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University Communications

February 7, 2011

The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business Celebrates 30 Years

Diego Calderin

In a span of 30 years, The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business has evolved from a grant-funded series of training programs to becoming a leading resource for nonprofit organization management in the Delaware Valley region. Throughout 2011, The Nonprofit Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a variety of discount programs and special offers for area nonprofit organizations.

The Nonprofit Center was started in 1981 as a series of management training programs by retired Scott Paper Company senior manager Everett Frank, Jr., who was La Salle’s first executive-in-residence for the School of Business. Frank recognized that nonprofits could “stretch one dollar in ways for-profit organizations could never imagine.”

Applying the business acumen he gained from more than 30 years in the corporate world to the nonprofit sector, Frank grew La Salle’s management training programs, which were funded by The William Penn Foundation, into a highly-sought-after resource for the region’s nonprofits. In 1986, Frank was named the Founding Director of La Salle’s Nonprofit Management Development Center, now The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business.

“The strategic planning and board development concepts developed by Everett Frank remain the cornerstone of The Nonprofit Center’s curriculum and consulting practices,” said Laura Otten, Ph.D., Director of The Nonprofit Center since 2001.

“As part of the Lasallian mission, The Nonprofit Center continues to be committed to working with organizations in the ever-growing nonprofit sector,” said Paul Brazina, Dean of La Salle’s School of Business. “Under the leadership of Dr. Laura Otten, The Nonprofit Center is a driving force in the Delaware Valley in working with agencies and foundations to strengthen their management skills.”

Offering leadership and emerging leadership development, education and training programs, expert consulting, and four certificate programs (finance, fundraising, marketing and communication, and nonprofit management), Otten estimates The Nonprofit Center has taught more than 50,000 nonprofit staff members and leaders, and 6,000 nonprofit board members, with more than 1,500 people taking classes each year. The Center has also provided consulting services to 5,000 nonprofit organizations.

During the past three decades, the nonprofit sector has experienced tremendous growth evolving into the fourth largest employer in Philadelphia. “While nonprofits should always be mission-driven, as the environment has become more competitive, it is increasingly important for nonprofit organizations to streamline their operations, manage their finances with transparency, carry out their programs effectively, and demonstrate competent leadership,” said Otten.

The Nonprofit Center’s services are provided on a sliding scale—fees and memberships are based on the nonprofit organization’s budget. “We try to make our services as financially accessible as possible,” said Joan Mintz Ulmer, Director of Marketing and Communication for The Nonprofit Center.

Last fall, The Nonprofit Center launched the job site www.findnonprofitjobs.org, which lists available jobs with nonprofits as well as enabling nonprofit organizations to solicit board members and volunteers, as well as allow job seekers to present their qualifications for employment.

“One of the ways we help build the capacity of the region’s nonprofits is through strong board leadership,” said Otten. “With openings for board membership detailed online, interested individuals will more easily connect with organizations whose mission aligns with their values and interests.”

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, The Nonprofit Center is offering a variety of programs and specials—all 30 –related. Some of the offerings include the 30-Minute Mobilizer—30 minutes of free consulting, and Brainy Bundles—30 different combinations of educational program pairings. Future offerings include 30 free admissions to its classes, 30 extra days of membership, and $30 off job listings on its Web site.

“It's wonderful to see the evolution of La Salle's Nonprofit Center over the years. It's truly one of the best in the country...firmly grounded in serving organizations in this region with practical, affordable training and consulting. It's needed now more than ever,” said Susan J. Ellis, President of Energize Inc., and client of The Nonprofit Center.

For additional information about The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University, visit www.lasallenonprofitcenter.org.