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OCU Begins Nonprofit Leadership Program
A new program at Oklahoma City University is designed to train the next generation of leaders of nonprofit organizations. The Nonprofit Leadership accelerated degree and certificate program, beginning in the Fall 2010 semester, will be led by a board of advisors that includes Oklahoma First Lady Kim Henry and leaders of nonprofit organizations throughout the state. OCU will host a free informational luncheon at 11:30 a.m. May 12 in the Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center for prospective students and nonprofit leaders. The center is located near N.W. 26th Street and Florida Avenue, south of the Freede Wellness and Activity Center. Reserve a place before May 10 by calling (405) 208-5093 or sending an e-mail to According to Nonprofit Leadership program director Bob Spinks, the training is increasing in relevance as the industry becomes more complex. “These days there are so many aspects to nonprofit organizations, a specific program like this one is necessary to learn what it takes to run a successful organization,” Spinks said. “The increasing importance of nonprofit organizations in today’s world begs the creation of higher education opportunities to enhance career paths in nonprofits. This program covers all aspects of nonprofits from board recruitment to governance to fund development, and everything in between.” Spinks, who will resign as president of the United Way of Central Oklahoma at the end of the year, has nearly 40 years of volunteer or professional experience in nonprofits. He’s leaving the agency on a high note as his branch raised a record $20.1 million this fiscal year, its sixth-straight annual increase. The OCU Nonprofit Leadership master’s degree program will be under the university’s Sociology Department and will also include a certificate program. Spinks said the programs fit nicely with the university’s main mission. “OCU is the logical place to do this with its dedication to servant leadership,” he said. He noted that students in other departments could benefit from the courses, as those who are seeking degrees in fine arts and theater are likely to become involved with nonprofit agencies during their careers. He said one of the challenges with leading a nonprofit is what he calls the “great paradox,” where an agency uses volunteers, yet the volunteers are also considered the leader’s bosses. He added that there is a wide range of other things that must be considered including marketing, fiscal responsibilities, accounting and the ever-changing laws that impact nonprofits. Jody Horn, chairwoman of the Sociology Department, said many current and prospective students have been seeking a field of study that emphasizes helping people. “I find people today interested in building careers that deal with their life passions. For many students this involves working at or starting nonprofit agencies. The professionalization of the nonprofit sector creates the opportunities for many students to fulfill this passion,” Horn said. Members of the Nonprofit Leadership advisory board are: Luke Corbett, Corbett Associates Liz Eickman, director, Kirkpatrick Family Fund Debby Hampton, president and CEO, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Kim Henry, executive director, Sarkeys Foundation Mike Joseph, shareholder and director, McAfee & Taft Tom Knight, partner, Grant Thornton, LLP Dave Lopez, president, American Fidelity Foundation Steve Mason, president, Cardinal Engineering Frank Merrick, president, Foundation Management, Inc. Polly Nichols, community volunteer Teresa Rose, community relations director, Chesapeake Energy Corporation Bob Ross, president and CEO, Inasmuch Foundation Doug Stussi, executive vice president and CFO, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc.