Tracy Family Foundation, John Wood Community College, Community Foundation partner to help strengthen nonprofits

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QUINCY — A strong, diverse and well-trained nonprofit board is crucial to the success of a nonprofit’s mission. The Tracy Family Foundation, John Wood Foundation and Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois have partnered to prepare high-quality board member candidates and provide a system through which nonprofits can identify and contact them.

Available through the Community Foundation’s website, nonprofits can browse local people who are prepared for board service through a board member training program by John Wood Community College. The database provides each candidate’s professional and volunteer background, as well as their charitable interest areas, so nonprofits can seek people who meet their specific leadership needs.

The program is a strategic initiative of the Tracy Family Foundation, which identified a need to strengthen and increase the pool of high-quality board member candidates eager to serve.

“West Central Illinois communities are filled with great leaders and organizations making an impact, but it is often challenging for them to find each other,” said Dan Teefey, executive director of Tracy Family Foundation. “This project creates this vital connection. It will help leaders find meaningful ways to use their gifts and organizations build stronger boards.”

The course, conducted in the fall of 2021, provided participants with instruction on understanding nonprofits, community leadership, board member roles and responsibilities, board effectiveness and commitment, and community contribution.

Clairice Hetzler, executive director of Advocacy Network for Children from 1998 to 2016, developed the training curriculum. She has a history of exemplary board engagement practices. Hetzler is joined in leading the course by Pam Shaffer, who served as executive director of the Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1991 to 2014.

“Even though I have served on various nonprofit boards, I was very pleased with the information that I learned in this course,” Quincy Mayor Mike Troup, who completed the 2021 board training program, said in a press release. “This course will assist me not only when I’m talking to board members but also when I’m discussing key items with those who may be interested in serving the City of Quincy on various board and commissions we have.”

Information on the attendees who completed that course and are ready for board service can be found on the Community Foundation website and navigating to the “nonprofits” section. Nonprofits are invited to view the database and contact prospective board members who align with their needs directly.

“The Community Foundation’s mission is to connect people who care with causes that matter, and this program is a fantastic expression of it,” Community Foundation CEO Catherine Bocke Meckes said. “We are proud to partner with Tracy Family Foundation and John Wood Community College to bring this resource to life because when our nonprofits are strong, so are our communities.”

A second session of the board training program will begin Friday. Individuals interested in board service are encouraged to participate in the four-part training. The class meets from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the John Wood Community College Workforce Development Center. The program is free of charge to participants. Each class session is two and half hours long and includes a presentation of the topic, discussion and homework relating to each participants’ organization.

For more information and to register, contact Gordon Forbes, John Wood Community College Business & Industry Coordinator, at gforbes@jwcc.edu.

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