NonProfit Commons

NonProfit Commons

Group: NonProfit Commons
Date: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Time: 9:00 – 10:50 a.m.
Location: Second Life Main Auditorium
Moderator: Letty Pienaar


The purpose of this panel is to discuss how NonProfit Commons has contributed to significant dialogue around the uses of virtual worlds like Second Life. The panelists will discuss how they have changed and grown, as well as the different opportunities and moments that have distinguished the group and the manner in which they promote and spotlight best practices.

Panelists & Bios

Joyce Bettencourt (Rhiannon Chatnoir in SL)
Joyce Bettencourt is an artist, interactive designer and digital media producer whose focus is where creativity, community, social good and the future converge online. She is the Online Community Manager for TechSoup Global’s NonProfit Commons in Second Life community. In addition, she is Creative Director of The Vesuvius Group, a collaborative studio specializing in developing online immersive, virtual and social environments for community-building including for the American Museum of Natural History, California Academy of Science, the Field Museum, the World Bank, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Arizona State University, University of Southern California’s Annenberg Institute, New York City Department of Education, and Ramapo School District. She is co-founder of the non-profit, AvaCon, Inc. dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality and 3D immersive spaces. AvaCon, Inc. are organizers of the upcoming Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds symposium, the yearly virtual OpenSimulator Community Conference, and were organizers of the Second Life Community Conference that brought together hundreds of users in cities such as Boston (2010) and Oakland (2011). Joyce is a 2012 graduate of the Singularity University Graduate Studies program, focused on applying futurist technologies to addressing Global Grand Challenges. Previously she was digital media producer for the Online Leadership Program at the educational nonprofit Global Kids and produced digital media learning content for the web and in the former Teen Second Life, machinima projects, mixed reality events, and the Second Life social issue game CONSENT!

As the avatar Rhiannon Chatnoir, she began exploring the virtual world of Second Life in January of 2005, and has since used it as a medium for networking, marketing and creating art, as well as organizing numerous charity and social good online events, including the Virtual Haiti Relief campaign within the virtual world of Second Life that helped raise awareness and $10,000 USD in virtual micro transactions.

Buffy Bye (Buffy Beale in SL)
Buffy Beale is Buffy Bye in real life, an avid supporter of Nonprofits in Second Life as a member of the Management and Mentor teams at the Nonprofit Commons since 2007 and believes virtual worlds will connect us in the future in ways we can only imagine now.

She manages the Bridges for Women virtual office in Nonprofit Commons, as a long-time volunteer in real life for this gutsy non-profit on the Board of Director’s as their Technology Advisor. She is also the Training Director and Ace Flyer for the ZeroG Skydancers, a Second Life performing arts troupe often compared to Cirque Du Soleil.

Buffy, retired early in 2009 from a lifelong career in computer technology, with the Ontario and British Columbia provincial governments with positions ranging from User and Network Support, Programmer, Software Instructor, to her final position as Service Integration Engineer managing large-scale high profile implementations for IT services.

Renne Brock-Richmond (Zinnia Zauber in SL)
Renne Emiko Brock-Richmond is an artist, instructor, and superhero empowering people to be their best virtual and tangible self by advancing excellence, exceptional pursuits, and individualism through creative expression and encouraging instruction with inspired results. Renne has actively taught fine art and digital media for over twenty years, and is the Multimedia Communications Program Coordinator at Peninsula College. Her company, unique as you, specializes in color perception, intention, and utilization to create motivating, engaging experiences with innovative identity development, marketing, social media, events, and immersive environments for businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, organizations, and communities. She has been teaching virtual world use since 2008 with University of Washington, Peninsula College, Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds Conference at the National Defense University, Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conferences, TechSoup Global, Nonprofit Commons, Virtual Ability, Rockcliffe University Consortium, Second Life Community Conferences, and Arizona State University. Focused on the evolution of intelligence, expression, and superheroes, she earned her Bachelors of Science in Art at Lewis & Clark College and her Masters of Fine Art in Visual Art at Vermont College at Norwich University, and she graduated from the first pioneering class of the University of Washington Certificate in Virtual Worlds Program in 2009. Renne only uses her superpowers for good.

Dick Dillon (Coughran Mayo in SL)
Dick Dillon has held many positions in his 30-plus years of involvement with the behavioral health field, including Counselor, Clinical Team Leader, Program Director, and Chief Operating officer. He has also been a consumer of services. Soon after graduation from the treatment program Dick began working with other people in early recovery, first as a volunteer alumni coordinator, then as an addictions counselor, clinical team leader, and program director.

In 2000, Dick joined Preferred Family Healthcare, Inc. which was then, as now, one of the most progressive and fast growing mental health service providers in the United States. He served PFH for 11 years as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development. In his own words “My job was to help determine what we need to do next to be of best services to our clientele, and find the resources to make that happen!”

In November, 2011, Dick formed his own consulting organization, Innovaision, LLC, devoted to helping behavioral health and other human services organizations become more innovative and effective by combining common sense, vision, evidence-based practices and cutting-edge technology. A hallmark project he has been developing over the past few years – Avatar Assisted Therapy – recently won third place in the Lockheed-Martin “Innovate the Future” Challenge, in competition with nearly 500 other entrants in all fields of science, research, and performance. Dick’s philosophy is simple, “Make the seemingly impossible, possible, by blending unbridled passion for the success of others with concrete research, solid clinical practice, and imaginative problem solving solutions.”

Lissena (Wisdomseeker Lissena in SL)
Lissena(Wisdomseeker) aka Lynne Berrett (MA, LCSW) owns Inspiration Island in Second Life, part of Rockcliffe University. She directs the nonprofit Ageless Mind Project, which links inworld and outworld research-based educational programs. Inworld this includes Whole Brain Health, an immersive educational program, and the Community of Creative Elders, a group dedicated to increasing the well-being of people over 50. Her goal is to create virtual worlds’ environments that offer mature residents rich opportunities for lifelong learning as well as assisting them to discover the benefits available to them in the greater virtual community.

About NonProfit Commons in Second Life
Nonprofit Commons was designed to lower the barriers of access to Second Life, to create a community of practice for nonprofits to explore and learn about the virtual world, and to investigate the many ways in which nonprofits might utilize this unique environment. Through this community, we provide free office space to qualifying groups, meet and network, create a cooperative learning environment and foster outreach, education, fund-raising, all in a virtual space.

Our focus is on providing an accessible entry-point to Second Life and on creating a community of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) for effective collaboration and support. We believe that Second Life is a wonderful place not just to entertain, but also to educate, inspire, and work together to assist our fellow avatars (and the humans behind them). You do not have to be a resident of the Nonprofit Commons to get involved with our community. We welcome all who wish to join us as partners, collaborators or supporters.