On Friday, May 16th, twelve local nonprofit executive directors and twelve board chairs/vice chairs graduated from a five-month pilot program known as the Healthy Organization Institute, which is designed to improve the capacity and effectiveness of the organizations they serve. The Graduation Ceremony was held at The Piedmont Club, and included special remarks by Tom Barnet, community leader, and action plan presentations by each of the participating nonprofit organizations.
The Healthy Organization Institute is a partnership of the Mary Black Foundation, The Spartanburg County Foundation, Spartanburg Regional Foundation, United Way of the Piedmont and the University of South Carolina Upstate’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics. This comprehensive best practices training program for nonprofit executive directors and board chairs incorporates peer learning, classroom instruction, and creative problem solving to allow leaders to take back to their organizations solid, practical concepts and build them into the framework of their organizations.
“The Healthy Organization Institute has given us the resources and materials to use as a guide to assist us in keeping our work organized, focused, and strategic so that we are able to operate at optimal capacity,” said Kelley Ezell, executive director of the Upstate Family Resource Center. “It has helped me build a relationship with my board chair that has in turn fostered a greater sense of teamwork among our entire board and staff. Additionally, it has helped us to define and understand our roles and responsibilities, confirmed some things that we are doing well, and highlighted gaps that as a board and staff we need to work on.”
The Pilot Program consisted of monthly sessions from January to April, which incorporated the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization’s (SCANPO) Guiding Principles and Best Practices Third Edition, and Western North Carolina’s Nonprofit Pathways Four Key Capacities Model.
“I feel that this experience has helped us to understand the importance of working collectively to lead volunteers, staff, and stakeholders in creating a sustainable organization,” David Strickland, board chair of Upstate Family Resource Center. “As board chair, it would be a great benefit for all board members to have this educational opportunity.”
The twelve organizations that participated in the Pilot Program include: Adult Learning Center, Inc.; Bethlehem Center; BirthMatters; Hub City Farmer’s Market; Middle Tyger Community Center; Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, Inc.; Senior Centers of Spartanburg County; Spartanburg County First Steps; Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, & Union Counties, Inc.; The Haven, Inc.; TOTAL Ministries; and Upstate Family Resource Center.
The Joint Funders, a group consisting of the Mary Black Foundation, The Spartanburg County Foundation, Spartanburg Regional Foundation and United Way of the Piedmont, began collaborating to design the Healthy Organization Institute in 2012. In 2013, the University of South Carolina Upstate joined the partnership, completing the HOI Partnership Team. The Partnership Team has since worked together to solidify the concept and to perform best practice research for the pilot program, which the partners hope will serve as a model for other communities.
We hope you enjoy the graduation photo gallery.