Non-profits Serve and Strengthen the Community
I strongly resonate with this quote from Steve Dobson, who for the past 30+ years has been extremely active as a board member in the non-profit sector:
“The non-profit sector is generally efficient and effective, and focused on the right things. It’s a huge factor in life quality for almost everyone, but it’s badly undernourished — too many people who could be part of the solution stick to the sidelines and too few want to be out on the field winning.”
I agree with Steve that if you want a vibrant and healthy community, you need to actively support the non-profit segment. Basically, there are only two ways “to get off the sidelines and get involved”:
- You can give financial support, either individually or through your business.
- You can give of your time and energy.
The challenges of leading a non-profit are different than leading a for-profit business. According to Jim Collins in his monograph, Good to Great and the Social Sectors, “we must reject the idea – well intentioned, but dead wrong – that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become more like a business.”
In order to explore the challenges that leaders in the non-profit sector face today, Doug Armstrong and I have designed the next Leaders Connect Breakfast to focus on exploring best practices of leadership in the non-profit sector. The program will feature six panelists, who are executive directors of successful non-profits in Washtenaw County. They are:
Doug Armstrong – Founder and CEO of North Star Reach
Bonnie Billups Jr – Executive Director of Peace Neighborhood Center
Monica Brancheau – Director of Ele’s Place
Mel Drumm – Director, Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum
Barbara Niese-May – Executive Director, SafeHouse Center
Elieen Spring – CEO and President of Food Gatherers
A goal of this gathering of leaders is to encourage the development of a leadership community where executives are able to learn from, collaborate, and support one another. A recent example of this is the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum, which has recently merged with another organization, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and has created partnerships with the Yankee Air Museum and St. Clair County Community College. Likewise, the University Musical Society and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra have also been working closely together.
According to Mel Drumm, “the non-profit community can be sustainable and successful when people involved with an organization embrace a philosophy of community ownership and engagement. Non-profit organizations can thrive when they belong to the community, serve community members well, and improve the quality of life in our community.”
Often these non-profits are created in response to tragedy. Monica Branchaeu describes one such example, “Ele’s Place began when our founder Betsy Stover transformed the pain of the death of her child into purpose. Since then close to 27,000 children have attended Ele’s Place across the state. At Ele’s Place we are managing public health issues on both ends of the spectrum. We have children who attend because their person died by suicide and opioid overdose. In turn, all of the grieving skills we teach the children and teens is to PREVENT substance abuse issues, depression and suicide.”
If you are interested in joining us at the next Leaders Connect Breakfast on May 10th. Click here to register, only fifteen out of 100 spots remain open. I want to thank our sponsors who make the Leaders Connect Breakfast possible: