Honoring Nonprofit Week

Carter Secor, Staff Reporter

Nonprofit Week was one of the many events happening on UW-Whitewater’s Campus this last week. This was the third annual installment run by the nonprofit management department on campus, and it is dedicated to informing students about the nonprofit program at Whitewater.

“We run it in early November right before students are registering for spring term. It’s an opportunity to raise our profile that we have a nonprofit program here,” said Carol Brunt, an associate professor and coordinator of the nonprofit program at Whitewater.

The program, which is now featuring a nonprofit management minor starting this year, was started in 2015 when Brunt was brought into the university. However, it did not start featuring official classes until 2016, after a year of exploration and research. In 2017, the program included an emphasis available to general management majors and continued to add pieces and courses to the program to finally get to the point of being able to offer a minor available to all students at Whitewater.

“It was the idea of our previous dean and some other folks on campus, and they felt that the nonprofit sector should have some type of program access for students. Every student at some point in their life will either work for a non-profit, be involved in a fundraising campaign, even require the services of a nonprofit. So we felt that it would be remiss of students graduating from COBE (College of Business and Economics) did not have some sort of access to nonprofit education,” said Brunt.

To move towards the goal of training students in nonprofit management, the nonprofit department at Whitewater has been partnered with the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The institute is a graduate level program dedicated to training the current and future leaders of nonprofit organizations and is one of the top programs in the country.

“We wanted to have an ongoing production center of new leaders. We got started in 2001 after three years of planning by leaders of the community from all three sectors of the economy who were concerned about the Federal Government getting out of the safety net. They were worried that much of the fallout would fall on the nonprofit sector,” said Doug Ihrke, executive director of the Helen Bader Institute.

Due to this close partnership between Whitewater’s nonprofit department and the Helen Bader Institute, nonprofit week on campus featured a presentation from Ihrke and the institute’s Associate Director Professor Bryce Lord. This presentation, “Non Profit Wisconsin” is a report on the research done by the Helen Bader Institute on the strength of nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin.

“The report is mainly to look at what is happening to the nonprofit sector in the state of Wisconsin and to look at the overall numbers, where they’re placed county by county and community by community, as well as the kind of work that’s being done in different areas. And then to also help provide some information to dispel myths and provide some more facts,” said Professor Lord.

According to the report, the nonprofit sector in Wisconsin is following the trend that has been seen nationwide of increase in organizations in their areas. The nonprofit sector is also the third largest sector of employment in the state of Wisconsin with almost 11 percent of employees working in the state and working for a nonprofit organization of some type.

With the new minor available from the nonprofit department and the graduate program from the Helen Bader Institute, the resources available to students looking for nonprofit training are plentiful. If you are interested in pursuing a nonprofit minor or emphasis, please contact Professor Carol Brunt for more information.