Notre Dame Hosts Breakfast Series on Nonprofit Governance

Author: Jessica Brookshire

The University of Notre Dame is partnering with local nonprofits to improve the effectiveness of their boards in our community.

Nonprofit Professional Development and the Office of Public Affairs at Notre Dame are holding a four-session breakfast series on nonprofit governance for local nonprofit organizations. Presenters are from the University.

“The sessions are available to our community partners including Executive Directors and their board members,” says Jessica Brookshire, associate director for public affairs. “They will provide opportunities for networking and sharing of best practices as well as the expert training from our faculty leaders.  We believe offering this series to nonprofit leaders and those that serve – or are interested in serving – on a community board will improve the boards that function within our community.”

The 90-minute seminars are Jan. 17, Feb. 21, March 21, and April 18. Topics are:

* Group Theory: The Tool for Effective Board Governance, presented by Thomas Harvey, director of the Master of Nonprofit Administration Program in the Mendoza College of Business. Harvey is coauthor of the book Nonprofit Governance: The Why, What, and How of Nonprofit Boardship, which participants will receive.

* Budgeting and Finance, presented by Ed Hums, an expert in budgeting, accounting, information systems and nonprofit financial management who teaches at Mendoza.

* What the Board Needs to Know About Nonprofit Law, presented by Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a professor and associate dean at the Law School.

* Board Roles and Responsibilities, presented by Theresa Ricke-Kiely, associate director for planning and development in the Master of Nonprofit Administration Program.

Marc Hardy, director of Nonprofit Executive Programs, says nonprofit boards face different challenges, from compliance with new nonprofit requirements and laws to being responsible to a variety of stakeholders to working with volunteers, that business leaders and others might not expect when they accept positions. Individual agencies usually lack resources for comprehensive training.

“Oftentimes people who are successful in business think their success in business translates to their success in nonprofits,” Hardy says. “That can be problematic. A nonprofit board is more of a collective. It’s not an entrepreneurial organization.

Business owners also do not have to deal with volunteers. That’s a whole different ballgame. The other thing business people don’t know is how to raise money from donors. It’s intimidating to solicit money for a nonprofit because you’re selling an intangible. You have to believe in the nonprofit’s mission and programs, and the board members must lead the way.”

To register, visit