The success of last year’s “Stanford Experience” has resulted in doubling the number of nonprofit executives able to participate in this year’s conference at Stanford University’s Nonprofit Management Institute on Oct. 4-6.

The Santa Barbara Foundation and Orfalea Foundations, with a grant from Bob Emmons, will cover the expenses of 18 nonprofit executives to attend a two-day cutting-edge leadership conference that will discuss important strategic topics for nonprofit management.

The conference is geared toward learning creative new strategies for running and growing organizations through tough economic times. The conference agenda features speakers and facilitators who are nationally recognized leaders in the fields of nonprofit management, fundraising, cross-sector collaboration, board development, effective use of the volunteer workforce and strategic structuring.

Upon their return, the participants, led by top staff at the NSC, will facilitate roundtable meetings to share what they have learned with others in the nonprofit community. The roundtable will be held the last two weeks of October.

Last year, more than 200 nonprofit executives attended the post-conference meetings, rating this innovative model for both leadership training and county collaboration as exceptional.

“Among the most important things we can do to help shape and shore up organizations in tough times is to ensure our nonprofits have the best tools, the best education and the benefit of the best thinking in nonprofit management,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation. “Our community is ever more dependent on strong leadership from nonprofits; funding retreats like this will enable our nonprofit executives to become more efficient agents of progress and change.”

“Making an investment like this, in our human capital, is profound,” said Ben Romo, director of community education at the County Education Office and executive director of Partners in Education who attended last year’s Stanford Management Institute conference. “What we learned, and then brought back to share with our colleagues, is an investment that will pay dividends for years to come.”

“Tougher financial times necessitate a robust nonprofit sector that is able to implement effective programs and provide services that meet community needs,” said Lois Mitchell, president of the Orfalea Foundations. “High-quality opportunities like this, as well as staff training, are a critical facet of supporting strategic grant making.”

The north and south county nonprofit executives who will attend the conference represent a range of areas, from health and human services to the arts, education and the environment.

Organizations include: Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara, Angels Foster Care, Carpinteria Children’s Collaborative Project at Main, CASA of Santa Barbara County, Central Coast Literacy Council, Child Abuse Listening and Meditation (CALM), Endowment for Youth Committee, Environmental Defense Center, Family Service Agency
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Isla Vista Youth Projects, Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, the Santa Maria Philharmonic Society, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, SMOOTH and the Storyteller Children’s Center.

— Jessica Tade is the Santa Barbara Foundation’s project coordinator for communications and marketing.