Penn's Nonprofit Institute trains charitable leaders

United in their desire to make a difference in the world, more than 25 men and women are gathering on campus to attend Penn’s Nonprofit and Communities of Faith Nonprofit Institute, which runs through Dec. 12.

For more than 12 years, the Institute—an initiative of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships—has provided high impact training to nonprofit leaders in a series of workshops designed to give participants the tools they need to run successful organizations. The program is held twice a year, usually in the fall and spring at the Christian Association, 118 South 37th St.

About 25-30 people attend each Institute. Nonprofits currently taking part in the program include the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, the Salvation Army, Community of Compassion Community Development Corp., and Real Men Rock.

Isabel Sampson-Mapp, associate director at the Netter Center, has overseen the Institute since 2008. She says it draws participants from a broad swath of society, from people who are just thinking about starting a nonprofit to individuals who are already experienced in running one. The Institute is advertised largely through word-of-mouth. Sampson-Mapp contacts past participants and asks them to refer other nonprofits.

Approximately 15 Penn staff and administrators volunteer to teach Nonprofit Institute sessions. These workshops cover best practices in fundraising, grant writing, media writing, public speaking, and a variety of organizational functions.

Participants also network with each other informally between sessions, sharing experiences they have had developing and marketing their nonprofits. One-hour workshops begin around 8:30 a.m. and continue on the hour until 3 p.m., with lunch breaks and a few working lunches in between.

Mapp says the collaboration between the nonprofits and Penn does not end with the Institute’s closing ceremony. The directors and staff at the nonprofits are invited to stay in contact with workshop presenters by phone, email, or on social media for follow-up questions and updates.

“We want them to know that we all learn from each other,” she says. “And now they’re a part of the Penn family and we want them to stay in touch.”

The next Institute will be held in June 2015. For more information, contact Sampson-Mapp at

Nonprofit Institute