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First year of NEI completed

In 2016, the Grand Island Community Foundation launched the Nonprofit Excellence Institute – a 12-month, intensive training designed to help local nonprofit organizations strengthen their organizations. Throughout the year, executive directors and board members of the selected organizations worked with cohort facilitator, Mary Lee Fitzsimmons of Mission Matters, to address capacity building efforts within each organization.

“Nonprofit organizations are vital to a healthy community and the Foundation aims to be a resource for them. The work being accomplished by these organizations is helping to shape a better Grand Island and Hall County and we want to ensure they are successful now and into the future,” said Melissa DeLaet, GICF Chief Executive Officer.

Recently, the first class selected for NEI completed the program. Executive directors participating in the program were: Audrey Lutz (Multicultural Coalition of Grand Island), Connie Holmes (Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions), Chase Francl (Friendship House), L.J. McCormick (College Park), Laurie Kulus (GRACE Foundation), and Mandy Burkett (YWCA of Grand Island).

“Because of the Grand Island Community Foundation’s investment in our organization, we have stronger infrastructure to grow and support the future of Grand Island. The year of Nonprofit Excellence Institute has ignited Multicultural Coalition’s vitality and mission to empower individuals, embrace cultures and strengthen community,” said Audrey Lutz, Executive Director, Multicultural Coalition.

“The NEI program provided an in-depth look at the mechanics of the nonprofit world and opened many doors for our business. It encompassed every aspect of successful nonprofits and provided tools we can use well into the future and we have already implemented many changes,” said L.J. McCormick, Executive Director, College Park.

Organizations participating in NEI are eligible to receive a $3,000-5,000 grant to assist in further capacity building initiatives. This spring the following organizations successfully completed the NEI program and were awarded grant funding:

  • Friendship House - $2,500 for development of an organizational strategic plan.
  • College Park - $4,000 for institutional marketing efforts.  
  • Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions - $3,045 for development of a strategic plan and staff development.
  • YWCA of Grand Island - $5,000for board training and development.
  • Multicultural Coalition of Grand Island - $3,400 for strategic planning and development of an annual report.
  • GRACE Foundation - $2,850 forwebsite training and a marketing video.  

The Grand Island Community Foundation was established in 1960 with the mission to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Central Nebraska and assist donors in realizing their charitable goals. The Grand Island Community Foundation is located in the Great Western Centre Building at 1811 West 2nd Street, Suite 365, Grand Island, Nebraska. For general information, call 308-381-7767 or visit