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January 18, 2011 
Non-Profit Masters?

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We just got schooled on schooling non-profit leaders. In 2001, Kathy Kretman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, created the school's Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate program. She explained to us why similar programs are flourishing around the country.

Kathy Kretman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership
Kathy has seen a spike in people interested in getting a formal non-profit management education. She says that as the Baby Boomers begin to retire and a new generation transitions into positions of power, there's a real need for non-profit leadership skills. Though funding for professional development fell in the down economy, Georgetown's program has never had a drop in the number of applicants. Kathy is also seeing more undergraduate classes for students interested in non-profit careers. Georgetown offers a philanthropy class where students partner with local non-profits and learn how to write grants for them.
Kathy Kretman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership
Kathy says she'd like to see more non-profit education focusing on advocacy. The topic is sometimes left out, or offered as an elective, in non-profit certificate or masters programs, so Kathy recommends that prospective students look to see if advocacy classes are offered. "To create real social change and lasting change, advocacy is critically important," Kathy says. She also hopes to see more cross-sector education going forward, so that students aren't just non-profit leaders, but multi-sector leaders. Kathy, who came from a civil rights activist background, admits to once being dubious of aligning with business until she served on boards with high level corporate executives and non-profit leaders and saw how much they were able to get done.

Commission to Look at Religious Groups
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Chuck Grassley (above) released a report just over a week ago looking at issues concerning churches and religious organizations—an area he says Congress hasn't looked at in decades. He has now tasked the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), an organization that accredits Christian non-profits for meeting certain financial, fundraising, and board governance standards, with leading a national review of accountability and policy issues. In response, ECFA is putting together a commission to provide input. We spoke with ECFA president Dan Busby (below) about the issues at stake.
ECFA president Dan Busby
One of the hot topics up for debate is whether churches should file a Form 990. Under current law, churches and certain church-related organizations are exempt. There's debate about whether the form is needed to monitor compliance with the law or whether it would cause excessive entanglement. An alternate option mentioned in the report is the possibility of exempting churches that are accountable by another body (like ECFA). Another hot topic the commission will take on is whether religious organizations should be allowed to engage in political campaigning, and if so, to what extent. Dan notes that it is already difficult to monitor what is said on hundreds of thousands of pulpits on a Sunday morning and that some consider it an issue of freedom of speech and religion: "This one will draw fire from both sides of the non-profit spectrum."

Haiti: One Year Later
American Red Cross
American Red Cross
Last week marked the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. The American Red Cross, which was at the forefront of relief efforts, says it received more than $470 million in donations, including $32 million through its text-to-give campaign. That has allowed the organization and its network to provide daily drinking water for more than 317,000 people, medical care for 217,000, vaccinations for nearly a million, plus much more. So far, $245 million has been spent or contracted, and CEO Gail McGovern said at a press conference last week that the Red Cross is planning a $100 million investment in permanent housing in the coming years.
Send story ideas to reporter Jessica Sidman, jessica@bisnow.com.
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