Nonprofit center regroups

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — The new interdisciplinary center at N.C. State University to support nonprofit studies, executive education and research has named consultant Brenda Summers as interim director, succeeding Heather Lee, who resigned because of family illness.

Summers, who advises nonprofits on team-building and strategic planning, served from 1993 to 2000 as executive director of N.C. Equity, an advocacy group for women and girls.

Plans for a certificate program and undergraduate minor in nonprofit studies are proceeding at the center, which expects this spring to survey North Carolina nonprofits about their needs, says Jim Svara, head of a faculty steering committee developing the center’s academic and research programs.

Students starting this fall could enroll in a 15-hour certificate program in nonprofit management, to be approved soon by NCSU’s graduate school, as continuing education courses or as part of a master’s degree, says Svara, head of NCSU’s department of political science and public administration.

His committee also is developing an undergraduate minor in nonprofit studies that could be launched in spring 2004 and would aim to expand students’ awareness of nonprofits and opportunities for community service they provide.

The minor will include at least two courses involving hands-on work for nonprofits and culminate with a nonprofit internship to help students apply what they’ve learned.

The center, which this spring will launch a search for a permanent director and hopes to raise $4 million over six years, also aims to team up with other organizations to expand training and technical assistance to North Carolina nonprofits, Svara says.

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