Philanthropic Investment for Community Impact

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The whole story »

A cartoonist by the name of Bil Keane famously said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift – that is why it is called the present.” Personally, I don’t think this is anywhere close to the whole story.

The Past

Failing to acknowledge the past means learning neither from the mistakes nor the great achievements of those who came before you. In the context of our course, this would have been detrimental to our efforts this year.

As it stands, we owe a great deal of our success to the ambitious and courageous group of five former MBA candidates who were the inaugural cohort (2016/17) of this course. And where are they now?

  • Nourhan A. El-Nagdy – Communications Assistant, UN Women
  • Andrew Galen – Director of Strategic Initiatives, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley
  • Zach LeaEnvironmental Resource Specialist at US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Kevin LiebsonFinance and Operations Manager at Catalina Island Museum
  • Daniel Rehm – Insights and Analytics Manager, Nike

Equally as valuable were the insights and connections passed down to us by last year’s cohort. (You can read about them in this blog post from the fall). The seven members of the 2017/18 cohort built upon the ideas and processes established by the first cohort, further guiding our approach to the grantmaking process from the beginning.

The Future

As with the past, failing to take consideration of the future would have been an equally grave mistake for us in this course. A lack of forethought regarding any sort of consequences to our actions would have been very counterintuitive as we sought to weigh every decision carefully based on the impact we hope our final group of grantees would have in the community.

It was with these future-oriented goals in mind that we were able to develop a robust process for objectively evaluating projects and programs throughout the year. We were careful and intentional, working to maximize our impact in the community in the short time we had to take advantage of the opportunity we were given.

Also with regards to the future, we have spent the past month reconciling the details about our process this year in hopes of providing next year’s cohort with a foundation that will contribute to their success. These students will surely share our passion for making an impact in the community, and we hope that our advice and collection of key documents will support them in that endeavor.

The Present

We truly seized each and every opportunity that this course presented to us, forging new relationships with community leaders, receiving a record-breaking number of applications, and deploying a system for evaluating and comparing applications that we all confidently stand by. We learned how to take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and I think we experienced what was meant by Dr. Seuss with regards to promoting societal change: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

As I think back on the year with respect to this course and our grantmaking process, I am so proud of all that we accomplished and so grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with the community in such a meaningful way. I am confident that each of the eight members of our cohort feel fulfilled professionally as a result of our accomplishments this year.

And to me, this is the “gift” that Keane is referring to with regards to the present moment; the opportunity to learn and the desire that lies within every person to achieve a sense of purpose outside of themselves. While I would, nevertheless, argue that the present is inseparable from the insights and expectations about the past and future. I think Keane and Dr. Seuss align when it comes to the need to seize the moment:

“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t, and believe everything happens for a reason. If you get the chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

The business of philanthropy »

Philanthropic Investment for Community Impact, the academic course behind the Willamette MBA Community Grant Program, began three years ago with a graduating cohort of just five students. In three short years, it has become a trademark experience for Willamette MBA students.

The Willamette MBA is unique in its emphasis on cross-sectoral thinking; even in this course involving not-for-profit management, we are encouraged to think about ways that the concepts we learn about can be applied across sectors. In addition, we are challenged to apply concepts traditionally reserved for private and public business to the context of our course. In other words, we identify and utilize best business practices to increase our success as grantmakers.

In reflecting upon the work we have done over the past nine months, there are a number of important principles of business that have proven to be invaluable. Succession planning, innovation, and return on investment have each had a distinct place within our grantmaking process this year.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is a  process for identifying and developing systems and candidates in preparation for periods of leadership transition. As the third cohort of the Willamette MBA Community Grant Program, the importance of succession planning was immediately apparent.

The foundation of our course was set by the cohorts of 2017 and 2018, which allowed us to build and expand our reach and overall impact this year. You can read more about last year’s cohort here, and our inaugural cohort will be introduced formally in next week’s blog.

