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By Bob Phillips, Reposted from the Green Valley News, Oct 14, 2016

“Nonprofits are the best way to bring to life our dreams and aspirations for a community we would be proud to bestow to future generations.” — Michelle Phillips, Executive Director Greater Green Valley Community Foundation Nonprofits – amazing and uniquely American organizations.

While the daily news makes it agonizingly clear who is blowing up the present, the nonprofit agencies laying the foundation for a better, more prosperous, more just future locally and around the world often labor in obscurity, facing growing challenges with inadequate resources. Yet how obscure should an employer of 10.1 percent of the total U.S. workforce and a producer of $805 billion of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product be? Not very. Yes, nonprofits (NPOs) in the U.S. are that big! In Arizona, our nonprofits generate more than 8 percent of the state’s gross state product, are the state’s 5th largest non-governmental employer and are responsible for more than 325,000 jobs (AZ nonprofit Report 2016). Yet here in Southern Arizona, the more than 70 nonprofits served by the Greater Green Valley Community Foundation remain unknown by most people not directly affected by their programs. These local nonprofits help to raise our kids, give us affordable and accessible healthcare, and provide food and shelter to the more than 25 percent of our local families living in poverty. They also protect our mountains and rivers, provide places of worship, recreation, education and culture and give Southern Arizona the quality of life critical to its growth, security and prosperity.

So, the Nonprofit Learning Institute, a program of the Greater Green Valley Community Foundation, aims to help local nonprofits to organize, become more productive, innovative, collaborative and assertive. How? For starters, by offering an ongoing series of trainings, inspired by the foundation’s board chairman Mark Davy’s 4 Pillars of Successful Nonprofits. That leads to a certificate for every participating non-profit. There’s also a monthly facilitated Executive Roundtable, attended by local non-pro t leaders, to a create a collaborative community between previously competing non-profits. And there are workshops on strategic planning, forming partnerships and building sustainability through cross-sector resource development. This monthly column will focus on critical topics not generally covered. Like the myth of nonprofit sustainability, why the concept of charity stands in the way of effective philanthropy and social investment, why non-profit leadership is critical yet seldom practiced or rewarded, why so few young people take up non-profit careers and why Southern Arizona non-profits (and their communities) seem so oblivious to the fact their future depends on what happens 43 miles south of Green Valley. Look for this column every month in the Green Valley News and on GGVCF sites. Each will feature comments and insights from you the public, non-profit staff and board members, volunteers and those served by local non-profits. The column will be frank, intelligent, creative, constructive, kind and honest. Let us know your thoughts.

For more info on GGVCF (www.ggvcf.org) and NPLI and its trainings to NPO’s and to make a comment or share an insight, contact: Michelle Phillips exd@ggvcf.org or NPLI Director Bob Phillips, rtp1844@gmail.com / http://www.robertphillips-consulting.com