The Regional Nonprofit Alliance

The Regional Nonprofit Alliance provides training and technical assistance to rural Appalachian nonprofits. One organization that has worked closely with the Alliance is Passion Works Studio, a collaborative arts studio for individuals with disabilities. “We’ve been able to meet with other nonprofits to discuss shared challenges we face, as well as solutions, in addition to taking advantage of the seminars and trainings offered,”  Passion Works' Director David Barba says. “That kind of help has been invaluable to our organization.”  

 

The Alliance's three primary goals are to provide support to nonprofits in rural Appalachia, change the debate about the charitable sector, and provide students with opportunities to work with local organizations. Through RNA initiatives, nonprofits are offered online resources and affordable workshops. Groups can also submit questions to Alliance professionals electronically.


Based on ten focus groups held with nonprofits throughout the region, the Alliance’s spring training sessions will focus on information and exercises designed to help executive directors work more effectively with Board members. RNA recognizes that there is a shortage of trained professionals, including lawyers, accountants and information/technology personnel, who are accustomed to working with nonprofits and is exploring models for providing local organizations with access to qualified and affordable professional support.

The Alliance is also looking to educate the community about the role nonprofit organizations play in the economy. These organizations provide 1 in 8 private-sector jobs in the Appalachian area. In many industries in which nonprofits and for-profits compete, nonprofits offer higher wages. In addition, charitable organizations help meet residents’ basic needs, assist with education efforts and improve the quality of life, providing the foundation necessary for future economic development.

Finally, by providing students with opportunities to work in the nonprofit sector, the Alliance aims to show young people that there are viable, interesting job options in the sector. Teams of MPA students are matched with nonprofit organizations to give students valuable experience while furthering the missions of these community-based groups. This year, the Regional Nonprofit Alliance paired Ohio University students with Passion Works Studio, Wood County Habitat for Humanity and the Wood County Senior Citizens Association.

Established in 2008, the Alliance is supported by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs as well as start-up funding from the Sugar Bush Foundation and the Office of Campus-Community Engagement at Ohio University.

 

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