Axelson Center Celebrating 10th Anniversary

Post a Comment » Written on March 17th, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (March 17, 2009) – When a mix of nonprofit leaders, educators and others began to consider developing a school of nonprofit management at North Park University, they never imagined how successful it would be.

“It’s certainly grown beyond any of our expectations,” says Jimmie Alford, founder of The Alford Group, a consulting firm for nonprofits. Alford has twice been named “one of the 50 most influential people in the nonprofit sector” by the Nonprofit Times.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management as well as its Symposium for Nonprofit Management and Volunteers. More than 500 professionals and volunteers attend the annual event, which has received national recognition for excellence. The symposium is slated for May 13-14 this year.

“We are absolutely delighted with the significant accomplishments of the Axelson Center over its first 10 years, which mirrors the major impact Nils Axelson had in a lifetime of successful nonprofit management,” says Dean Lundgren, treasurer of the Evangelical Covenant Church and former director of the MBA program and Professor of Strategic Management.

Axelson was a leader in the Evangelical Covenant Church and Covenant Ministries of Benevolence (CMB). During his tenure, CMB expanded from one hospital and two retirement communities to two hospitals and more than 14 retirement communities. Following his retirement, coworkers and friends raised money in his honor to endow a full-time faculty position at the university.

Melissa Morriss-Olson was the first person to accept the chair, and she helped launch a study that led to the creation of the center. “At a mid-1990s strategy session for North Park’s Graduate Management Program, we identified a major opportunity for North Park to become a ‘leader’ in nonprofit education here in the Chicagoland area,” says Lundgren.

Every year, more than 1,000 nonprofit leaders benefit from its programs and services. The Axelson Center offers more than 20 one-day and half-day workshops annually on the North Park campus.

The center fits naturally with the mission of North Park, which is preparing people of a life of service, Alford says.

Pier Rogers, the center’s current director, says that leaders who have received training there have strengthened and started organizations “that were more resilient and better equipped to serve our communities.”

The school developed its reputation, in part, through the excellence of the symposium, which was the “positioning piece,” says Alford. In addition to offering a plethora of workshops, the symposium annually honors nonprofit organizations with the Alford-Axelson Award in Managerial Excellence.

This year’s opening keynote speaker will be Leslie Crutchfield, an advisor to leading nonprofits and philanthropies. She serves as managing director of the Ashoka Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and is co-author of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.

Early registration is being accepted through April 3 and is $150 for the symposium only, $150 for the post-conference only, or $300 for both. Regular registration is $225 for the symposium only, $150 for the post-conference, or $375 for both.

For more information on the symposium, click here. The center offers a variety of other programs that include the increasingly popular Bootcamp for New Nonprofit CEOs.

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