The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation has been part of the leadership of several important community initiatives designed to strengthen Arizona's nonprofit sector.
Freeport-McMoRan Leadership for Sustainable Communities Initiative
Building on over eight years of a strategic partnership to support the capacity of nonprofit organizations in rural communities, the ASU Lodestar Center and Freeport-McMoRan created a leadership development program designed to promote evidence-based collaborations in rural communities. This cohort-based program model leveraged the knowledge and passion of local leaders to determine the most critical challenges and identify powerful opportunities for change in their communities. Each community cohort conducted research and developed a plan to address their key outcome while participating in web-based leadership development programming provided by the ASU Lodestar Center on topics such as Asset-Based Community Development, strategy and work plan development, resource development and group facilitation.
Now, more than ever, nonprofit organizations are called upon to serve great community needs with extremely limited resources. This challenge is great for all nonprofits, but even greater for those in rural communities. For nonprofits to succeed, it is critical that they are not only managed efficiently and effectively, but also that they operate with a focus on sustainability. Equally important to the understanding of sustainability is the emphasis of local leadership and building collaboration for sustainable communities. It is increasingly necessary for organizations to partner along a collective impact continuum that requires coordination and collaboration around issues of systemic community change and joint funding strategies. The Leadership for Sustainable Communities Initiative supported community leaders in navigating these challenges as they work to develop strategies to combat their communities' most pressing issues.
Starting in 2009, ASU partnered with Freeport, building the capacity of nonprofit organizations in selected communities and helped them achieve sustainability through a series of offerings. Nonprofits serve an important function by helping the most vulnerable members of the community and impacting quality of life in ways not addressed by the private sector. The ASU Lodestar Center works to ensure that the organizations fulfilling this important role have the knowledge and tools they need to be as effective as possible. Given the high need and limited resources, organizations often allocate most of their time and resources to service delivery, without regard to organizational or community sustainability. Services provided by the Lodestar Center give nonprofits the opportunity to evaluate what they do and explore ways to do it better.
San Carlos Apache College Governance Training
The San Carlos Apache College is a newly formed college on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Governance Training was provided by the ASU Lodestar Center to the convening Board of Regents and college leadership, funded by Freeport-McMoRan. The govenance training sessions were the culmination of several months of information gathering and planning with college and tribal members, as well as ASU professors engaged with the establishment of the college.
Arizona Compassion Initiative
The Arizona Compassion Initiative (ACI) was a statewide capacity building program funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Launched in 2007, the purpose of ACI was to assist grass roots, faith, tribal and community groups that serve elders in need and/or families in transition from welfare to work to maximize their social impact, increase their sustainability and effectiveness, enhance their ability to provide social services and create collaborations to better serve those most in need. The initiative partners provided training, technical assistance and $200,000 in sub-awards to qualified applicants.
ACI partners were the Governor’s Office of Faith and Community Initiatives, Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona State University Lodestar Center, and the consulting firm of LeCroy & Milligan Associates. Assistance was provided at no cost to organizations and associations.
Arizona Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative
The Arizona Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative was formed in September 2001 to explore the need for and value of an umbrella, statewide nonprofit capacity-building organization. The Initiative, comprised of representatives from nonprofits, foundations, and government, completed a feasibility study that included four major components:
- A profile of the nonprofit sector in Arizona
- An assessment of the capacity-building needs of Arizona's nonprofits
- An inventory of existing capacity-building resources
- An inventory of "best practices" and lessons learned from other states.
The Center was part of the executive and steering committee leadership throughout the process and provided vital research and nonprofit sector data.
Arizona Stroke Collaborative
The Arizona Stroke Collaborative (ASC) is a newly-formed nonprofit organization with the mission of working together to prevent stroke and improve the quality of stroke care for all Arizonans. With support and from the Arizona Department of Health Services, the ASU Lodestar Center provides organizational development guidance as well as nonprofit management expertise and administrative support which made it possible for the ASC to form its statewide organization in 2015.
The organization is led by preeminent Arizona stroke care experts, including but not limited to neurologists, hospital stroke center directors and coordinators, nurses, emergency medical experts, rehabilitation specialists, emergency medical system council members, stroke survivors and others from throughout the state. The Arizona Stroke Collaborative’s work will include researching and evaluating the current levels of stroke care throughout the state, identifying and working to fill gaps in service, providing guidance and expectations on best practices of care, encouraging stroke center designation, improving coordination of care and establishing a stroke care quality improvement management process.
Bureau of Land Management Agua Fria National Monument Capacity Building Project
During 2004, the Bureau of Land Management contracted with the ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management to help it develop, nurture and sustain a volunteer organization, Friends of Agua Fria National Monument. Through training and technical assistance provided by the ASU Center during the year, the group was organized and a mission statement and bylaws were developed. The Agua Fria National Monument was established in 2000 and comprises 71,000 acres of cultural, natural and scientific resources that offer diverse habitats and vegetation. The Monument supports one of the largest undeveloped expanses of desert grassland in Arizona, as well as an array of wildlife species.
The Evolving Nonprofits through Strategic Evaluation and Planning (ENSTEP) Program was a unique partnership between the academic and practitioner communities. It built upon and connected the research and knowledge of Arizona State University faculty and staff with the expertise and experiences of those working within the larger nonprofit community. ENSTEP was the evolution of the Nonprofit Self-Assessment Program which began in 2000 and was built upon the Drucker Foundation Self-Assessment Tool.
Throughout the ENSTEP Program, agencies worked to clarify their focus, add stability, and increase organizational capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness. The ENSTEP program provided a unique opportunity for board, staff, and stakeholders to engage in a challenging and collaborative process that aimed to convert knowledge into effective action. Through their participation in the program, ENSTEP agencies learned to recognize opportunities appropriate to their individual resources, strengths and competencies in order to better serve the community.
Faith Based Community Initiatives
In May 2007, Arizona hosted the first in a series of White House Conferences on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (FBCI). The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation and the Governor’s Office for Faith and Community Initiatives released the report, “Restoring Lives, Transforming Communities: Building a strong foundation through faith and community initiatives,” highlighting the outcomes from that sentinel event and exploring promising practices of collaborations in Arizona.
The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation was a founding partner of NPower Arizona. The Center and NPower were strategic partners on a number of projects and capacity building efforts.
NPower Arizona's mission was to help all nonprofits - regardless of size, sector or geography - access and use technology to expand the reach and impact of their services.
The Lodestar Center was actively involved in the community coalition that worked intensively for over a year to establish NPower Arizona as an affiliate of the NPower National Partnership. The Center provided significant in-kind staff, organizational, and research support to the NPower initiative.
Principles of Effectiveness
In February of 2003, a group of vibrant Arizona nonprofit leaders gathered together for the purpose of having an open and active dialogue about establishing Principles of Effectiveness for nonprofit organizations in Arizona. A fundamental question that emerged from the meeting was: If an organization is performing well, what does it look like?
The Principles of Effectiveness, which launched in 2006, is a powerful self-examination tool that helps nonprofits assess their organization’s strengths and weaknesses and create a comprehensive plan for improvement across all ten evaluation areas. The tool is designed to be taken in a group setting with key individuals from the organization discussing each question and answering collectively.
A revised Principles tool is now in the works.