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$70,000 Grant Supports Community-University Partnership to Advance Nonprofit Leadership Education

Tuesday, November 12, 2019  
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The Building of a New Field: Past, Present, and Future of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies project analyzes the impact of private philanthropy on the field of nonprofit studies. The Community Foundation of West Kentucky (CFWK) serves as the project home, and the project is supported by a $70,000 grant from the Battle Creek Community Foundation in Michigan. The Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies Program at Auburn University and the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program at Murray State University are the project leaders.

A distinctive partnership between community-based philanthropic organizations and university nonprofit leadership studies programs developed the project. Tony Watkins, CEO of CFWK, stresses the importance of strong connections between higher education institutions and the community agencies. Of the project, Mr. Watkins says “It makes sense to permanently connect learning and practice for all community organizations. We need to continue to invest in leadership and management education.”

As the nonprofit sector has increased in size and importance over the past three decades, higher education institutions have developed programs and services in support of community agencies. One prominent example of strategic funding in this area is Building Bridges Between Practice & Knowledge in Nonprofit Management Education Initiative, launched in the mid-1990s by the Michigan-based Kellogg Foundation. The project is framed as an opportunity to reflect on how academia, the nonprofit sector, and philanthropy have worked together over the past three decades to increase the capacity and quality of the many and varied organizations committed to the public good. The project aims to

  1. assess the long-term sustainability of grant investments, guided by the question about the extent to which successful grant projects are integrated into the ongoing operation of institutions of higher education.
  2. analyze how the commitments and value propositions of the funders are reflected within the institutions and their programs of study.

About the partnership

Tony Watkins, CEO, The Community Foundation of West Kentucky has been a strong collaborator and sponsor of related nonprofit education efforts over the past twenty years and is committed to improving program and service delivery across the region.

Peter C. Weber, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Auburn University, Alabama. The Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies program equips students with the comprehensive knowledge and practical skills to succeed in philanthropic endeavors.

Robert F. Long, Ph.D., Visiting Distinguished Professor of Nonprofit Leadership Studies at Murray State University, Kentucky. The Nonprofit Leadership Studies is designed to develop the next generation of nonprofit sector leaders committed to improving the quality of life for people around the world.


             Community Foundation of West Kentucky

333 Broadway Street, Paducah, KY 42001

(270) 442-8622


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