Porges Nonprofit Excellence Initiative and Stanislaus Story Project

When:  Mar 7, 2024 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (PT)
Associated with  AFP CA, Yosemite Chapter

Presented by Stanislaus Community Foundation

Three years post-pandemic, the world continues to change at a rapid pace. Stanislaus nonprofits have done an incredible job responding to the challenges of the past few years. Yet many organizations are struggling to recruit/retain qualified staff and face donor fatigue, shifting government resources and increased demand for services. It’s a perfect storm that requires new supports and solutions from funders. Join us as we discuss the Porges Nonprofit Excellence Initiative, a new offering of programs from one of the most forward-thinking philanthropic families in our region. We will also debut the Stanislaus Story Project, a comprehensive grant writing toolkit developed in partnership with the United Way of Stanislaus County and an advisory group of local nonprofit leaders.


Marian Kaanon photo

Marian Kaanon, President & Chief Executive Officer, Stanislaus Community Foundation

Marian Kaanon is the President & CEO of Stanislaus Community Foundation. A first-generation Assyrian American, Marian was born in Iraq. She immigrated with her family to Canada at age 7, and then the U.S. as a high school student.

After graduating from UC Davis, Marian began a career that spanned broadcast journalism, public affairs and nonprofit management. Marian joined Stanislaus Community Foundation as CEO in late 2012. Stanislaus Community Foundation is a place-based funder that provides grants and scholarships to community organizations in Stanislaus County, located in the Central Valley of California. To date, the organization has invested over $40 million in local nonprofits and over $6 million in scholarships to students.

During Marian's tenure, Stanislaus Community Foundation has quadrupled its assets under management and tripled its grantmaking. Stanislaus Community Foundation leads initiatives and supports programs in education, economic opportunity and civic engagement. Stanislaus Community Foundation co-founded the Cradle to Career Partnership, a multi-sector movement aimed at boosting outcomes for more than 110,000 children and young adults in the region. Coming out of the pandemic, Stanislaus Community Foundation launched Stanislaus 2030, an inclusive economic development sprint focused on creating quality jobs, which secured over $20M in state and federal funds in the local region.

In 2015 Marian was named Outstanding Woman for Stanislaus County. In 2017 Marian was named Distinguished Alumna of the Year for Modesto Junior College. In 2018 Marian was the recipient of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award. In 2022 she received the Champion Dream Award, established at Stanislaus State University by the Porges family to recognize entrepreneurial leadership in the community. Marian serves on the Board of Trustees for Doctors Medical Center, the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative and Dave Wilson Nursery.



Maria Cortez photo

Maria Cortez, Chief Strategy Officer at Stanislaus Community Foundation

For over 20 years, Maria has dedicated her career to local and national nonprofit and leadership development work; she's led diverse teams and connected with stakeholders, youth, and teammates of various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. 

Maria is the Chief Strategy Officer at Stanislaus Community Foundation, managing grantmaking and community leadership activities on behalf of the foundation; this includes developing a process for allocating resources to the nonprofit sector and conceptualizing signature initiatives and foundation programs. She is a member of the Stanislaus Latino Giving Circle and part of the leadership team for the Latino Leadership Initiative.  

She was awarded 2022 Empowerment Woman of the Year by Modesto Junior College and named one of the 2023 Outstanding Women in Stanislaus County by the Stanislaus County Commission for Women. She has deep roots and love for Stanislaus County. She resides in Turlock, CA, with her husband and their two fur babies and enjoys listening to a good podcast.


When: March 7, 2024 

Networking & Announcements 12:00-12:15, followed by the presentation.

AFP membership not required.

AFP Members may bring a guest free of charge once each year.

AFP Members: $25.00

All others: $35.00

Please Note: Lunch is included in the price. 

Register below by March 6, 2024, 10:00am, using PayPal, or email us at afpyosemite@gmail.com to RSVP and pay at the door (PayPal, cash or check preferred)

Porges Nonprofit Excellence Initiative/Stanislaus Story Project
Name of Attendee(s)

Full participation in
Porges Nonprofit Excellence Initiative and Stanislaus Story Project is approved for 1.25 CFRE CEU credits in Category 1.B -Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

CFRE Approved


821 L Street
Modesto, CA 95354