Schools of Social Work, Management Receive Oishei Foundation Grant to Bolster Skills of Non-Profit Agencies

Release Date: April 18, 2001 This content is archived.


The University at Buffalo is bolstering its ties with the community with the formation of an institute that will strengthen the planning and management skills of local not-for-profit agencies.

Funded by a $190,000 grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation, the UB Institute for Non-Profit Agencies will work with the management of local health and human-service agencies to train and certify executives, managers and staff in program planning, development, management, supervision and evaluation.

A joint effort by the UB schools of Social Work and Management, the institute also will provide individualized consultation services to selected agencies.

The goal is to provide human-service agency executives and their staff with the management skills needed to successfully meet the needs of their clients, said Lawrence Shulman, dean of the School of Social Work.

"Agencies are facing increasing demands to fulfill their missions, but don't always have the infrastructure or receive the resources," said Shulman. "All not-for-profits are feeling stress, not just the small, community-based ones."

The Institute for Nonprofit Agencies will serve as a consulting, training and certification resource to match health and human-service organizations with the expertise of UB's social work and management faculty.

It will provide training, technical assistance and certification in areas such as program planning, development and evaluation; fiscal management; management and supervision skills; grant writing, and the use of the computer for management functions.

"Because of the selfless nature of their work, not-for-profit agencies sometimes get overlooked in discussions about which sectors of our economy should be targeted for development," said Lewis Mandell, dean of the UB School of Management. "By supporting the continued success of vital, well-managed agencies, we will help to enhance and preserve the high quality of life enjoyed in Western New York."

"We were particularly happy to see the collaboration between the university and community groups," said Thomas E. Baker, executive director of The John R. Oishei Foundation. "We believe much more can be accomplished when more hands and heads are involved."

The institute will work with its partners, the Not for Profit Resource Center of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the CEO Institute of the Agency Executives Association, to identify 15 agencies to participate in the first year of the project.

Institute staff, as well as UB faculty and graduate students from the schools of Social Work and Management, will work with funding agencies to design a service plan for each organization and provide individualized services both on- and off-site.

The institute will begin instruction in the fall with a 12-week course, "Program Planning, Development, Management and Evaluation for Non-Profits," for executives or senior managers of the local agencies selected to participate in the program. Individual consultation with the agencies also will begin in the fall and continue throughout the academic year.

Training will include instruction in skills such as revising financial planning and accounting procedures, working with staff on grant identification and writing skills, consulting on supervision, management and human-resource issues, strategic planning exercises, development of computerized service tracking and reporting systems, and marketing plans.

In addition, mini-workshops and courses that build on the fall overview course will be offered to senior and other agency staff members beginning in the Spring 2002 semester. These courses will be open to staff from all non-profit health and human-service agencies and will not be restricted to the 15 selected agencies.

Kathleen Kost, assistant professor of social work and chair of the school's community concentration, will serve as academic director of the institute, and Ronald J. Krul, executive director of the School of Management's Center for Management Development, will serve as assistant director of planning. A full-time program coordinator also will be named.

The program will be conducted at a number of sites, including the United Way's Resource Center and UB's Jacobs Executive Development Center.

The John R. Oishei Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of life for Buffalo-area residents by supporting medical research, health care, education and the cultural, social, civic and other charitable needs of the community. The foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corp., one of the world's leading manufacturers of windshield wiper systems.

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