Posted by Kara Kennedy on 2009-12-17

Samford University and the Alabama Association of Nonprofits (formerly the Nonprofit Resource Center of Alabama) have entered into a formal agreement as part of the association's renewed commitment to establishing a statewide, member-driven association representing the more than 19,000 nonprofit organizations in Alabama.

Association priorities include better professional development opportunities, stronger member benefits and group buying power and greater advocacy of sector issues.

The changes are expected to enhance services to association members and create a unified voice for the state’s nonprofit sector.

According to Samford President Andrew Westmoreland, the association’s mission aligns directly with that of Samford.  The Association’s offices are being housed in Samford’s Brock School of Business, which is very fitting at this time because the school established the Social Entrepreneurship major two years ago which focuses on businesses and nonprofits that are socially responsible and mission driven, Westmoreland added.   Students majoring in social entrepreneurship learn first-hand how to manage a nonprofit like a business.  

“The faculty and students of the Brock School are extremely excited by this innovative partnership with the association," said Dr. Beck Taylor, Dean of Samford's Brock School of Business. "Collaboration between the state’s nonprofit organizations and our faculty and students will bring renewed excitement and a greater level of service to the nonprofit sector. We at Samford also look forward to working with other institutions of higher learning throughout the state to bring new resources to the nonprofit sector."

The Association also announced today the formation of a statewide consortium of leading colleges and universities dedicated to strengthening the nonprofit sector. Partners initially committed include Samford and the University of Alabama. Other higher education institutions around the state have also been approached about joining the consortium.

The consortium of higher education experts representing diverse fields will work together to form stronger professional development tracks for members, generate ongoing research and economic study regarding the nonprofit sector and serve as a vehicle by which Association members can gain certification in core competencies needed to excel in the sector. The Alabama Association of Nonprofits will develop internship and educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students of its participating higher education partners.

“Today’s announcement signals the beginning of a new era for Alabama’s nonprofit sector,” said John Stone, announced today as the new President and CEO of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits. “Our academic partners, led by our innovative partnership with Samford University and strong interest from the University of Alabama, are committed to providing world-class professional development, research and recruitment services at a level few other states can boast of,” Stone said. “At the same time, we also now have – for the first time ever – a strong, unified voice to promote our sector, just like our corporate colleagues have had for many years.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.