Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation Grants $700,000 to Create Non-Profit Entrepreneurship Center

Posted: Thursday, June 29th 2017 at 8:54 AM

The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation recently awarded The W. A. Franke College of Business $700,000 to create the Northern Arizona Center for Non-Profit Entrepreneurship.

The Center will focus on the unique aspects of start-up and early-phase non-profit enterprises that serve Northern Arizona. According to a 2016 report from the Arizona Community Foundation, in 2014 over 1,800 registered non-profit organizations existed in Northern Arizona. Despite their sizable economic impact, Northern Arizona’s non-profit organizations are largely underserved, especially with respect to start-up and early-phase resources.

Rural non-profits are chronically under resourced, which significantly limits their ability to serve the needs of rural populations. The situation is especially troubling given Northern Arizona’s high poverty rate. Two Northern Arizona counties, Apache and Navajo, have the state’s highest poverty rates (36.2% and 30.3% respectively). Coconino County has Arizona’s fourth-highest poverty rate at 23%. With the exception of Yavapai County, all of Northern Arizona’s counties have higher poverty rates than Maricopa and Pima counties.

Craig Van Slyke, outgoing dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business, stated, “Over the years, I’ve repeatedly heard of the need for non-profit leaders and board members to be better educated with respect to business. Passion is not enough; impacting our regions' many social problems requires thorough knowledge of leadership and business. The Center will help turn passion into impact. We are grateful to the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation for giving us the opportunity to serve Northern Arizona residents by strengthening our non-profit organizations.”

"Passion is not enough; impacting our regions' many social problems requires thorough knowledge of leadership and business."
–Craig Van Slyke, Dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business

Center director Paul Thomas agrees. “In my experience, non-profit organizations never lack passion or programs for addressing their cause or their clients. What they lack many times is a basic understanding of business fundamentals and the importance of governance; financing and accounting; performance measurement; and goal setting. By creating the Northern Arizona Center for Non-Profit Entrepreneurship, we can now help both students and non-profit organizations in Northern Arizona address and understand these critical functions. We can ultimately help organizations and students achieve greater success by giving them the tools and information they will need,” said Thomas.

The Center will have three main activities:

  • Non-Profit and Social Entrepreneurship certificate program: The Center will promote and work closely with the existing Non-Profit and Social Entrepreneurship certificate program, the start-up of which was funded by the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation.
  • Executive and continuing education: The Center will also deliver a variety of non-credit educational programs for leaders of start-up and early phase non-profit enterprises. These would include summer workshops, one-day focused events, and online resources. These opportunities would be offered at nominal cost to the participants. Although the focus would be on start-up and early phase enterprises, we expect that many of the programs would also be of interest to more mature non-profit enterprises.
  • Research: There is relatively little empirical research into start-up and early-phase non-profit organizations. The Center will partner with The W. A. Franke College of Business’ Rural Policy Institute and appropriate faculty to perform empirical research into important issues related to non-profit entrepreneurship.


Categories: kemper and ethel marley foundation craig van slyke summer 2017 2017 non-profit entrepreneurship center for non-profit entrepreneurship entrepreneurship paul thomas rural policy institute non-profit and social entrepreneurship certificate non-profit and social entrepreneurship northern arizona center for non-profit entrepreneurship