Innovation

Innovation is the process of translating an idea into a good or service that creates value. The concept of innovation came into play in two different phases of our grantmaking process: Development and evaluation.

In the early stages of our course, we spent a great deal of time laying out our plans for the year ahead. This involved the development of our vision, mission, and values as well as a reinvention of the process we would utilize to systematically make decisions.

As we began to evaluate the applications we received at each step, we implemented robust criteria surrounding the way we compared each organization to ensure objectivity. We were proud of the new systems we came up with that guided our decision making throughout the year.

Return on Investment

Return on investment (ROI) is a measurement of the gain or loss resulting from an investment when compared to its total cost. While it may sound strange, we placed a great deal of emphasis on determining how to calculate an ROI of the awards from previous years and predict the possible ROI of the awards we planned to give out this year. In our case, the return we were seeking was measured through community impact, rather than direct financial return to our program.

To measure impact over time, a dollar value estimate of every outcome is required. In following up with the grantees from both 2017 and 2018, there has been a great deal of thought put into how to estimate the monetary value of the impact made by the grants awarded by the two cohorts that preceded us. While the metrics of success for some projects make this quantification more straightforward, a lot of creativity is required to determine the ROI for most organizations.

Conclusion

While it may not be apparent at first glance, the overlap and interconnectivity between the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors is actually quite large. This post provides only a few examples of the ways in which the thought processes traditionally reserved for “real business” are directly applicable in the not-for-profit space.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

What’s in a Grantee? »

Many things are coming to a close as we near the end of our academic year and prepare to transition our advice and lessons learned to next year’s cohort. But there are still a number of loose ends that need to be tied up before we graduate, starting with the culmination of our grant cycle this year.

If you have been keeping up with these (nearly) weekly posts, you know that we hosted our award ceremony on Friday, April 12 to celebrate this year’s grantees and thank all those who have helped us throughout our year-long grant-making process. Below is a list of the 2019 grantees and the funding they received, and more information about the event and these organizations can be found in cohort member Bryan Martz’ press release, published on our website on Monday.

In addition to wrapping up our funding decisions for the year, we have simultaneously been working over the last month to reconnect with the grantees of the cohorts that came before us. We had the opportunity to do six-month and one-year follow-ups with last year’s grantees to assess their progress regarding the use and initial impact of the funding they received from our predecessors. Two members of our cohort were assigned to follow up with each of the five organizations:

Though we did not directly connect with folks from the grantees of the 2017 cohort, we have been tracking their progress in hopes of noting longer-term outcomes that relate to our program’s funding decisions. Below is a list of the organizations selected by the inaugural cohort:

Because the members of each cohort have nearly complete autonomy over the funding areas and types of projects and programs they select, there are several notable differences between previous years’ cohorts and our own. The same $150,000 donation from Mountain West Investment Corporation each year has been applied in a variety of ways over the past three years:

  • 2019: Nine grantees with an average funding amount of $16,700.
  • 2018: Five grantees with an average funding amount of $29,400
  • 2017: 11 grantees with an average funding amount of $13,640

The portfolio of projects and programs selected for funding each year as well as the grant-making process utilized truly reflect the individual preferences and passions of the members of that year’s cohort – something that makes this course such a unique and incredible opportunity for students. It has been a great learning experience for us to compare and contrast our funding decisions to that of the cohorts that came before us, and we are working to pass on our findings regarding the differences in decision making and outcomes to future cohorts (stay tuned for a future blog on these topics).


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

This Week: Award Ceremony »

This Friday, our cohort will host our award ceremony at which we will recognize the nine organizations selected for funding this year. We expect over 60 guests to attend, including representatives from each of our nine final grantees; Willamette University faculty, staff, and students; and leaders from the not-for-profit community of the Mid-Willamette Valley.

We look forward to this event as an opportunity to thank those who helped our cohort throughout the year and to celebrate the year of work and accomplishment. Most importantly,  this event will provide the opportunity for all of our attendees to form connections that will fuel future collaboration in our community.

