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Looking back after one year at NPLI

There are many reasons I love my job. One is the satisfaction of seeing the lightbulbs go on when leaders “get it” during a Leadership Institute class. Another is the appreciation I feel from the funders who support the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (NPLI). Another is working with seasoned professionals who anticipate the need and are always working for the good of the nonprofits we serve. Finally, following in the footsteps of (and still learning from) a leader who always has best-practices in mind makes it easy to find what I need, trust the work behind how things were built, and have faith in the why behind what we do.

As a graduate of the Leadership Institute, I have a great perspective from my time on the receiving side, Now, looking back on my first year on the “doing” side of NPLI, I have learned a few valuable lessons:

It takes a village 

With Jen Osborn after the Community Foundation soup cook-off

NPLI is the shared vision of many individuals who want to see nonprofits thrive, and who came together to dream of what could be. As I examine the onion, there are founders, staff, funders and participants to thank for starting and growing this experiment.

There are instructors who help to shape, innovators who help to grow, and visionaries who continue to push. Just when I think I have it figured out, I learn about another community leader who has their fingerprints on this masterpiece.

We live in a dynamic/connected world

Amanda Barth and Annette Look, with David Weiss, the NPLI team

Our strategic plan identified the need to have some impact up stream as well, so newer nonprofit professionals have the tools to be successful and connections to grow with. Toward this aim, we are exploring ways to offer a Leadership Institute-like experience for junior nonprofit professionals, and something to provide those interested in nonprofit boards, with a better understanding of what effective board service looks like. Ultimately, we would like to inspire more board members, and grow nonprofit staff toward a successful career in making a difference.

It’s all about the fundamentals

To be a successful Nonprofit Leader, I need to model what we preach. That means, transparency and accountability, communication, and thankfulness that shows the impact of your investment. As we collect additional success metrics and try new things, expect to learn more and understand deeper, the world and impact of NPLI.

Thank you for investing in the nonprofits we serve by investing in NPLI. Thanks for asking tough questions and thank you for spreading the word. Together, we will impact our community thru investments in the organizations who do amazing work for those in the most need.

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 Community Vision Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, one among many community partners supporting NPLI. Click here to learn more.

2 Responses to Looking back after one year at NPLI

  • Kim O'Brien says:

    I’m so proud to have left NPLI in the hands of an amazing new leader in David, who is working side by side with the best team of Annette and Amanda.

    A stronger nonprofit community lifts all boats for our fellow Fox Cities members.

    I would be amiss if I didn’t mention that NPLI is a nonprofit also that accepts donations of time, talent and treasure.

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