Reflecting to Look Forward

3 minute read

Jeanne Tedrow, Retired President & CEO, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits

With 2024 upon us, we are looking forward to many new and exciting opportunities. A significant event is our change in leadership. I will retire at the end of February and Ivan Canada will step in to succeed me as President and Chief Executive Officer. The Center has long stated that these executive transitions are inevitable, and the key to all our organizations’ long-term success and sustainability is in how we approach them.  

The Center is well-prepared for this change through our past year’s work on executive transition. Partnering with Onward Consulting and fully engaging our own board and staff, we fine-tuned and implemented our succession plan and process, and worked together to identify our next leader.   

Throughout 2023, the Center also continued its recovery from the pandemic, adapted to a hybrid work environment, and experienced personnel changes while successfully developing and managing new capacity building programs, and promoting and advocating for nonprofits across the state. Like so many other organizations, we have not had the luxury of sitting still in the face of constant change. We embraced the challenges before us as we adapted. We worked as a team and, as a result, we are stronger and more resilient.

As we look back, it can feel as though the prior year simply rushed by in a blur. This is why it can be helpful to take a few minutes at the beginning of each new year to reflect on and share challenges and achievements. A few of the Center’s 2023 highlights:

  • The year began with a series of Nonprofit Policy Conversations at locations around the state, giving nonprofit leaders and legislators the opportunity to meet in-person and discuss federal and state policy challenges and opportunities.
  • We completed a pilot learning program, NC Nonprofit Policy Advocacy Academy, with group sessions and 1-on-1 consulting that helped a small cohort of nonprofits create workplans to advocate more effectively for their own missions.
  • David Heinen, the Center’s Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy, worked with state legislators and the Governor’s Office to enact the law to modernize NC state charitable solicitation laws.  
  • Our bi-annual Nonprofit Management Institute Program sold out both cohorts of nonprofit leaders who assessed their management and operations to identify and implement more effective and equitable management practices. The signature series returns this spring – register early, those seats fill quickly!
  • The EDI Executive Roundtables for Nonprofit Executives brought nonprofit professionals together to learn and share how equity, diversity, and inclusion can be embedded in organizational practices and culture. Registration for the February 2024 series is open!
  • During the same time, a new program was introduced to bring together white and Persons of Color leaders to “caucus” in brave conversations regarding systemic biases and how to become anti-racist change agents. The Center continues to evolve this program to meet the changing needs of our sector to understand and adapt to the dynamic social and political environment.
  • Our capacity building work expanded through foundation support, with the opportunity for twenty nonprofit grantees to participate in Center Managed Solutions (CMS 1.0). As part of this program, organizations completed an online assessment of organizational capacity, worked with a coach to develop a workplan, and began an implementation strategy. Through our work on CMS 1.0, we have learned of the need for back office and fractional professional services and are working with funders to identify the ways and means to fill this gap. Stay tuned for updates in 2024!
  • Last fall, we were excited to host our statewide conference in Winston Salem where nonprofit leaders enjoyed being together, learning together, networking, and having some fun! Our keynote speaker, Donna Murray Brown, Vice President of Strategy and Development from the National Council of Nonprofits, shared her wisdom on building your team.
  • Always adapting to meet the needs of our membership, we launched a new membership structure making it possible for member nonprofits to nominate and vote for the Center’s Board of Directors. We also held our first Annual Member Meeting with over 316 organizations participating. 
  • We explored group memberships to encourage nonprofits that share an affiliation with another association to have reduced member dues. The Center continues to strengthen its member benefits programs through our Pro Bono consulting programs and money saving partnerships with businesses that serve nonprofits.
  • During the past year, the Center focused on its website update – no small challenge! As many others know, upgrading the organization’s website can be a daunting experience. We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labor when we launch in early 2024.
  • The Center continued to build its bench and strengthen its team. We were pleased to hire Kim Neustrom as Director of Sustainability. We recognized Tracy Careyette, Chief Financial & Operations Officer, who celebrated 25 years of service to the Center, and Caroline McDowell, Marketing & Communications Manager, for 15 years, each of whom received a month-long sabbatical in gratitude for their service.

As we move into the new year, we look forward to embracing new challenges and recommitting to the Center’s mission to educate, connect, and advocate for North Carolina nonprofits. Working together with mission-driven nonprofits across the state, we will continue to make a difference in our communities and achieve uncommon results.

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