Students walk on the campus of Waynesburg University.

The Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at Waynesburg University and the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University have created a program to help nonprofit organizations in Greene and Washington counties while they face the consequences of the pandemic.

The program, PREP: Partnerships, Resources, Expertise and Power for Nonprofits, was created after the center completed a study in the fall on the effects of the pandemic on local nonprofits. The CSR Center’s 2020 COVID-19 Impact Assessment found that approximately 60% of nonprofits that responded decreased their services since March 2020, and most needed help with strategic planning, specifically in the areas of fundraising and partnership development. The study showed a need or anticipated need for financial resources and volunteers. Now, they are using that information to help the communities.

“Our COVID-19 Impact Assessment led us to the creation of this program that will help nonprofits address the challenges they now face, including fundraising, partnerships and long-term sustainability,” said Stacey Brodak, vice president of institutional advancement and university relations.

The program will include an eight-week course, beginning Feb. 19 and ending April 16, on the topics of partnership and collaboration, development of personal leadership skills, building trust and communication with stakeholders, understanding legal process and structure, developing a fundraising plan and producing effective presentations and social media strategies.

Nonprofits will participate at no cost due to funding from CSR Center member companies EQT Corporation and Range Resources.

Peggy Outon, director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, said she has witnessed that one of the best strategies communities in crisis can follow is “finding allies and partners” in other organizations in the community.

“I believe that the ability to partner effectively is a key leadership strategy, particularly in times of high disorientation and uncertainty,” she said.

The initial group will be limited to 10 nonprofits of any size that operate or offer services in Greene or Washington counties. To apply to the program, nonprofits must be an incorporated, nonprofit entity with 501©(3) status, have a board of directors, have been in operation for at least a year, have an executive director or equivalent position and commit to attending all eight program sessions.

Applications are open until Jan. 26, and successful applicants will be notified Feb. 5. To apply, visit waynesburg.edu/prepapp. For more information, email csr@waynesburg.edu or visit waynesburg.edu/csr.

Brodak said they are interested to see how the program goes and to do more in the future.

“This program is intended to not only educate nonprofit leadership personnel about partnership and fund development,” Brodak said, “but also provide meaningful, lasting relationships that will benefit their organizations for months and hopefully years to come.”

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