ASU Lodestar Center


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Nonprofit Leadership Alliance alumna Nora B. Slawik receives Certified Nonprofit Professional of the Year Award

A photo of business people. From left and right, Danielle Contreras, Nonprofit Leader Alliance Alumna Nora B. Slawik and Susan T. Schmidt.

From L to R: Danielle Contreras, Chair, Association of CNP's and Senior Philanthropic Advisor, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Alumna Nora B. Slawik, Certified Nonprofit Professional of the Year; and Susan T. Schmidt, President of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.


Phoenix, Ariz. (January 5, 2018) – She’s been a nonprofit manager and a board member, a mayor and an elected State representative. And to her long list of career accomplishments, Nora B. Slawik can now add Certified Nonprofit Professional of the Year.

One of the most accomplished graduates of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance program at Arizona State University, known previously as the American Humanics program, Slawik received the CNP of the Year Award from the national Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, presented on Jan. 5, 2018, in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Alliance Management Institute conference.

The award is given annually to a Certified Nonprofit Professional whose exceptional leadership has strengthened the nonprofit sector and her/his organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Slawik, who earned her CNP through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at ASU in 1984, couldn’t meet the criteria any better. She has spent most of her highly impactful career in Minnesota, holding leadership positions at United Way before the inner call to serve took her to the Minnesota House of Representatives. She served seven terms. Later she taught at the University of Minnesota, continued her nonprofit work with the Autism Society of Minnesota, worked for the state’s Minnesota Help Network and was elected mayor of Maplewood, Minnesota, in 2014. She has served on the boards of many community organizations, too.

Even as a sitting mayor, she continues to contribute to the nonprofit sector as manager of Jupiter, which aims to create a healthier Minnesota.

“Nora exemplifies the best of what CNPs can be, evidenced by the impact she has made in and through the nonprofit and government sectors,” said Dr. Robert Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and the Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise in ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development. “Nora truly defines what it means to be a public servant and I know she credits our NLA program for incubating her skills in nonprofit service and public good advancement. In all of my years teaching students about effective nonprofit leadership, Nora is the greatest example I know of someone who blended her NLA education in nonprofit leadership and management with a laser focus on impactful results by understanding and intersecting with the political sphere to make positive outcomes happen.”

The award recipient was chosen by a national selection committee of faculty, CNPs, workforce partners, board members and sponsors. Nominees must demonstrate meaningful contributions to the sector and her/his organization and a proven ability to make significant impacts in the community.

“Given Nora’s significant commitment to the people of Minnesota, both as a civic leader and nonprofit professional, it was clear she was the right recipient for this award,” said Susan T. Schmidt, CNP, president of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. “We are incredibly proud of the work she has and will do to elevate our collective quality of life.”

Slawik was joined at the Alliance Management Institute by a delegation from Arizona State University. Like Slawik and other NLA students before them, the 17 undergraduates learned first-hand how to run a fund campaign by raising the money for their trip to the conference in Kansas City.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, founded as American Humanics in 1948, is a national network of educational institutions and nonprofit partners that aims to strengthen the social sector.

NLA has a nearly 40-year history with Arizona State University, whose NLA program has become a leader among the more than 50 university affiliates. Students who complete the program earn the NLA’s national certification and the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential. This year ASU’s program earned the prestigious Campus Program Excellence Award from NLA.

The ASU Lodestar Center supports the NLA program as part of the Center’s mission to build the capacity of the social sector by enhancing the effectiveness of those who lead, manage and support nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

For additional information regarding any of the ASU Lodestar Center’s programs, visit If you have questions, please call 602.496.0500 or email