Building a Strong Foundation for the Nonprofit Community

by Jasmine Mathis, MPA Graduate Student 2015-

2014 is a new beginning for the Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute (NSRI). Under the direction of Audrey Winkler, the NSRI is undergoing a reinvention of what it means to the Seton Hall community and how the organization will chart its future. As part of an effort to reposition NSRI in the nonprofit world, Winkler has assembled a group of 10 graduate students from the Masters of Public Administration program at Seton Hall University. This has proven to be a galvanizing opportunity for graduate students to make an impact on their nonprofit community and gain valuable experience for their budding careers.

In anticipation of the launch of an exciting array of programs for the 2014 spring semester, the graduate students have taken on various projects to address the future of NSRI. Research is underway to analyze the needs of New Jersey nonprofit organizations in multiple sectors: arts, social services, education and the environment, to name a few.
NSRI is revitalizing programs that enhance the effectiveness of corporate, professional, and community leaders serving on nonprofit boards. Plus, courses are being developed to understand the dynamics of nonprofit management. In addition, graduate students are analyzing trends, demographics and overall characteristics of current board leaders of various non profit organizations, to more fully examine the needs of the community.

This focus on developing a strong foundation for the NSRI is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to gain hands-on expertise in research, public relations, marketing, proposal writing, and organizing events. Winkler has directed the graduate students to become fully immersed in the work of the NSRI, a win-win for the student and for the Institute. NSRI is now being positioned to be a center of thought leadership in the regions nonprofit sector, an innovative organization housed at Seton Hall University and built by its graduate students, faculty and administration.

On a personal note, the re-launch of the NSRI has allowed me to build an understanding of running a successful organization. I have been able to apply what I learned in the classroom through hands on experience with organizing various projects, coordinating and conducting research specifically in the area of Board Diversity, and networking with nonprofit professionals. I intend to remain an active participant in the future of NSRI through the balance of my studies, so that I can continue to benefit from the interplay between textbook studies, classroom discussion and the organizational management experience that the NSRI provides.


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