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!