School Launches Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership Program

Media Contact: Mark Batten, Office of Communications

Wake Forest University School of Divinity welcomed its first cohort of students into its new Certificate in Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership program at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center this fall.  This new professional development initiative is for staff and board members of faith-based nonprofit organizations and for those who may be interested in starting a nonprofit. The initiative serves the unique needs of faith-based nonprofit organizations that must meet the demands of operating a successful nonprofit while reflecting the values of a faith tradition.  The program is designed to strengthen the capacity and build the skills and knowledge of clergy and lay religious leaders pursuing ministry in the nonprofit sector, and draws on the expertise and knowledge of faculty at the Wake Forest University Schools of Divinity and Law, and takes advantage of the great facilities at the Wake Forest Charlotte Center.    

“We are excited to start this new program in Charlotte,” said Gail R. O’Day, dean of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity.  “As a school, our mission is to educate leaders who will be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian ministries, and through this program we are fulfilling our mission for faith-based nonprofit leaders.  Faith-based nonprofits bring ministry into a wide range of community settings to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

In addition to exploring concrete skills of nonprofit leadership, the program brings a theological lens to the challenges and opportunities of ministry in nonprofit organizations.  Four weekend intensive sessions plus three four-hour sessions from the Business Essentials of Nonprofit Organizations program, also offered by Wake Forest University, cover a range of topics essential to the governance and management of nonprofits. After completing all sessions, participants will receive a certificate of completion from Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

Amber Harris, a 2011 graduate of the School of Divinity who currently serves as the Minister to Youth and Young Adults at Fairfield United Methodist Church in High Point, is participating in the cohort. “During our first session I was invited to reflect on how my faith informs leadership and how I, as a religious leader, can partner with nonprofits that already exist in my community,” she said. “This conversation is often a hard one because of the ever present difficulty in making sense of the partnership of faith and law.” Harris also said that in addition to the course content, the faculty are nurturing the participants’ passions and personal investment in the work of nonprofit organizations.

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Categories: Academics, Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership, Community Engagement, Continuing Education, News