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Nonprofit course 'game changer'

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

The Community Foundation and United Way of Grant County have teamed up to offer a certification course to nonprofit leaders this fall.

Through the nonprofit partnership, nonprofit employees can obtain a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dawn Brown, executive director at the Community Foundation, said the CFRM course meets once a month from August to May, alternating between theory and practice.

Brown said she and Alicia Hazelwood with United Way have been working to facilitate a course for local nonprofits for more than a year. Having also obtained the certification themselves, she said she knew how vital it would be to send nonprofit leaders to the course too.

“We knew it would be a game changer, but it’s also so expensive,” she said. “We know some of our local organizations couldn’t afford to pay that much for this training.”

Costing upwards of $6,000 before including hotel and travel expenses, understanding how they would feasibly offer the course was difficult. Brown said they were able to bring the classes and instructors here to Grant County as well as whittle the cost down to $1,500, “so people can still go to ball games and be with their families and sleep in their own beds, rather than mess with all the travel costs.”

She said the certification will offer new ways to go after donations and find financial balance between grant funding and donations.

“The idea is that these nonprofits will be able to use this training and the CFRM certification to facilitate sustainable donor relationships,” she said.

According to a press release from United Way of Grant County, the class is a “new capacity-building training initiative,” designed for participants to make connections with each other in a “cohort style.”

Brown said that with this training, nonprofits can be more independent. In turn, she said that will make more funds at both Community Foundation and United Way available to either invest in other new nonprofits, student scholarships or deeper issues in the community.

“We now have the ability to equip these nonprofits with the tools necessary to make themselves more sustainable and successful,” Brown said. “Imagine what the community would look like with all of these leaders making connections with one another during this certification process and becoming stronger from the tools they’ve gained.”

There are up to 40 available seats in the course, and registration for the class is open until Aug. 3. A scholarship through the Indiana Youth Institute is also available to assist with the cost of the course.

The Professional Development Grant is a $750 scholarship awarded to help pay for registration fees and possible travel costs associated with attending a conference. Since the monthly class will be held here in Grant County, Brown said the scholarship would still be viable for reducing registration. The application for the scholarship is available at iyi.org/pdg

To register for the course, applicants can visit Indiana-united-ways.squarespace.com/gc-cfrm