Leading the event will be cohort member Ryan Tokeshi, also the subject of this week’s blog feature. A dual-degree student, Tokeshi brings an academic perspective to class debates and is a true pleasure to work with. Read below for more details about Tokeshi’s past experience in the not-for-profit sector and how the learnings of this course have shaped his future aspirations:

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired you to be a part of this course and become involved in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector?

Tokeshi: The vast majority of my job experience has been with not-for-profit organizations. I have always been inspired by the communities that rally around nonprofits, but the Salem community has blown away all of my previous experiences. Coming from Los Angeles, I have never experienced the amount of dedication or sense of family between these organizations and the communities they serve. Wanting to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of the not-for-profit community, and about the process of grant giving inspired me to be a part of this course. My previous experience has been on the grant-receiving end and I think this experience is extremely important for working within the sector because, at least for me, it has helped me gain a more holistic understanding of the process.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Tokeshi: I have not had the opportunity to give back to the community as much as I would have liked during my time at Willamette. However, my internship last summer was with a not-for-profit organization and I have had a lot of experience from my time living in Los Angeles working closely with other nonprofits. I had several jobs in the not-for-profit sector, specifically within the Japanese American community, and I felt I had a lot of impact there.

Gable: How do you see yourself in the not-for-profit sector once you graduate from the Willamette MBA program?

Tokeshi: I definitely intend to reconnect with the not-for-profit sector once I move back to Los Angeles. The organizations I have been a part of there differ from those in Salem in that they tend to have a larger population of people needing services, but less community support for the work they are doing. I do not see myself as the head of a not-for-profit or something similar, but I do enjoy giving back to the community and I anticipate returning to Los Angeles to help provide even more opportunities than I had to the kids growing up in communities and situations similar to mine.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

The Final Push »

April 3, 2019, just six weeks away from our final day of classes. It is hard to believe how fast this semester has flown by and even harder to believe that each of us will graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration in less than two months. Feeling refreshed after Spring Break last week, there is one final push needed to finish off our year of hard work as this year’s Willamette MBA Community Grant Program.

Keeping us in check and on time is none other than our beloved instructor, Nicole Thibodeau. A finance guru through years of work in the industry, Thibodeau believes in a cross-sectoral approach to grantmaking — she encourages students to judge the financial health and leadership of an organization by the same standard we would as investors in the private sector. Read below for more details about how she got involved in this course and the source of her passion for the work we do.

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired your desire to be a part of this course and involved in the not-for-profit sector?

Thibodeau: A few years ago, Debra Ringold conveyed to me her plan and vision as the Dean at that time for a consequential course to develop leadership in the not-for-profit sector. Simultaneously, I became increasingly sensitive to the financial challenges of the sector and the need for strong financial leadership. After some years of preparation and with the support of the Atkinson faculty and Mountain West Investment Corporation, I joined forces with Ron Hays, Executive Director of United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, to launch the year-long course, Philanthropic Investment for Community Impact (formerly Grant Administration: Concept to Consequence), in the Fall of 2016.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Thibodeau: Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I have consistently been involved as a volunteer and/or board member for one or a few different local organizations. I gravitate towards those organizations that have a cause as well as a team of people I truly believe in. In the past, I was an avid volunteer for Mercy Corps Northwest. Currently, I advise the financial team as a board member and partner at Social Venture Partners Portland. I also serve on the board of the Institute of Management Accountants of Portland.

Gable: What do you like most about your role as an instructor for this course?

