January 2020

Investing in People is investing in the Future.  That is the Key to Success for Non-Profit Organizations! 

An organization’s success lies in the professionalism, compassion, vision, competence, and expertise of the people within the organization.

Nonprofit work is known to be mission-driven.  Often achievement comes with pushing yourself and your team to its limit.

In the non-profit world, the roles and responsibilities of those that work for the non-profit often entail much more than any job description;  rather it becomes a way of life. The folks who dedicate their lives to the mission often become the very symbol of the organizations focus.

Similar to the for-profit world of dollars and cents, working in nonprofits means being able to explain with a  “business-minded” focus exactly what a donor’s return on investment looks like in terms of impact and change. Being transparent, knowledgeable, and passionate about the mission are skills every nonprofit leader needs because donors want to see their investments grow for the purpose of their own personal charitable cause(s).

Whether it is working with a board of directors, managing volunteers, fundraising, writing grants, or building relationships, being an exceptional community networker with contacts in many support organizations is key.  Who you know, how you manage your relationships, and how you treat others are exceptionally important factors in the role of any leader.

The Cadillac Area Community Foundation and nine other northern Michigan Community Foundations, in conjunction with grants from the Frye Foundation and Rotary Charities, are currently investing in our nonprofit leaders and offering them the opportunity to raise their leadership skills to the next level.

The nine-month Leadership Learning Lab was designed to support non-profit leaders to build a strong foundation for their organization.  Understanding leadership, board development, storytelling, fund development, setting goals, time management, and adaptive leadership to make a bigger impact in their organization and community, are parts of their learning program.

As of December 2019, nine local  non-profit leaders, along with their Mt. Pleasant cohort, completed the Leadership Learning Lab.  These leaders have built strong relationships with their classmates and their instructors, they continue to meet quarterly as the circle of peers to support each other.

Each participant has expressed their appreciation for being chosen for the program. They have expressed growing confidence, appreciation and being valued, and they walk away with new skills for their organization.

How is “return on investment” measured?  Strong and confident individuals leading our non-profit community into the future!


2018 Leadership Learning Lab Participants:

Amber Herlein, OASIS Family Resource Center

Jenni Johnson, Senior Housing Consultant

Kathy Kimmel, Wexford County Council on Aging

Natalie Davis

Nichole Schultz, Great Start Collaborative


2019 Leadership Learning Lab Participants:

Valerie Farr, Life Resources of Northern Michigan

Courtney Mulder, Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital Foundation

Jennifer Pugh, Community Hope (Missaukee County)

Karen Staub, Wexford/Missaukee Child Protection Council


Our next class starts in April 2020.

Happy New Year!