Cooperative Extension Services to Nonprofits: We Just Have To Find Them, and Ask

Cooperative Extension Services to Nonprofits: We Just Have To Find Them, and Ask

Once again, thanks to Rick Cohen at the Nonprofit Quarterly for this article highlighting the importance of Cooperative Extension services to nonprofits.  As the article explains, Cooperative Extensions date from the early 20th Century, when the U.S. was still predominantly rural, and were intended to provide assistance mostly to communities with agricultural issues.  But they still exist, and in states including Wisconsin they’ve begun to provide a broader range of community assistance, providing expertise and even access to capital to nonprofits.

The Nonprofiteer has been in this business for nearly 30 years and had never heard of this possibility for capacity building.  Indeed, she’s spent time beating the drum for assistance to nonprofits (including access to capital) through the Small Business Administration or a separate Nonprofit Business Administration.  But, like Dorothy returned from Oz, what she was looking for may have been in our own backyards all the time.

Have any readers connected with their local Cooperative Extension services?  Tell us about your experience!

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    Nonprofiteer

    The Nonprofiteer is Kelly Kleiman, principal of NFP Consulting, which provides Board development, strategic planning and fund-raising services to charities and philanthropies. Through her consulting practice and in her guise as The Nonprofiteer, Kelly has spent the past 25-plus years helping small and mid-sized nonprofits organize themselves better and raise more money. These days she focuses especially on helping them use high-skill volunteers. Kelly is also a lawyer and freelance journalist whose reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Chicago Philanthropy; in the alternative press; on websites including the Huffington Post; and on the radio, including the BBC and WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She and her fellow "Dueling Critic" Jonathan Abarbanel present a weekly podcast of their reviews of Chicago theater at DuelingCritics.net. Earlier in her career she was dean of admissions of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and Executive Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and practiced real estate and zoning law with the firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Kelly holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. She was a founding Board member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits and also served for 5 years on the Board of the Association for Women Journalists–Chicago. She can be reached ("Dear Nonprofiteer . . .") at KellyNFP@yahoo.com.

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