Social Welfare professor Dr. Jorja Leap has been awarded a $200,000 two-year funding commitment from the California Wellness Foundation to create the UCLA Luskin Watts Center for Nonprofit Management. This funding will support the first phase of a ten‐year initiative designed to respond to a critical need for leadership expansion and support within nonprofit agencies. In response to the UCLA Luskin 2013 report, “Spread Thin: Human Services Organizations in Poor Neighborhoods,” the Center represents an effort to develop leadership, fundraising capacity, policy advocacy and communication technology among the small and struggling nonprofit agencies of Watts.
What differentiates the Center’s approach from similar programs is its unique integration of adapted training, mentoring and resource provision through re‐granting. The Center will offer active, ongoing leadership development, focusing on the use of communication technology, fundraising diversification and strategy, as well as expanding knowledge and skills in policy advocacy.
The Center will pair each nonprofit agency participant with a dedicated UCLA coach‐mentor. The coach‐mentor will provide organizational case management and support, along with reinforcing what is learned through trainings and communicated throughout group sessions. The role of the coach‐mentors will include problem‐solving, consultation on adaptation and application to ensure learnings truly apply both to needs and programming in Watts and within the scope of the work the participant is engaged in, along with general support and accountability. In addition, to foster sustainability, coach‐mentors will be building skills in the first cohort of selected individuals, preparing them to mentor subsequent cohorts composed of the next generation of Watts nonprofit leaders.
The Watts Center for Nonprofit Management will launch in January 2016.