Thibodeau: This is the most challenging but also the most rewarding course I have taught in more than 30 years as a university instructor. I really enjoy the opportunity to rope together my desire to make an impact in the community with my expertise in the world of finance. The transformational learning that occurs for every student in this course is multidimensional, albeit not immediately realized. However, the growth I am able to observe as the instructor is unparalleled to any other course I have taught, and students leave the class with transferable skills to lead or oversee an organization in any industry or sector. The year-long nature of the course allows me to form true, long-lasting relationships with my students and provides the platform for a true sense of “completion” at the end of the course.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

 

What makes a “good” advisory board? »

On Friday of last week, we hosted our advisory board for the second time this year. During each two-hour meeting, we had the opportunity to hear the perspectives of a variety of not-for-profit professionals with regards to our processes of evaluation and selection.

Our board is particularly diverse with regards to both the industry in which they work and the roles they hold within the not-for-profit sector (read more about them here). This means that we are able to solicit feedback on a wide range of topics and ideas, each of which highlights the expertise of a different advisory board member.

2018/19 cohort and advisory board.

This diversity of thought and experience is only one of many characteristics of our advisory board that contributes to its overall effectiveness, and we are very grateful to them for being willing to give us honest and thorough feedback. The relevant experience each of them has working within the not-for-profit sector compensates for our cohort’s relative lack of experience. Additionally, each advisory board member’s passion for the sector and the work we are doing serves as motivation for us to do the highest quality work.

As we reflect on the comments and suggestions made by our advisory board and document relevant considerations for next year’s cohort, we are looking ahead to Spring Break and, soon after, graduation. Many of us have not yet secured the inevitable J-O-B, but it seems all eight of us have been heavily influenced by our experiences in this course.

Cohort member Jared Spohr is one of many to declare his interests in continuing his involvement in the not-for-profit sector following completion of this course. To read more about Spohr’s past and hopeful future work within the not-for-profit sector, refer to his interview below:

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired your desire to be a part of this course and involved in the not-for-profit sector?

Spohr: I’ve always wanted to get involved in the nonprofit sector in some capacity, and I saw this class as an excellent opportunity to give back to the community. Additionally, I saw this class as an opportunity to really add value to my MBA. While many of the classes I’ve taken are great learning, I saw this class as an opportunity to branch out by getting real-world experience.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Spohr: Outside of this class, I love volunteering and helping coach my brother’s baseball teams in Elk Grove, California. It gives me an opportunity to help younger players while enjoying the sport I love most.

Gable: What do you intend to be your interaction with the not-for-profit sector to be once you graduate from the Willamette MBA program?

Spohr: Although I don’t have aspirations to work in the nonprofit sector, I want to stay involved and volunteer for a local nonprofit organization wherever I end up. After taking this class, I’ve realized that I want to get more involved than I have been in the past, because nonprofits do amazing work and welcome all the extra help they can get.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

What we know about impact »

To our cohort, “impact” refers to the degree to which an organization catalyzes or extends the positive social change that results from its projects/programs. Over the past few weeks, we have tried to come up with the most objective way to compare and contrast grant applications through a variety of lenses, including financial stability, leadership strength, and alignment with our cohort mission, vision, and values. And what we have learned for certain about measuring potential and actual impact is that it is very challenging.

We have collected enough data to paint a clear picture of the health and general status of each organization, including its leadership and financial standing, that submitted an application. We have also gathered enough information about each project and program to assess its potential for impact. However, the tricky part is that these two components of our overall assessment seemed to conflict with each other more often than we had initially expected.

For example, some of the most reputable organizations with the largest scale projects in our applicant pool had shockingly poor financial health or submitted projects that did not align with their core competencies. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the most inspiring projects were not supported by organizations with a long track record or stable financial health. And while many organizations fit within one of these two extremes, many others impressed us by outdoing our expectations of their performance in both the financial health and the potential impact of their project or program.

With all of this to consider, we were lucky to have cohort member Colin Rice step up and take the lead on the process of narrowing down our applicant pool. He is acutely aware of this phenomenon; with each piece of conflicting evidence, decision making becomes exponentially more difficult. As we have worked through our decisions over the past couple of weeks, Mr. Rice has had the opportunity to reflect on his time in this course and his relationship with the NFP sector as a whole:

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired you to be a part of this course and become involved in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector?

