Local Nonprofits Find Support Through Rollins College/Orange County Partnership

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Central Florida nonprofits are raising their game thanks to a partnership between Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and Orange County Government. And an opportunity for new applicants is coming up.

Empowering Good: A Nonprofit Capacity Building Project is a cohort training initiative administered by Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership. The program will accept up to 36 Central Florida nonprofits every six months over the next three years and provide assessments and coaching for an additional 15 organizations.

In April 2020, the Edyth Bush Institute conducted a survey of 287 nonprofits, finding that many of the organizations were struggling during a time of increased demand for their services. More than 93% of the surveyed nonprofits reported moderate to significant impact, with 194 nonprofit organizations reporting an anticipated revenue decrease of $48 million to $54 million between February 2020 and June 2020.

Of the first Empowering Good cohort, consisting of 32 nonprofits, 86% are small grassroots, minority-led and/or female-led organizations. All of the participating nonprofits reported major pandemic disruption to their organization, either in their ability to deliver their services or in lost revenue. And 78% of the total have a budget of less than $250,000; 58% with a budget of $100,000 or less.

According to Dr. David Baker-Hargrove, president and co-founder of 26Health, Inc. and a nonprofit organization consultant (not affiliated with Empowering Good), challenges often come from within.

“The most common challenge nonprofit executive directors tell me they have is level of board engagement,” Baker-Hargrove told the32789. “In my 25+ years of public nonprofit service I have noticed that, whether you are joining a board for the first time or you are about to serve on your tenth board, it is important to always be open to learning what the organization needs specifically from you as a board member. No two boards are the same, one size does not fit all.”

“The (Empowering Good) program aims to assist small grassroots and diverse-led Orange County nonprofits in developing the tools necessary to address the pandemic challenges of the past few years and build a foundation that will sustain their good work in our community no matter what the future brings,” reads a statement from Edyth Bush Institute.

The $4 million cohort-style program, paid for by Orange County with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, will help nonprofits find success in the post-pandemic economy by providing training in five key areas:

  • impact measurement
  • innovation
  • financial management
  • fundraising
  • risk management

“We had 47 nonprofit organizations apply and 32 organizations started with us on September 19 and 20,” said Edyth Bush Institute Executive Director Min Sun Kim, adding that nonprofits must be located in Orange County and serve its residents in order to qualify for support. “They must also demonstrate at least a 15% decrease in revenue compared to years prior to March 2020 or demonstrate a disruption in service delivery with an increase, or decrease, in service of at least 15% due to COVID-19.”

The application period for the next round, beginning in March 2023, is currently open until January 13th. For more information, or to sign up for one of the upcoming information sessions, visit the website at www.empowering-good.org.

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