Skip to content

New Name, Same Mission: Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Fisher Aims to Strengthen Boards of Community Organizations

December 12, 2022

With a new name, the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at St. John Fisher University will re-energize its mission of providing leadership development opportunities for boards of directors and professional staff at non-profits in the Rochester region.

The Center, which was formally known as the Center for Community Engagement, applies a peer-learning philosophy to its offering of courses and programs.

“By entering into a partnership with the University’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and becoming the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, we have created the opportunity to serve both the local nonprofit community and Fisher students more extensively by increased leadership development and educational opportunities,” said Bob Thompson, the director of the Center. “We look forward to continuing our signature programs and exploring new initiatives. It is a very exciting time for the Center, the University, and the communities we serve.”

The Center, which is now housed under the University’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, has served more than 2300 individuals and 350 unique organizations since its inception in 2006.

“As an anchor institution, it is part of the University’s mission to bring enriched learning opportunities into the community,” said Dr. Kevin Railey, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fisher. “The Center for Nonprofit Leadership has always shared in that mission and continues to develop programs that contribute to a strong, voluntary sector and improve our community’s quality of life.”

A hallmark of the Center is the Certificate in Nonprofit Management program, a five-course program that helps professionals sharpen their skills and organizational effectiveness. The program includes two paths: one for those who want a deep dive into a specific area of focus or a comprehensive look at management across several content areas. The curriculum explores how non-profits function, philanthropy and fundraising practices, human resource management, building communication skills, and budgeting and finances, among other topics.

The Center also hosts a Board Leadership Seminar, which is designed to give a small group of current board chairs an opportunity to learn about governance issues that will enhance their effectiveness as leaders. The seminar’s five sessions cover board responsibilities and structure; financial literacy; board and CEO partnerships; board diversity and inclusiveness; and managing the board for effectiveness. Programs and seminars are led by established, seasoned professionals with years of experience and expertise in board leadership.

For more information, email Melanie Phillips, operations administrator, at or visit the Center online.