Program aims to better leadership within nonprofits

Edward Boice, The Yellow Jacket

For the past 15 years, and once again in 2019, the Community Foundation of Greene County is offering an eight session series of classes, focusing on the different aspects of nonprofits to assist people in becoming proficient in the skills necessary to serve on a nonprofit board.

Bettie Stammerjohn, executive director of CFGC, said Community Builders has been in existence for 16 fall seasons dating back to 2003. Even though it has changed in format, the main objective has remained the same.

“Community Builders is about helping Greene County nonprofits by training current and future board members, so that they understand how a nonprofit works and the roles and responsibilities of being on a board are,” Stammerjon said. “It’s building capacity of our nonprofits and the people who serve those nonprofits.”

Many people in Greene County and the surrounding communities want to learn how to serve on a board or help lead a local group, said Stammerjohn. They do not, however, because it was filled with the same members for years. By CFGC creating the Community Builders program, those involved have seen new leaders emerge.

“It’s really whoever wants to give it a shot,” Stammerjohn said. “We do try to get people who serve on boards or who want to serve on boards. One of the reasons it started was to ensure that there would be a good pool of responsible people to serve, instead of the same few people which is what they were noticing before this started.”

Stammerjohn explained people should be careful to not confuse Community Builders with a leadership-type program, as it focuses more on nonprofit leadership rather than business leading in a particular field.

“Community Builders might differ from a leadership development program which talks about the different roles in the community: education, environment, etc.,” Stammerjohn said. “Community Builders is talking about nonprofit leadership, so we’re talking about the different functions that are important to a nonprofit organization.”

Over the years, different presenters have come through CFGC to share their wisdom and knowledge on different subjects from financial, to strategic planning and to everything in between. Stammerjohn, however, has relied on locals such as herself and a few others to primarily lead the sessions.

“I usually teach a session on developing resources, Tom Milinovich, a local longtime financial person, teaches the one on financial management, he has experience with nonprofit taxes and accounting,” Stammerjohn said. “Nancy Riggle from the area agency on aging does the session on volunteering because they deal with a lot of volunteers. We build on the expertise of people from our community to share what they know, and it seems to work.”

As the series continues over the coming weeks, Stammerjohn mentioned attendees have traveled from near and far and some even include college students.

“A college student could even take the class, and there are students in college who have an interest in being involved in nonprofits and this is a good way to do it,” Stammerjohn said. “We’ve had people from other communities come take the class because they don’t have anything like it.”

The next session is the sixth class of the eight program series and will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 4. It will feature a panel discussion of local nonprofit board members to discuss being on a board. Applications to the program can be found online at or by stopping by The Community Foundation of Greene County office.