Non-Profit Leadership Program
Re-printed with permission from the Coeur d'Alene Press newspaper
Story by Brian Walker
Bob Over has lived the challenges that come with creating a sustainable nonprofit.
Now he wants to help nonprofits in the region get there.
The course will kick off the Professional Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program that is expected to lead into a variety of classes in the spring aimed at assisting nonprofits.
"This certificate program is all about partnerships between the business, faith, civic and nonprofit communities and the university," Over said. "I'm not doing this as a solo act."
Richard Reardon, associate dean for UI's College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, said the program is unique to the region and needed.
"Bob comes from the nonprofit community so he knows both the problems and heartwarming parts that come with it," Reardon said.
Reardon estimates that nonprofits make up about 11 percent of Idaho's economy and there's roughly 400 nonprofits in this area. While most people think of nonprofits as charities, Kootenai Health, one of the largest employers in the region, is also a nonprofit.
"Nonprofits are an underserved part of the economy," Reardon said. "As government shrinks, it's up to nonprofits to step up into public-private partnerships and to pick up the slack in tough times. Nonprofits are critical to communities and we believe this service fulfills part of our role of being a land grant school."
This fall's opening course will be held on Tuesday nights from 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 18 through Nov. 5.
The course will feature sessions on entrepreneurial leadership, fundraising, board development, role playing, marketing, strategic planning and other topics.
"The idea is to provide leadership skills and networking opportunities," Over said. "The economy has taken a toll on nonprofits and looking for sustainable funding is important."
The cost is $105 - it is expected to increase in the future - and perfect attendance will allow students to choose a spring class in the program for free. Over said he plans to seek scholarships for the program from the business community early next year.
"What that does is pull a lot of people together," Over said. "It pulls the business community into the program so it will see what the effects will be."
Certification for the program requires 50 classroom hours and this fall's course includes 20 hours. Most of the classes will run from $45 to $85.
The Nonprofit Leadership Council made up of area nonprofit leaders has been formed to provide oversight to the program.
Reardon said the program has already sparked interest in Idaho Falls and Boise.
Over was a CEO for three nonprofits over 35 years before branching out to be a consultant. Five years ago, in Durango, Colo., he developed an education program similar to the one that will start at UI. He bought a home in Sandpoint two years ago after vacationing there.
Over said his love for nonprofits stems from his volunteer work with his big band at hospitals and retirement homes during his college days.
He said a lack of leadership and/or funding are the most common pitfalls nonprofits run into.
"The board and executive director each have to understand their role and level of authority," he said.
Over said vibrant nonprofits in turn lead to vibrant communities.
"The stronger nonprofits are, the stronger communities will be," he said.
For more information, click here for the program flyer.