Rice: This past summer, I worked as a strategic planning intern for the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. My project was built around surveying Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties to assess the philanthropic climate in the area. It was through this project that my eyes were really opened to how great the need was in our community and how many fantastic organizations are in need of help to accomplish their mission. I realized that this class would provide me an opportunity to learn even more about the needs of our community while also being instrumental in giving several organizations much needed support to improve their projects or programs.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Rice: The biggest way I enjoy giving back to my community is through my involvement in Alpha Phi Omega (APO). APO is a co-ed, national service fraternity with chapters on almost 400 college campuses in the US. I often go back to my home chapter at the University of Oregon to help them with a variety of projects that work with organizations focused on nature preservation, homeless support, and childhood education. I recently took on a role advising around 20 different chapters on the West Coast. This allows me to help see the service needs in so many different and diverse communities. That perspective has really helped me develop my passion for giving back and working to make my own community stronger.

Gable: How do you see yourself in the not-for-profit sector once you graduate from the Willamette MBA program?

Rice: After I graduate from Willamette, I intend to be involved in the not-for-profit sector for the rest of my life. In the short term, I envision myself providing hands-on help by volunteering at events or providing resources to help with operations and programming. I would love to find an organization that I am passionate about and lend my knowledge and experience by serving on its board.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

No Emotional Decision Making »

With just days left to prepare our final decisions to present to our Advisory Board next week, we are working quickly as a cohort to compile the most comprehensive review of each of the 16 applicants still under consideration. The requests of these 16 total to just over $300k, double our capacity for awards this year.

We meet weekly for three hours; last week and this week’s sessions were set aside solely for deliberations and decisions. And despite our best efforts to create an objective process for review, we are a cohort made up of eight very passionate students – a recipe for emotionally charged conversations.

Though challenging to come to a consensus, our diverse perspectives are our greatest asset. This week’s blog features Bryan Martz, whose priority is mediation and compromise, providing a sense of calm as we engage in these challenging conversations. To learn more about Martz and his personal connections to this course and to the Salem community, see below.

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired your desire to be a part of this course and involved in the not-for-profit sector?

Martz: Growing up in Salem, I attended public schools that were very diverse. As I progressed through school, I quickly realized that I had friends and classmates facing some pretty significant challenges. I also learned that giving these students the tools to succeed allowed them to do incredible things. Two of my close friends became first-generation 

college students because they had the necessary resources and support to do so. They each received full-ride scholarships to college and proceeded to graduate with honors.

At the same time, I had many peers who needed support and never received it. This was an example of the existing need in Salem for community resources that supported children and families. The not-for-profit sector serves as an important middleman, identifying and executing changes that are so clearly needed within my community. I wanted to be in this course to provide support to not-for-profit organizations that will be the difference in helping someone overcome a significant life challenge and realize their full potential, thus making a direct impact in the community I grew up in. It’s been a blessing to explore these community needs and support these organizations that fulfill a critically important role in the local community.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Martz: I enjoy volunteering for organizations that help children reach their full potential. In the past, I coached football at a local high school. I also enjoy working with people with disabilities and previously assisted with a swim program that serves as a physical education alternative for students in special education.

Gable: What do you intend to be your interaction with the not-for-profit sector to be once you graduate from the Willamette MBA program?

Martz: If I am not working in the not-for-profit sector, I hope to be volunteering for and giving actively to the not-for-profit sector. Even if I don’t end up working directly for a not-for-profit, I want to be working for an organization that makes a social impact and improves the lives of others.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

Reality Check »

We have been told that our Request for Proposals (RFP) was more extensive and comprehensive than those of some local Foundations. In many ways, we find this to be a good thing because we know we have given ourselves every opportunity to equitably compare each and every applicant and their respective projects/programs.

In addition to the extensive details we’ve poured over on paper, we also feel strongly about the due diligence required to fully understand a given applicant’s project/program and the context in which it operates. That is why we have spent the past two weeks visiting the organizations’ sites for 60 to 90 minutes.

