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Release: Immediate

UI business school offers course on nonprofit management

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Business school can be profitable for people interested in working for charitable and nonprofit organizations, according to two faculty members at the University of Iowa who are teaching a course during spring semester 1999 on managing such organizations.

Willard L. "Sandy" Boyd, professor of law at the UI and president emeritus of both the UI and the Field Museum in Chicago, and Jack B. Evans, president and chief executive officer of the Hall Perrine Foundation of Cedar Rapids, are co-teaching "Perspectives in Nonprofit Management."

The graduate-level course, offered this spring through the UI's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, will meet Mondays from 5 until 7:45 p.m., starting Jan. 25 in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building. The class concludes Monday, May 10.

The course is one of a growing number at universities and colleges in the United States designed to hone the management, financial, and marketing skills of people who work and volunteer for nonprofit organizations and agencies. It can be beneficial not only for those who work in the field, but also for volunteers and board members associated with nonprofit groups.

"Many of the services provided in every Iowa community are provided through nonprofit organizations," said Boyd, who served as president of the UI from 1969 to 1981. "Churches, higher education, hospitals, healthcare organizations, cultural and social service agencies -- when you stop to think about the number of nonprofit organizations and how they touch our lives, it is astounding."

"We need people with good management skills to lead organizations in the nonprofit area just as we need people with good management skills to lead organizations in the for- profit area," Boyd said. "This class is a good opportunity for anyone to learn about the concepts, issues and management of a nonprofit organization."

The course is designed as a broad-based introduction to issues involving nonprofit organizations, covering topics such as the role, nature and history of nonprofits; missions and constituencies; management; fundraising; finances; marketing and public relations; and others. The class project is to develop a strategic plan for an actual or a mock non-profit organization, depending on the student's preference.

Evans, who was named president of the Hall Perrine Foundation in 1995 after a 23-year career in securities and investments, says the role of nonprofit organizations has taken on new emphasis as government spending on social services has tapered off.

"It has become increasingly important for nonprofits to manage their affairs and their finances more efficiently," Evans explained. "We're trying to bring some of the for-profit management techniques to the nonprofit sector."

The UI course is based on one that Boyd developed at Northwestern University during his tenure as president of the Field Museum from 1981 to 1996. He returned to the UI in 1996, in part, to further efforts in nonprofit education.

He also co-teaches courses in the UI College of Law on legal issues involving nonprofits and cultural property, and he teaches a course on the role of cultural arts organizations in the College of Liberal Arts.

Gary Fethke, dean of the UI College of Business Administration, says Boyd's and Evans' experience in nonprofit management and in the private sector make the class unique.

"There aren't many programs that can offer students who are interested in careers in nonprofit organizations and practitioners currently in the field the kind of perspective that Sandy and Jack can," Fethke says. "Few programs can boast a former president of a major university and an internationally acclaimed museum teamed up with the director of a major charitable foundation."

Boyd said there is long-standing interest in nonprofit organizations at the UI and on other campuses in the United States.

"There is a sense of social responsibility on the part of students," Boyd said. "Even those who go to work in the for-profit sector feel that sense, either by volunteering their own time and resources or through their companies' contributions to charitable organizations."

Evans said managers of nonprofits generally have good business skills, but they haven't had the time or opportunity to develop them fully.

"The skills are there," he said. "They are just a little less refined in the nonprofit area than in the for-profit area."

Evans has been involved with the Hall Perrine Foundation for the past 15 years, serving on the organization's board of directors. Founded in 1953 by Cedar Rapids native Howard Hall, the foundation distributes funds annually to social and cultural groups in Linn County.

For more information about the class "Perspectives in Nonprofit Management," contact the UI School of Management at (319) 335-1039.