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Maximizing Nonprofit Leadership, Capacity and Resiliency

Leading a grassroots nonprofit can be challenging, but Ken Johnson is equipped with the knowledge to maximize the impact and resiliency of his organization after participating in a unique capacity-building training coordinated by United Way of Central Carolinas.


Johnson, executive director of The Premier Foundation of North Carolina, completed the Duke Nonprofit Management Intensive Track Program, an eight-session training exploring key areas of nonprofit management—board development and governance, grantwriting/fundraising, planning and evaluation, integrating social enterprise, employment law, human resource development, financial management and sustainable strategic planning.


Since completing the program and earning a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University’s Center for Continuing Studies, Johnson said he has already implemented key learnings at The Premier Foundation. Founded in 2015, the nonprofit provides physical, mental and financial wellness resources and education to the community.


“From an administrative perspective, the things we talked about during the Duke program relating to our financials and how to budget and build a budget were very helpful,” Johnson said. “We’re also setting up an advisory board and building a volunteer portal to make sure our volunteers stay engaged and are thanked for all the help they give us.”


United Way offers the Duke program to its Unite Charlotte partners, including The Premier Foundation of North Carolina, to provide nonprofits with the skills needed to bring them to the next level of operational, programmatic and/or financial maturity and ensure future sustainability. Founded in 2016, Unite Charlotte provides funding and capacity-building programs to grassroots organizations in Charlotte that are advancing racial equity and addressing economic mobility.


Courtnie McIntosh, executive director of The Academy of Goal Achievers, said she found the Duke program to be of significant value to her nonprofit, from board development and governance to volunteer engagement. Founded in 2013 by McIntosh, The Academy of Goal Achievers develops youth leaders to impact communities, while preparing students and families for post-secondary success.


“When you’re trying to grow an organization and be effective to the people you’re serving, it’s important to have the right people in the right positions, even volunteers,” McIntosh said. “Making sure people are in key positions, developing ways to sustain volunteers and empowering them more has really stuck with me.”


Through capacity-building opportunities, United Way works to provide guidance and strengthen the leadership capabilities within Unite Charlotte organizations in order to grow a more diverse and inclusive pipeline of leaders for Charlotte’s nonprofit sector.


“United Way has been a central point in keeping us all connected and has fostered partnerships,” Johnson said. “They’ve helped bring like-minded people together to collaborate and intertwine our networks.”


From identifying tactics for fundraising management to improving how program outcomes are measured, United Way champions capacity-building training like the Duke program to help nonprofits and their leaders develop knowledge that can strengthen their ability to deliver on their mission.


“The partnership with United Way has given us the opportunity to learn, build capacity and support our operations, which is key for a grassroots organization that is trying to grow,” McIntosh said. “United Way is why we have been able to get to where we are today.”


Support Unite Charlotte partners like The Premier Foundation of North Carolina and The Academy of Goal Achievers by giving today.