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Building Stronger Communities: Empowering 70 Individuals with Nonprofit Board Leadership Training in Hendricks County

Building Stronger Communities: Empowering 70 Individuals with Nonprofit Board Leadership Training in Hendricks County

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“Do you know of anybody who could serve on my board of directors?”

This is a question frequently posed to the Hendricks County Community Foundation (HCCF) and Leadership Hendricks County (LHC) by nonprofit board leaders. Until recently, they often found themselves without a definitive answer.

HCCF’s mission is to be a trusted community partner, not only understanding the community’s needs but also seeking solutions to address the challenges facing Hendricks County, particularly its nonprofit sector.

As the recurring question persisted without a solution, the leaders at HCCF recognized the need for a creative approach and reached out to another organization they knew could assist—Leadership Hendricks County.

Dani Smith, LHC Program Director

Leadership Hendricks County (LHC) prepares community members with leadership skills to help them get involved in a meaningful way. Between its Community Leaders program and workshops, LHC has served nearly 700 people over the years. While they have robust training programming, LHC didn’t offer an in-depth series on nonprofit board leadership.

“What we consistently see, regardless of what level of leadership someone is in when they come to LHC, is that they dive in much more after the program, looking for new opportunities or ways to get more involved,” said Dani Smith, Program Director at LHC.

Recognizing the mutual benefit, HCCF and LHC collaborated to devise a solution that would not only serve their organizational objectives but also benefit the wider community. Soon the idea emerged to bring the Hedges Board Leadership Program, Lead with Purpose, directly to Hendricks County.

Each year, the Hedges-facilitates eight-part virtual series, from August – November, is open to anyone throughout the state and beyond who is interested in developing their board leadership skills. Individuals or their organizations invest $500 to participate.

Jana Morrison, LHC Executive Director

However, both HCCF and LHC wanted to enhance accessibility for community members, understanding that the investment could be a barrier. Jana Morrison, Executive Director of LHC, emphasized the need for practical tools and resources to empower nonprofit board members to make substantial contributions.

“When I’m out in the community speaking to leaders at presentations, I routinely ask, ‘How many of you feel like all you do in your board role is vote?’ Unsurprisingly, most people would raise their hand, which was further confirmation that we needed to help people with practical tools and resources they could take back to their nonprofit boards and really make their voice count,” explained Morrison.

In 2023, HCCF funded Lead with Purpose specifically for Hendricks County residents, partnering with LHC to offer the program locally. As a result, seventy-two community members with varying levels of board involvement participated, refining their leadership skills and laying a foundation for effective board leadership.

Eric Hessel, HCCF VP of Programs

“Our ultimate goal is to empower our community’s nonprofits and make them stronger,” shared Eric Hessel, HCCF VP of Programs. “Our partnership with LHC does this organically, and bringing Lead with Purpose took this to the next level by building capacity for our local nonprofits.”

Both organizations saw promising outcomes in the short term, with participants actively engaging in nonprofit board or committee service and sharing new tools and resources to foster organizational growth. With a solid foundation, LHC and HCCF are continuing to take steps for long-term impact.

With a focus on cultivating a pipeline of new board leaders and sustaining nonprofits, HCCF and LHC believe Lead With Purpose was pivotal in achieving these objectives. Consequently, they extended their collaboration, hosting targeted events to match individuals’ skills and interests with the needs of Hendricks County nonprofits.

The collaborative efforts of the HCCF and LHC demonstrate the power of partnership in strengthening community impact. Through initiatives like Lead with Purpose, they have not only equipped individuals with essential board leadership skills but also bolstered the capacity of local nonprofits to effect positive change.

Interested in learning more about how to engage your community with the Lead With Purpose training series? Fill out the form below.

Lead With Purpose Interest Form

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