UGA Helps Nonprofit Organizations Develop Leaders

Charlie Bauder

Monday, April 18th, 2022

Jennifer King attended the 2014 Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Organizations at a transitional point in her career and it came at a perfect time.

“I was about to step up to a key leadership role,” King said. “The program helped me to think about how everything within a nonprofit works together. Building relationships with other nonprofit leaders and listening to how they worked through struggles similar to what I had helped me to step back and apply a more objective lens to finding solutions in my organization.”

Now, as executive director of Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Inc., King uses the week-long program at the UGA J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development to build leadership throughout her organization.

“It provides a chance for directors in the state office and executive directors at the local level to learn skills for working with boards and leading community-based affiliates, which is a big piece of what we do,” King said. “Attending the program helps our employees step away, learn these concepts and feel more prepared and supported. It has been a game changer for us.”

Since 2014, 13 CASA employees have attended, including two who were among the 18 nonprofit leaders representing 16 different organizations throughout Georgia to attend the 2022 Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Organizations, held March 13 – 18 on the UGA campus.

The program helped Shontel Wright, Georgia CASA impact director, dive into areas that she would not traditionally look at within her role at the organization, allowing her to grow as a leader.

“I have been fortunate to have participated in many leadership programs,” Wright said. “This program was a reminder of all it takes to be a great leader within the nonprofit sector. The new-found relationships along with the tools have equipped me to be yet another rising star within the nonprofit sector. It is one of the most memorable programs I have had the opportunity to attend.”

Over the course of the week, faculty from the Fanning Institute and across the country cover all areas of leading a nonprofit organization, from understanding personal leadership characteristics and nonprofit finances to building problem-solving skills.

“Throughout the week, these nonprofit leaders have an opportunity to learn more about themselves as a leader and also how to work within their nonprofits to address challenges both within their organizations and in the communities they serve,” said Julie Meehan, Fanning Institute public service faculty.

Ryan Willoughby, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Georgia, Inc., said the program has helped him develop skills to look beyond the initial answer to find solutions that will benefit his organization.

“Learning to peel back the layers of the onion when looking at a problem is something that I feel like I will be able to take back to my organization and use to address issues,” said Willoughby.

Willoughby said he would recommend the program for others in his agency and anyone in the nonprofit sector.

“This is the most powerful training I have attended,” he said. “It is relevant to anyone – directors, employees or board members – and if you want to be taken seriously in the nonprofit sector, you need to attend this program. It has been life-changing for me as a nonprofit leader.”

A partnership between the Fanning Institute, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, the next Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Organizations is scheduled for January 2023.

2022 Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Organizations Graduates

For more information on the Executive Leadership Program for Nonprofit Organizations, click here.