Reviews | Ted Edlich

Reviews for Navigating the Nonprofit Rapids

“For fifty years, Ted has brought his passion, his principals to Community Action. For the past forty years Ted has led Total Action for Progress as its President and CEI. Through his leadership, TAP developed innovative regional and national models including Virginia Community Action Re-Entry System (Virgina CARES), Project Discovery, Child Health Investment Partnership (CHIP), and National Rural Community Assistance Project.

Navigating the Nonprofit RapidsThrough the ups and downs of political support and funding for these vital organizations it has been Ted’s determination, his unending energy and his refusal to let anyone else quit that has kept these organizations and their causes strong and effective. All of us who are Ted’s colleagues have received phone calls from him telling us what we need to do and when, and we all knew that he would call back to check on our progress. He and his agency staff have always been Virginia’s first responders whenever another nonprofit need and sought help.

Ted is a true believer in social justice, someone who turns his belief into words and actions. He is truly a force of nature, and he is always a force for good. Through his career as its leader, Total Action for Progress has consistently ranked among the nation’s best and most innovative Community Action Agencies. He has been one of Community Action’s per-eminent national leaders. He has had a significant positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their communities.

Edlich is truly Renaissance Man. He was ordained a Presbyterian Minister with an active interest in theology and a multitude of religious perspectives. He is a Buddhist practitioner. He is a licensed professional counselor and forward-thinking manager and a skilled politician and advocate. Ted is an accomplished chess player and holds a black belt in Chinese Kempo Karate, and enjoys sailing, fishing, rafting and most recently hiked the Grand Canyon. Ted is a devoted family man, who is loved by his wife, his children and grandchildren.” – Rob Goldsmith, President and CEO of People Inc of Virginia, Vice President of the Virginia Community Action Partnership and board member of the National Community Action Partnership


“Wow! I love it! I could not put it down. Having served on nonprofit Boards for 35 plus years it is dead on. I find this book to be an outstanding roadmap for anyone serving in the nonprofit world. Edlich tells many wonderful real life stories that he and his staff experienced while serving at Total Action for Progress (TAP). This book is also a great history read. It reveals the evolution of a very successful community action agency in its mission to fight poverty. He follows each chapter with compelling questions that all organizations should consider. Chapter 11 is one of my favorites – it discusses the importance of networks, partnerships, collaborations and collective actions. Strong partnerships and collaboration with more than 100 public and private supporters allowed TAP to implement and sustain over 30 successful programs. Edlich gives first hand examples of why it is necessary in today’s world to obtain serious funding from outside sources.” – Michael Wise, retired CFO of Corvesta, Inc. and Delta Dental of Va.


“This book is surely a must read for executives and leaders in any sector, be it nonprofit, business, education or government. But it is much, much more. It is a lesson in how to embrace the most important challenges we face as a society, how to overcome persistent obstacles, and grow a community of change makers who create lasting value. Ted Edlich epitomizes what most people only talk about; how to actually make a difference. For those who are tired of all the noise, and are ready to step up and choose to be relevant, this book will show you how. If it was on the must read list for students entering college, many would chart a different path, and the world would be a much better place.” – Bob Halsch, CEO, Greater Bergen County Community Action Agency, former Board Member, National Community Action Foundation.


“Although intended for nonprofit leaders, Navigating the Nonprofit Rapids: Strategies and Tactics for Running a Nonprofit Company is a great read for any nonprofit employee and for any individual in a leadership position.

Navigating the Nonprofit Rapids tackles a perplexing question – ‘how can you lead a nonprofit to success?’ Author Ted Edlich takes an accessible approach that combines frank advice with case studies, academic findings, and entertaining personal anecdotes. Mr. Edlich applies his decades of experience leading a successful community action agency, Total Action for Progress, to discuss topics such as leadership, board development, strategic planning, economic accountability, staff motivation, organizational culture, and all-important stress management. Each chapter concludes with a series of tough questions to keep you and your agency on track for success.

As a young professional in the nonprofit sector, I encounter challenging situations daily that leave me wondering if I have what it takes to weather the ‘rapids’ of this industry. It’s inspiring to see a nonprofit leader lay bare his full experience – both the successes and the failures – to illustrate his agency’s journey. He shows that leadership isn’t always smooth sailing, yet rough weather can be an opportunity for growth. This frank discussion of nonprofit management paints a fascinating, and realistic, portrait of what it takes to build an agency that has lasting impact.

I definitely recommend Navigating the Nonprofit Rapids: Strategies and Tactics for Running a Nonprofit Company for any individual who wants to refine their professional leadership skills and better see the ‘big picture’ of nonprofit management.” – Alexandra Bowles for NetGalley