SOM starts new nonprofit research center

Since 1978, the status of Yale’s Program on Nonprofit Organizations has fluctuated between that of a thriving enterprise and a struggling institution. Now, the School of Management will take over the program with the creation of a Nonprofit Management Center.

SOM professor Sharon Oster and SOM Deputy Dean Stan Garstka will direct the new research center, which is slated to open in the near future. The SOM, which has been recognized in the past for its commitment to the nonprofit sector, will now conduct the work and research formerly done by the Program on Nonprofit Organizations, or PONPO.

“It seemed a natural match to move PONPO to the School of Management,” Oster said.

Until the summer, PONPO — which formerly concentrated on faith-based initiatives — was housed at the Yale Divinity School. But with PONPO now under the auspices of the SOM, Oster said the Nonprofit Management Center will focus on a broader variety of institutions in the nonprofit area, including international organizations.

The creation of the Nonprofit Management Center will reinforce the SOM’s history of commitment to nonprofit ventures, Oster said. For the past nine years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the SOM as the top school for nonprofit management.

“[The SOM] has always had a very broad mission to stimulate development and provide opportunities for research in the nonprofit area,” Oster said.

Although the center has not officially opened, Oster is already coordinating a business competition under its auspices for students, alumni and faculty. Using part of the $4.5 million in grants it received from The Goldman Sachs Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts last year, the SOM will award money to help launch business ventures to assist philanthropic organizations in generating outside revenue.

Many SOM students already interested in the nonprofit sector said they are pleased with Oster’s involvement in the school’s nonprofit ventures.

“The nonprofit community has received the competition very well,” Laurie Geronimo SOM ’03 said. Geronimo is a coordinator of Double Bottom Line, a student organization devoted to business and social ventures.

“Our MBA program is committed to developing leaders for business and society,” Geronimo said. “The skills we learn are not mutually exclusive between the nonprofit and private sectors, but are transferable across multiple industries.”

Geronimo added that she hopes the Nonprofit Management Center will continue to strengthen the SOM’s current position as a leader in education and research in the nonprofit sector.

In continuing to emphasize the relationship between the private and public sectors, the SOM will sponsor the sixth annual “Blending Sectors” reception tomorrow at the Yale Club of New York City. At the event, speakers will address issues including public finance, health care and community development.

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