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The Best 5 Things in 2021

Kim O’Brien

By Kim O’Brien, Executive Director, Nonprofit Leadership Initiative

We’re starting a tradition! We’re again marking the end of our fiscal year by reflecting on the best things that happened for the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative 

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#1: 14 graduates from the Leadership Institute. The fortitude and dedication to becoming better leaders demonstrated by these nonprofit leaders is inspiring. We don’t have a class photo to share this year, because all 68 hours of instruction on topics critical to nonprofit management was done virtually, including the graduation celebration in April. 

See pictures of all 14 graduates and read their testimonials here. More information and applications for the May 2022 through April 2023 cohort #7 will be open later this fall here 

#2: Increased capacity. Annette Look was hired in August 2020 as full-time program manager. Additional staff hours allowed us to develop and implement the new Board Academy program, a program designed to help board members be their best in their role as nonprofit leaders. Read  comments from Board Academy participants and the program’s success here. 

 You will find more information on the February through April 2022 sessions here. The program is limited to 20 participants so register early! 

#3: Continuous Improvement. We dedicated time to work with continuous improvement coaches from CI Squared to complete a Play-to-Win Strategy Canvas for each of our programs. Based on this work, we’ll be spending time in fiscal year 2022 digging into data to learn more about measuring program impact.  

#4: Strong partnerships.  We continued to partner with Network for Good in our fundraising capacity building program and welcomed five new nonprofits to the cohort. All five nonprofits reported increased capacity and three nonprofits reported an increase in individual donations ranging from 20% – 227% since they onboarded at the end of June 2021! Watch for the 2022 cohort #6 applications in early May 2022.  We strengthened our partnership with the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northeast Wisconsin and are working together to offer fundraising training.  

 #5: Stakeholder support. Gratitude and celebration for the continued support of our funding partners –see full list here.   We also welcomed the Otto Bremer Trust as a new partner and major donor in our work to strengthen nonprofits in our region.  

These are the highlights, and we’re tremendously proud of how these leaders are making an impact in the Fox Valley. What’s the worst things about this past year? I can think of only one: Not being able to have our in-person events and missing our face-to-face connections.   

Check out NPLI’s 2020-21 full Community Report here. 

The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative within the Community Foundation is a partnership of Fox Valley-area nonprofits, funders, educational institutions and businesses dedicated to providing resources needed by effective nonprofit boards and executive leaders. NPLI offers a wide range of leadership, management and technical skill-building programs, as well as peer learning circles, to the entire nonprofit sector in the Fox Valley.

We support  NPLI with a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, one among many community partners supporting NPLI. Click here to learn more.

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