Established in 2008 with the help of a generous gift from the Sugar Bush Foundation, the Alliance is a collaborative effort of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Office of Campus-Community Engagement.
Judith Millesen, Faculty Director
Judy Millesen is an assistant professor at Ohio University, where she directs the Master of Public Administration program. Her research focuses on nonprofit management and administration, with a special interest in community development and nonprofit board governance. Prior to her academic career, Millesen was a professional fundraiser for the Arc of Atlantic County and The College of New Jersey. She has experience in many aspects of nonprofit administration, including strategic planning and management, meeting facilitation, fundraising and board development. Judy provides strategic leadership for the Regional Nonprofit Alliance, developing the resources and relationships we need to successfully fulfill our mission.
The Sugar Bush Foundation
is a newly-established supporting organization of the Ohio University Foundation. Its mission is to “work with Ohio University and our communities to improve the quality of life in Appalachian Ohio by fostering sustainable development.” One of the first awards made by the Sugar Bush Foundation was a generous gift to support the establishment of the Regional Nonprofit Alliance. Thanks Sugar Bush!
History of the Regional Nonprofit Alliance
The idea for the Regional Nonprofit Alliance grew out of the awareness of an unmet need in our community:
- The Voinovich School regularly received calls from small agencies with no where to turn for the help they needed to apply for grants, develop a strategic plan or get legal advice.
- Judy Millesen had a waiting list of nonprofit organizations interested in receiving help from students participating in her Nonprofit Management and Fundraising classes.
- Local foundations received exciting, creative grant applications that could not be funded because the applying organization lacked critical administrative systems or skills.
In 2007, a group of concerned individuals from Ohio University and the surrounding area decided to start an interdisciplinary office dedicated to enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations in rural Appalachia through training and technical assistance. With support from the Voinovich School and the Office of Campus –Community Partnerships as well as a gift from the Sugar Bush Foundation, the Regional Nonprofit Alliance was started in early 2008.
Initial Goals of the Regional Nonprofit Alliance
During its first year, this new initiative plans to Bring together nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders from throughout the region to develop a list of capacity-building priorities Launch an interactive website to provide targeted nonprofit resources for organizations throughout rural Appalachia Organize three workshops for area nonprofits, selecting topics from the list of capacity-building priorities developed in conversations with local organizations. Pilot a hands-on assistance program, providing at least three local nonprofits with in-depth pro bono technical assistance provided by a team of Ohio University graduate students and faculty.
Who will benefit from the Regional Nonprofit Alliance?
In the years to come, we look forward to the Regional Nonprofit Alliance benefiting nonprofit organizations located throughout rural Appalachia by providing a source for on-going technical assistance and training geared toward increasing capacity. Other direct beneficiaries will include Ohio University students and faculty pursuing careers related to the nonprofit sector who will benefit from the real-world work experience and research opportunities provided by the Alliance. The ultimate impact of the Alliance is difficult to estimate since nearly all residents of the region have some regular interaction with a nonprofit – as a client, volunteer, donor, employee or board member. When nonprofits increase their capacity, more services are offered, funding is utilized more efficiently, jobs are created and the quality of life within the community improves overall.
Learn more about the Regional Nonprofit Alliance.