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Four Area Nonprofit Professionals Awarded Scholarships to Pursue Executive Leadesrhip Certification

North Central Health Services (NCHS) and the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette have selected the first class of NCHS Nonprofit Executive Development Initiative scholarship recipients. The initiative will fund their enrollment in the IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Nonprofit Executive Leadership Certification Program.

Despite the fact nonprofit professionals are the primary asset driving performance in the social services sector, studies show that in the past decade, just 1% of philanthropic grants awarded in the United States were designated to develop nonprofit talent.  Yet in a growing and increasingly complex social services sector, nonprofit organizations need highly skilled executives not only to direct and sustain operations, but also to provide strategic leadership to advance social change.

In 2010, NCHS partnered with the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette to establish the Douglas W. Eberle Board Governance Series to educate nonprofit board volunteers. The two organizations are now partnering again to develop nonprofit talent through the NCHS Nonprofit Executive Development Initiative. Through this grant program, NCHS will fully fund the cost of tuition for four local nonprofit professionals to complete the IUPUI Nonprofit Executive Leadership Certification Program in 2017.

The certificate program is jointly presented by the Indiana University School of Public Affairs, currently ranked the number-one public affairs school in the country, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, an international leader in philanthropy education and research. Nonprofit executives travel from as far as Australia to complete the schools’ well-regarded leadership program. Courses focus on financial analysis, leadership and management, program evaluation for mission impact, and strategic planning.

Current nonprofit executives and emerging nonprofit leaders were encouraged to apply. Selection criteria included demonstrated commitment to the NCHS service area, commitment to serving vulnerable populations, and experience and record of accomplishment within the nonprofit sector. The following nonprofit professionals were selected for the NCHS Nonprofit Leadership Development Initiative 2017 class:

Katy Bunder
President & Chief Executive Officer, Food Finders Food Bank
Food Finders Food Bank provides food to member agencies, advocates for the hungry, and addresses the root causes of food insecurity.

Jen Bushore-Barry
Executive Director, Heartford House
Heartford House advocates for children who are potentially a witness to or victim of a crime, physical abuse, or neglect.

Kier Crites Scherger
Chief Operating Officer, Food Finders Food Bank
Food Finders Food Bank provides food to member agencies, advocates for the hungry, and addresses the root causes of food insecurity.

Cassie Wade
Clinical Services Director, Bauer Family Resources 
Bauer Family Resources works to strengthen children and families through services such as early care and education, counseling, and youth development programming.

The NCHS Nonprofit Executive Development Initiative is aimed at building a critical mass of effective local leaders to improve the ability of the sector to create positive impact in the NCHS service area. “This first class of awardees is an excellent mix of current and emerging leaders. The scholarships serve to meet the NCHS goal of helping area nonprofits build leadership capacity and develop a talent pool of qualified future leaders,” said NCHS Grants Board Chair, Ed Eiler.

NCHS also sees potential for the grant program to foster collaboration among recipients and their organizations long term. “Sending local nonprofit leaders through the certification program together creates opportunities to develop relationships between organizations working in the same region – relationships which could someday lead to cross-organizational partnerships,” said NCHS CEO/President, Stephanie Long. The program will also provide awardees access to a network of professionals from all over the country committed to becoming more effective leaders.

To advance its mission to develop healthy communities, NCHS believes the new grant program will build the capacity of nonprofit leaders, their organizations, and the constituents who receive assistance from their organizations. Nonprofit leaders interested in the 2018 program should watch the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette website next fall for application information.

About NCHS

North Central Health Services (NCHS) has a primary responsibility to operate River Bend Hospital, a private inpatient psychiatric hospital licensed and certified by the Indiana FSSA Division of Mental Health and Addiction. NCHS also is a grantmaking organization providing primarily capital grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that share the NCHS commitment to health and the development of healthy communities in  Benton, Carroll, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Warren, and White counties.


The Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, established in 1970, serves the Tippecanoe County area.  Its mission is to inspire, nurture, and practice philanthropy, stewardship, and leadership in the communities served.