Dr. Brian P. Roy (LNH 2015) Director, Information Technology – EMC Corporation
Our session day began in typical fashion; 8:30AM, gathering, charging the mind and soul with some coffee and breakfast treats. The location was at the Community Campus in Portsmouth NH, a wonderful example of a collaborative environment that housed many nonprofits that provide many needed services to the community. This particular day was day two of a two day bender that provided us with key issues and topics on the NH Economy and its Economic Advantage (day one) and day two was a deep dive into the world of NH nonprofits. For those of us who didn’t know, the term “Non-Profit” was coined back in 1945 by non-other than the IRS and Harvard University was the first documented Non-Profit established in 1636, some good trivia for those of us like to try and stump our friends but also teach them something new.
Mary Ellen Jackson (LNH ’06) who is the Executive Director of the NH Center for Nonprofits was there to help the group understand many of the key factors that make up the nonprofit sector in NH. Such as the fact that NH’s nonprofits contribute over $9.1 billion to the States GDP on an annual basis and the sector employs a little over 102,000 NH residents. That’s compared to the government sector which contributes $6.3 billion on an annual basis and employs roughly 90,000 residents and the business sector that contributes $44.8 billion and employs just shy of 500,000 residents. Non-Profits are indeed a large and important factor to NH’s Economy and some might argue to its Economic Advantage.
Collaboration not only takes place between nonprofit agencies, but also between nonprofit agencies and NH Government agencies. There are 165 nonprofits that contract with the State of NH to provide human and community services, which is out of a total of 8,401 registered nonprofits in NH. It was discussed during the day that it may be beneficial to the sector as a whole if some organizations that have overlapping services consider potentially merging with other organizations in order to become more efficient and gain economies of scale. Such an idea is an interesting concept and to this participant is worthy of future research to flush out the pros and cons of doing such an action.
The day was also filled with a deeper understanding of the Collaborative Model that the Community Campus operates under and the advantages and challenges of operating under such a model. There was a wonderful tour that the associates were able to take part of and it was very informative to learn about the various agencies that operated at the campus. One tidbit was the fact that the missing ceiling tiles that one observes as they walk through the campus are missing for a purpose. They are supposed to spark the natural curiosity of the children that frequent the campus and allow for teachable moments on a variation of topics.
The day ended with detailed report outs from the three teams that took part in formulating recommendations for the Zebra Crossings agency. The three groups were broken out by focusing on the following: Group A – Board of Directors / Human Resources, Group B – Marketing and Outreach and Group C – Funding. By all accounts the report outs by the groups were done very professionally and the topics provided were key and to the point and should provide Zebra Crossings with some consulting material that they can leverage as they take the next steps to growth, sustainability and better servicing of the clients that utilize the services they provide.
There were so many topics that were discussed during the day that this blog could go on for many more pages. However, what I tried to provide was a quick summary of the major topics that were covered and some of the key points that should be documented for readers in order to inform and spark future thought and research on the nonprofit sector in NH.