Since its inception in 1981, the mission of The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University has been to build the capacity of the nonprofit sector. While our primary focus has been the Greater Philadelphia region, our reputation has led us to nonprofits throughout the country.
What is now The Nonprofit Center (itself a nonprofit organization) was established under the leadership of Everett Frank, a man who had spent most of his working life in the corporate sector, but who recognized that nonprofits “could stretch one dollar in ways for-profit corporations could never imagine.” He became La Salle’s first “Executive-In-Residence,” serving as a liaison between La Salle’s School of Business Administration and the corporate world.
When La Salle asked Everett Frank to serve as a group leader for its early Management Training Programs (MTP), funded by the William Penn Foundation in 1981, Everett combined his business acumen with his nonprofit sensitivity to discern the strengths of each sector and what they could learn from one another. When the MTP needed a strategic planning trainer, Everett took all the international strategic planning theory and experience he had gathered over 31 years of business experience and distilled it into an abbreviated planning process that would apply in the nonprofit setting.
After five years as a popular La Salle MTP group leader, Everett agreed to become the founding director of La Salle’s Nonprofit Management Development Center, that evolved into The Nonprofit Center of today.
The strategic planning and board development concepts that Everett custom developed for nonprofits remain the cornerstone of The Nonprofit Center’s curriculum and consulting principles to this day. And the nonprofit consulting, training, research, and networking infrastructure he initiated have grown as the sector has.
In response to the increased demand for its services, Karen Simmons joined the Center as assistant director in 1987. In 1990, she succeeded Everett Frank as director. Under her leadership, a series of workshops was added for nonprofit executives. Today that annual slate of workshops surpasses 90 diverse programs. Consulting services in such areas as board development, fundraising and strategic planning were added and,the region’s exclusive nonprofit job search newsletter, was created. In 2001, Karen left the center to become president/CEO of the Chester County Community Foundation.
Laura Otten, Ph.D. whose diverse career has always included a commitment to the nonprofit sector and the people it serves, succeeded Karen as director. Instrumental in creating a Women’s Studies Program at La Salle University, she later served as its second director. Once director of the Criminal Justice Program, she was an associate professor in the program. An author, researcher, and community advocate, Laura first began working with The Nonprofit Center in 1983 and became director in 2001. Today, she remains a standard-bearer for the use of best practices in all aspects of nonprofit management.
Read about our history in the Philadelphia Business Journal.