Guilford Nonprofit Consortium: Coming Together and Building Capacity
As we continue our work throughout the broader region, PMA often seizes the opportunity to spotlight a regional organization/community that is doing exceptional work. Selected organizations/communities are setting new philanthropic standards, changing lives in the process, and addressing challenges and opportunities that are timely and speak to us all.
This month’s Geographic Spotlight is Guilford Nonprofit Consortium, based in Greensboro but serving nonprofit organizations and their stakeholders across Guilford County, North Carolina. PMA is a featured member of The Consortium this month and is inspired by its visionary effort to bring together nonprofit leaders and nurture the capacity of Guilford’s philanthropic reach and impact. Sure, PMA has ties to its members through client engagements, but it’s The Consortium’s innovation around collaboration that truly distinguishes them and warrants recognition by all PMA friends and partners.
With the Weaver Foundation and Community Foundation evaluating interest and need for the Consortium, community nonprofit stakeholders came together in 2003. Their goal was to seek out best answers to the question, “How might nonprofits come together as a community and build capacities among and between nonprofits as a way to creatively meet some of these growing challenges?” A year later, the initial Consortium had a membership of over 100 nonprofit organizations. Today, the Consortium has blossomed into a 260 member organization, bolstering Guilford County’s leading nonprofit organizations.
The Consortium has over 50 programs per year implemented with pro bono expertise. One such program, the Nonprofit Management Institute, trains and educates local nonprofit professionals over six months, helping to maximize the management skills necessary to serve the community effectively. Similarly, an Executive Director Academy provides personal executive coaching over a 9-month leadership development program for Guilford EDs. The Consortium continues to be a leader in providing resources to its members and the greater nonprofit community. The group sponsors numerous events throughout the year and annually announces both Service and Nonprofit of the Year Awards.
Director Donna Newton arrived in 2007 and continues to play a significant role in positioning the organization as a facilitator and convener of the nonprofit community in Guilford County. She was the recipient of Greensboro Partnership’s prestigious Athena Award in 2010. Newton works with the Executive Director Academy and helped establish the aforementioned Nonprofit Management Institute at High Point University.
In the fall of 2011, PMA launched a new research project – 2012 Mecklenburg County Nonprofit Innovation Report – examining the state of nonprofits in Mecklenburg County, discovering key trends and findings pertaining to nonprofit governance, staffing, financial management and fundraising practices. Organizations like The Consortium have inspired PMA to apply its research methods in other communities, particularly where there is clear evidence of innovation. The Consortium’s effort to drive collaboration is nothing short of innovative, realizing that the key to achieving organizational sustainability for Guilford County’s nonprofits is helping them to look outside their walls to identify new alliances, shared resources, and consolidated solutions.