Jan. 25, 2006 – A group of 40 nonprofit agency directors from across the territory spent Monday and Tuesday at the Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix honing their skills at a training seminar.
The event was funded by the St. Croix Foundation, Lutheran Social Services, the Economic Development Authority, and the Buccaneer Hotel.
Lesley Hoffman, director at St. George Village Botanical Garden on St. Croix, said the discussions were lively, as participants shared their varying viewpoints.
"It really stretched the way I think about something," she said, adding that it was helpful to meet people who held similar jobs.
Michael Akin, director of the St. Thomas-based Catholic Charities, agreed that it was useful to meet other nonprofit directors. "These are people who share some of the same problems," he said.
Sheila Karcher, secretary of the Animal Care Center of St. John, said the training helped her to take an objective view of her organization. "It helped me in identifying all the different areas that need to work together in order to survive," she said.
Akin and Hoffman both gave high marks to seminar trainer Christine Lett.
Lett is the associate dean for executive education and the Rita E. Hauser lecturer in the practice of philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Lett worked in the private, public and nonprofit sectors and is the author of "Virtuous Capital: What Foundations Can Learn from Venture Capitalists."
St. Croix Foundation Director Roger Dewey said subjects covered at the seminar included measuring capacity and public value, performance measurement and privatization, crisis management, and leading organizational change.
He said that Lett used case studies, which are a review of true-life examples of management challenges to learn better management and analysis techniques.
"The subjects covered may not be specific to a nonprofit, but they can be extrapolated to running their own agency," Dewey said.
Carole DeSenne, who serves as both the director of the St. John Community Foundation and the property manager at the affordable housing community, Bellevue Village, said this was the first time she used case studies in a training session.
"There wasn't any case study I did that I couldn't apply to the nonprofits I work for," she said.
Dewey said that further training is planned for March 17 and 18 at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Croix. Huge Price of the Urban League and Rockefeller Foundation will be the keynote speaker.
Call the St. Croix Foundation at 773-9898 for more information.
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