United Way gets $6M to train staff

United Way of America has received a $6 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to fund research and training courses for future United Way fundraising professionals.

The grant comes at a time of increasing commentary on a perceived lack of internal leadership development in many nonprofit organizations.

The grant from Lilly will couple United Way with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University in Indianapolis for continuing development of United Way leadership.

“The field of philanthropy is continually evolving, so United Way leaders and fundraising professionals must have up-to-date information,” N. Clay Robbins, president of the Lilly Endowment, says in a statement.

“They must learn about individual and corporate giving trends to develop compelling approaches for obtaining the funding needed to support their worthy objectives,” he says.

The initial focus will be on research.

United Way leaders hope to learn more about the changing dynamics of philanthropy, as well as the evolving dynamics within their organization’s own local chapters.

Training courses at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy and its Fund Raising School will focus on the United Way’s Resident Fellows Program, which identifies and grooms executive-track employees.

The United Way network spans 1,300 communities nationally, with each local United Way addressing the most pressing local needs, which often include child and youth support, promoting financial stability and improving access to healthcare.

The Center on Philanthropy is part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and offers research, teaching, public service and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising and nonprofit management.

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