Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Congratulations Class of 2008!

For 20 plus years I have been adjunct professor of philanthropic management at the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy at The New School University in New York. Next week my current group of 15 graduate students - having to my satisfaction completed case studies on existing or start up nonprofits - will graduate. We all began working together at the end of January this year and this required seminar is the only thing that stood between them and graduation.

Of course each year's class is unique and so was this one: 13 women, 2 men, one Thai one Canadian, 2 ex-Peace Corps women, one recovering lawyer, one Latino, one African American woman, one Floridian by way of Colombia and one Vietnamese-American and one Korean-American. The age range is from right out of college to early 40s. These people worked hard and with no little anxiety. They have been at this for three years in most cases and by now they just want to be done with it. Some are full time students, the others hold down jobs.

The subjects they explored included the Dominican Diaspora, the creation of an environmental social venture for profit/nonprofit, strategic and financial planning for under-resourced organizations, arts education in the schools, performance metrics and organizational structure and management. We learned from each other of course. But I learned more from them than they did from me.

As we know commencement exercises and blather go together. So I'll just limit myself to congratulations to each of you. Well done!

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