To accommodate our busy student schedules, we did not have an official class meeting last week. This meant more time for reflection on each of our site visits and for this blog’s featured guest, Ikaika Hall, to provide some insights regarding his motivation for being a part of this course:

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired you to be a part of this course and become involved in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector?

Hall: I have been involved with not-for-profit organizations since I was in grade school, and remained engaged as a volunteer throughout my middle and high school career. In grade school, I often participated in weekend beach cleanups and food kitchen service days. In high school, I volunteered for the Janet Pomeroy Center in San Francisco, an organization that serves individuals with intellectual disabilities, working one summer with adults and one with youth. This experience paved my interest in the Grant Administration class.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Hall: I enjoy giving back through volunteer work in the community. Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in volunteer work through my fraternity as an undergraduate student at Willamette.

Gable: How do you see yourself in the not-for-profit sector once you graduate from the Willamette MBA program?

Hall: I hope to become involved with a nonprofit after Willamette MBA, whether that be as a volunteer or board member. Now that I have an understanding of the business side of the nonprofit sector, I would love to utilize my education to further the development of nonprofit organizations in the area I choose to live after graduation.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.

Crunching the Numbers »

Over the past week, much of our time has been spent behind computer screens, evaluating the financial data we have gathered on each of the organizations that have submitted a full Proposal. Public Service Announcement: Guidestar.org makes this level of analysis accessible and understandable to everyone!

The student leader on these efforts (and this week’s blog feature) is cohort member, Sara Goetze. Entering the program with a vision to incorporate financial analysis with work in the not-for-profit sector, Goetze has put in the extra effort to understand the nuances of the finance function.

Gable: What are some key events in the past that inspired you to be a part of this course and become involved in the not-for-profit sector?

Goetze: I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where philanthropy was discussed over the dinner table. My stepfather is a retired United Methodist minister and often talked about the work being done through the church as well as in the wider community. Growing up, it was always expected that we would volunteer our time, offer our talents, and give our treasures. When I was in college, my mom and I launched our Donor Advised Fund with the encouragement and support of our family. The openness in the conversations surrounding our goals for impact in the community has shaped the way I look at philanthropy.

Gable: Outside of this course, how do you enjoy giving back to the community?

Goetze: I give back to the community both by attending not-for-profit (NFP) events in Eugene and Portland with my family and by continuing to grow in my job with the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. In addition, my mom and I continue to operate our fund annually. I have established my priorities as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for girls and childhood grief. Over the past four years, we have awarded over $6,000 of grants to nine organizations in Oregon and one in Pennsylvania. It is a rewarding experience discovering new not-for-profits making a difference in the areas we are passionate about.

Gable: How do you see yourself in the not-for-profit sector once you graduate from the Willamette MBA program?

Goetze: I want to be in the not-for-profit sector working on financial management and leadership. I am not sure if this is going to be my first career or my second career but I know that it is something I am interested in pursuing. If I choose to make not-for-profit work my second career, then I will volunteer with not-for-profits or be on a board in the interim. I do intend to continue working with my mom on our fund, using this as a way to extend my philanthropic impact rather than substitute for it. My family had always talked about time, treasure and talents, but to see these different gifts in practice has shown me that no matter what, I could make a difference.


Tynan Gable is a second-year MBA candidate at AGSM. She came to the program as a continuation of her undergraduate studies at Willamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, taking advantage of the 3/2 BA/MBA opportunity the university offers. Her concentration is a combination of entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to own her own business one day and she is sure that she will be very involved in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer and philanthropist.

She chose to enroll in Grant Administration to further her understanding of the needs of the nonprofit sector. She is excited about learning to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s leadership and financial status, two key indicators of the sustainability of an organization. In addition, she hopes to establish relationships with the nonprofit community here in Salem so that she may continue to contribute in a meaningful way long after graduating from AGSM.