrating achievements. Establish a system for acknowledging individual and team accomplishments throughout the year. This not only boosts morale but also reinforces a sense of purpose and motivation. Whether it's a monthly recognition program or an end-of-year celebration, taking the time to appreciate hard work creates a positive and encouraging work environment.

In conclusion, setting office goals for the new year is a strategic investment in the success and well-being of your team. By focusing on communication, professional development, work-life balance, innovation, and recognition, you'll pave the way for a year of growth, collaboration, and accomplishment in the office. Here's to a successful and fulfilling year ahead!
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Today we want to give an introduction to an extremely valuable member of the Harrington Group family, our very own Managing Partner, Tonetta Conner.

Tonetta’s passion for accounting started at the age of fifteen, in her first accounting course in high school. While in this class, she managed and prepared “mock” corporate books and developed a desire to help others manage their business operations. This led to Tonetta’s majoring in Business Administration, with an emphasis in accounting at the University of California, Berkeley. And of course this also led to her becoming a licensed CPA.

Early in her career, Tonetta worked as a Controller for a design-build firm and then as an accountant at a Los Angeles based CPA firm. Tonetta has been with Harrington Group since June of 1997. Right away she knew, this role was the perfect blend of her passions: accounting and serving nonprofit organizations.

Over her many years with the firm, she has drawn upon her extensive experience to provide accounting, auditing, tax, and management advisory services to our clients. A knowledgeable professional, Tonetta has developed her expertise in working with a range of nonprofit organizations—from privately funded community organizations, mental health agencies, foster care organizations to private and charter schools. Tonetta truly believes in the focus of the firm to be “a trusted nonprofit partner.”

Tonetta stands strong in her leadership role at this company and beyond. Her tenacity and her captivating public speaking abilities support her in leading others. As a speaker at both California CPA Education Foundation’s Nonprofit Organizations Conference and CompassPoint she has been able to share her insights with other folks in the industry. Tonetta is often the speaker at the firm’s “NPO Symposiums” which are hosted quarterly on a variety of nonprofit topics and she provides tailored nonprofit management training to the Boards of her clients.

Her accolades include membership within the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA). Tonetta also holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation from the AICPA.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Tonetta enjoys spending time with her family, attending sporting events and traveling the world. Those who know her well would say she is a “daredevil” and a “world traveler”, which are truly supported by her many traveling adventures—ziplining over the rainforest in Costa Rica, bungee jumping in Australia, driving an amphibian dune buggy through the Dominican Republic, and being up close and personal with “big game” on safari in Africa.  Tonetta loves to travel the world not just for the adventure, but also for cultural enlightenment. “We live in a society made of up people from various backgrounds and cultures. Seeking to know more about other cultures is to embrace that fact.”

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