TOOLS AND TRAINING
By Sharnell Bryan
Three major universities have announced the creation of short-term educational programs for nonprofit executives, adding to the growing number of such workshops at business schools across the country:
- Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in May will begin offering a one-day executive program for senior executives from both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Each session will focus on one topic. The first program will be called "Creating a Culture of Innovation."
- The Stanford University Graduate School of Business in July plans to offer a six-day workshop that will focus on executives at grant-making institutions, including presidents of foundations, senior program officers, and trustees. The Executive Program in Philanthropy is the first Stanford program geared specifically for grant makers.
- New York University's George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising in September will hold its first program focused on board governance, which is intended for nonprofit trustees and officials at charities and foundations.
The Heyman Center created the program as a response to the growing scrutiny of nonprofit operations that has prompted suggestions that the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a federal statute designed to improve corporate governance and accountability, be applied to nonprofit organizations. The length of the program is yet to be determined.
Meeting Grant Makers' Needs
Stanford, whose business school also offers five other short-term workshops for nonprofit leaders, along with a nonprofit-oriented certificate in public management, designed its new program in response to requests from foundation officials, says James A. Phills Jr., an associate professor of organizational behavior who will be teaching the new grant-making workshop.
"There is an increasing number of grant makers who were interested in attending our Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders, and nonprofit leaders in the program said that there was information there that grant makers needed to hear," he says. "They thought that while a lot of the material was relevant for foundation executives, there was a host of issues they would like to see us explore in detail."
The university's new program is part of a growing number of such efforts to bolster the education of grant-making officials. Last year, for example, Grand Valley State University and New York University began offering advanced courses geared toward students who work for foundations, and in 2003 the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University announced the creation of the nation's first doctoral degree in philanthropic studies.
Sessions in the six-day Stanford program, which costs $6,500 per participant, will focus on strategic alliances, decision making, the ability of an organization to adapt and change, and how philanthropic support can influence the programs pursued by nonprofit organizations. The organizers' hope, says Mr. Phills, is that participants will develop relationships that will lead to increased collaboration.
One Day, One Topic
The creators of the new one-day program at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management say they are responding to the stated needs of nonprofit leaders for a quick but meaningful opportunity to engage with their peers.
"Executives have said they needed shorter programs and they wanted more depth on a single topic," says Ms. King. "This one-day program allows them to do that."
Although the Kellogg School sponsors several short-term programs focused on nonprofit-management issues, the three- to five-day sessions are geared for mid-level and senior managers and many who attend them have expressed a desire to expose their supervisors to the information presented, says Stephen Burnett, the management school's associate dean of executive education. The cost to attend is $1,950 per participant.
The new Kellogg program, he says, will be the first of what he hopes to be a series of efforts aimed at senior managers on a variety of topics, such as hiring contractors for administrative tasks. While not all of the one-day sessions will be specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, he says, some of the topics will prove relevant to them.
"The best peer learning occurs when you have people facing the same issues but in different settings," says Mr. Burnett. "When you mix nonprofit executives with corporate executives, they may face the same issues but come at it from different backgrounds and perspectives. What you need is a combination of programs that deal with issues that cut across all kinds of organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, and what you do is mix them. I think both learn a lot from each other."
Information on Stanford's Executive Program in Philanthropy is available online, as is information about the Kellogg Business School's program "Creating a Culture of Innovation" and about New York University's "Board Governance, Ethics and Law." Applications for the Kellogg and New York University programs will be accepted until the classes fill up; the application deadline for the Stanford program is May 15.