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Muhlenberg foundation plans nonprofits classes

By Joy Campbell, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

December 02, 2009

Nov. 27—The Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation is hosting a six-part series of classes designed to strengthen Muhlenberg County’s nonprofit organizations.

The foundation is working with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Louisville to deliver the classes in Muhlenberg County starting with the introductory session offered from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 3.

“We decided that if we can’t award all of them a grant, at least we can help them be better grant-writers,” said Lindsey Ransdell, the foundation’s program officer.

By Joy Campbell, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Nov. 27—The Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation is hosting a six-part series of classes designed to strengthen Muhlenberg County’s nonprofit organizations.

The foundation is working with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Louisville to deliver the classes in Muhlenberg County starting with the introductory session offered from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 3.

The first class will be held in the Multi-Ministry Center of Second Baptist Church, 217 Depot St., Greenville.

The foundation decided to offer the workshops after getting more than 200 applications representing $13 million in grant requests last year.

The organization awarded 26 grants for a total of $500,000.

“We decided that if we can’t award all of them a grant, at least we can help them be better grant-writers,” said Lindsey Ransdell, the foundation’s program officer.

In talking to local nonprofit leaders, Ransdell discovered the groups also need other training, such as identifying the long-term vision and mission for their organizations.

That led the foundation to their partner in offering the series, The Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

“That’s exactly what their mission is,” Ransdell said. “So they’re taking their Louisville show on the road to Muhlenberg County.”

Shara Snodgrass, director of the Duncan Center Museum and Gallery, said the training will be extraordinary “because it’s coming from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. They are the go-to people for anything nonprofit.”

Snodgrass, who has been in her position for five years, was one of the nonprofit leaders who provided input on the training.

“I seriously doubt if most of our nonprofits would be able to get this kind of professional training without the foundation’s providing it,” she said. “This will flesh out a lot of our nonprofits that have tremendous potential.”

The session on fund development and grant-writing in particular will be valuable, Snodgrass said.

“That will be important not only to help us apply for Martin grants, but for others, too,” she said. “The thing I’m looking for is where other resources can be found.”

Snodgrass is impressed that the Martin Foundation plans to offer scholarships for additional training at the Center.

“This training is going to have a very, very lasting effect,” she said.

Each of the six classes builds on the other, so planners are requesting that groups look at the schedule and arrange representation for their groups at each one.

Participation is not limited, so multiple group members may attend.

The classes provide a comprehensive look at what it takes to be a successful nonprofit, from the introductory “Nonprofit 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About Being a Nonprofit” to the final session, “Strategic and Operational Planning: Putting It All Together.”

Each session will be offered twice - on a Thursday evening and a Friday morning.

The foundation built in incentives to get nonprofit groups to send representatives to each training session.

“Between sessions, Eric Schmall, who will be leading the training, will work with representatives or organizations individually and coach them on their mission statements, budgets or strategic plans,” Ransdell said.

Maybe most importantly, the nonprofit groups that send representatives to the training will have the inside track for the Martin Foundation’s 2010 community grants program.

Ransdell will talk about the next grant application process and will release the application as part of the training.

Joy Campbell, 691-7299, jcampbell@messenger-inquirer.com

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Copyright © 2009, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

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