Non-profits benefit from Leadership Academy thanks to HFL

Non-profits benefit from Leadership Academy thanks to HFL
By: Stacey Kellogg Last Updated: June 6, 2019

One of the first tasks the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) tackled after it was officially formed in 2016 was to take a 30,000-foot view of the charitable organization landscape in La Porte County. Before the HFL could be sure they were planning grants where they would have the most impact, they first needed to know: how many not-for-profits do we have in our communities, what are they trying to influence, and how is that working?

They opened their doors for months of individual meetings with dozens of charitable organizations who serve the community, and what they learned is that there was significant capacity to strengthen these organizations so their resources could be used to the max.

From those meetings was born the Nonprofit Leadership Academy in La Porte County – a Healthy Partners initiative made possible with HFL funding, using curriculum and facilitation from Indiana University’s Executive Education Department at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The competency courses cover areas of expertise vital for non-profit leadership and are led by experienced practitioners to facilitate effective application learning methods.

The 2019 cohort comprises individuals from 25 non-profit organizations serving the county, and the 2018 class included 23.

The Why

The HFL recognizes that nonprofit organizations exist to bring positive changes to people and communities. But by their nature, most nonprofits operate with constraints related to budgets, staffing, and the ability to build capacity. Many times, due to both limited time and finances, nonprofit organizations focus on responding to community needs rather than assessing educational opportunities that would enable them to provide services with a more effective impact. The Nonprofit Leadership Academy seeks to fulfill that need, so nonprofits in La Porte County can focus on building the capacity to fulfill their missions.

The Program

Participants in the Nonprofit Leadership Academy commit to a series of two-day courses and receive a certificate of completion from Indiana University after attending all the courses. They cover topics such as: Nonprofit Management in the 21st Century; Strategic and Operational Planning, Fundraising, Finance and Marketing and Communication, and Results-Based Accountability. Each course takes two consecutive days to complete and a pre-program assessment is required to determine the participants’ base level of knowledge in nonprofit management and leadership.

The 2019 Stacey Garcelon, Anam Cara Stables; Brandi Lewis, Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City, Inc.; Christopher Taelman, Center for Hospice Care/Hospice Foundation; Jim Musial, Citizens Concerned for the Homeless, Inc.; Gabrielle Ginther, Dunebrook, Inc.; Maggie Fritzen and Karen Biernacki, Family Advocates; Connor Podkul, Friendship Botanic Gardens; April Currier, HealthLinc, Inc.; Edward Seal, Home Team of La Porte County; Jordan Stanfill, Housing Opportunities; Mario Rosa, La Porte Community School Corporation Schools; Shannon Walker, La Porte County Family YMCA; Cheryl Daurer, LaPorte County Meals on Wheels; Jeremy Sobecki; LaPorte County Park Foundation; Monica Komasinski, Leadership La Porte County; Ashley Robbins, New Prairie Education Foundation; Erin Mooneyhan, Paladin; Dorota Janik, Reins of Life; Andrea Huntington, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Inc.; Ephphatha Malden, Swanson Center; Debbie L Sellers, The Social and Learning Institute; Maria Galka, Visiting Nurse Association of NWI; Jackie Dermody, We Connect, Inc.; and Daniela E. “Sonshine” Troche, Worthy Women Recovery Home.

For more information about applying for the next cohort, visit the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte online at or email