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Philanthropy Journal – College aims to engage nonprofits

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By Todd Cohen

N.C. State University has a great chance to boost nonprofits in our state.

The school aims to raise $4 million to create a center to support graduate and undergrad studies in nonprofit management, executive education for nonprofit managers and research into issues facing nonprofits.

The center’s challenge will be to anticipate and heed customer demand, supplying services needed by hard-working nonprofits that can be poorly equipped for a job that can seem overwhelming.

After studying other nonprofit graduate programs, NCSU wants to create an interdisciplinary center whose focus would be driven by market demand and whose students and faculty would integrate their work with practice in the nonprofit field.

A key to the proposed center’s success will be to recognize and build into its programs the idea that the health of our communities and state depends on nonprofit leaders who know how to lead and manage their own organizations – and are prepared to work closely with one another and with their counterparts in business, education and government.

Equally important will be the degree to which the center can team up with other groups that support nonprofits, such as the N.C. Center for Nonprofits and the continuing education program in nonprofit management at Duke University.

Having worked hard to create their own programs, those groups also must learn to work together more closely to share the job of addressing the challenges nonprofits face.

By joining hands with other members of North Carolina’s informal support network for nonprofits, the proposed NCSU Center can set an example for nonprofits and for its students about the critical need for collaboration in taking on the toughest problems facing our state.

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