Helping Nonprofits Advance Their Mission
Glenn Stutzman knew how to read a spreadsheet and manage employees as chief financial officer at a manufactured home builder.
When he took over as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County in 2015, he got some help from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County on how to lead a nonprofit organization.
Several programs in the Community Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness Resource Center gave Stutzman and his staff at the organization tools to do their jobs better.
“That’s just huge,” he said. “This was totally foreign to me. This would have been a really challenging year for me to do this job without those opportunities.”
Stutzman quickly got involved in a few of the programs offered through the resource center, including the:
- 2016 uLEAD lunch and learn opportunities where nonprofit leaders and staff were invited, free of charge, to learn and develop their leadership skills.
- Nonprofit CEO Roundtable cohort that meets monthly to discuss challenges, share experiences and address current, tangible issues.
- Annual retreat for nonprofit leaders to network and deepen relationships.
- Organizational Effectiveness Grant opportunities which assisted financially in the organization’s strategic planning process in 2015.
Stutzman said he’s appreciated all four opportunities.
He brought his staff to the luncheons where facilitators from uLEAD, a leadership training company based in Milford, Ind., used activities and cooperative games to get them moving and thinking. “I just thought my staff should benefit from all this as well,” he said.
Shelby Herms, community engagement coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said the employees in their small office were able to learn how to work together better. She and Stutzman were struggling to communicate well and discovered differences in styles. “We understand each other a lot better now,” Stutzman said.
He realized that he needs to praise his employees more and not always be as direct as he is prone to be.
The luncheons helped them build a stronger team and some of the changes they needed to make, Herms said.
The monthly roundtables helped Stutzman build camaraderie with others in similar positions and tap their expertise on fundraising and team building. “The big thing for me was energizing me for our purpose, our mission,” he said.
He is focused on increasing the number of Big Brothers or Big Sisters from the 90 they have to cut into the waiting list of 60 “Littles.” That takes effort and funding, but he is passionate about helping young people, many of whom are part of what he and others call “the fatherless generation.”
The entire staff from Big Brothers Big Sisters has participated in the training and engagement opportunities, but they are not alone. Many agencies in the county are taking advantage of the education and numerous opportunities offered through the Organizational Effectiveness Resource Center.
“We’re really appreciative of the Community Foundation for bringing these opportunities in,” Herms said. She and her coworkers were able to receive a lot of training that would not have been possible without the Foundation covering the costs.
The Community Foundation allocated $50,000 from its Fund for Excellence toward the center’s work in the county this year. Funds from the Lilly Endowment Gift VI added another $50,000.