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Tuck receives UPS Foundation grant

Funds will help train future nonprofit leaders

The UPS Foundation, charitable arm of UPS, has awarded the Tuck School of Business a $200,000 grant for the creation of a nonprofit track in the school's Business Bridge Program. The 12 students comprising this first nonprofit class began the program on July 15.

The Business Bridge Program is a four week, in residence "boot camp" for upperclassmen and recent graduates majoring in the liberal arts to learn skills that will make them more competitive in pursuing a business career. With classes taught by members of the Tuck School faculty, students receive instruction in accounting, marketing and management communications. More than 1,500 students from the nation's top colleges have participated in the program since its founding in 1997.

"The Bridge Program is a proven fast track to mastering business basics," said Corrie Martin '90, Program Development Manager. "Several top companies, including Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs and UBS, come to us each year to find their new hires. What they find in the Bridge students are people who have the skills to look at things through a general management lens. Bridge Program graduates know how to lead, motivate and manage resources. With these skills, they can succeed in practically any environment."

The primary architect of the project was Matt Dunne, Associate Director of the Public Impact Initiative at the Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center and the Tuck School partnered in the creation of this nonprofit program. According to Dunne, "The nonprofit world of today demands a similar caliber of leader as the for-profit sector. This program sets out to teach a skills set to this group of people who are ready to pursue social entrepreneurship and help them succeed."

Indeed, Dunne believes that the recruitment and retention of capable, professional nonprofit leaders is a significant issue today. He said that the management courses offered by most nonprofit organizations are thinly staffed and tend to target mid-career professionals, leaving top college-age students who are interested in pursuing nonprofit careers few options beyond internships for gaining experience.

Dunne notes that the number of jobs at nonprofits continues to grow, but as baby-boomers retire there is a question of where the next leaders of these organizations will come from. "We ultimately won the UPS Foundation over to this project because they agreed with us that we need to focus on the capacity of nonprofit leaders," he said.

"Dartmouth is in a unique position to train these nonprofit managers. We have strong programming to support volunteerism and public awareness, and we also have this amazing business training program. Our challenge was to identify all of the pieces that were already in place then add what was missing," he continued.

Last summer, eight nonprofit-bound college graduates and young professionals were asked to participate in the Business Bridge Program and to identify its most applicable and useful components.  Participants were surveyed before the program to learn what they wanted to gain. Their experiences were also assessed at the two-week mark, immediately after the program was completed and again six weeks later. The surveys sought to determine which components of the Business Bridge Program were the most useful for a nonprofit manager, which could be deleted and what material needed to be added to make the program a success.

The program that was developed follows the track of the standard Business Bridge Program with curricular add-ons specific for nonprofits, which are being developed in concert with Bridgespan, the nonprofit consultancy spin-off of Bain & Company. The nonprofit program will also include a "translation piece," which was roundly recommended by the students who participated in the pilot program. Nonprofit students arrived on July 15, three days prior to the rest of the Business Bridge students, and attended a session where they were shown how to apply the business skills they would learn in the course to their future nonprofit work. "When instructors are talking about selling a widget, the nonprofit students will be able to immediately understand how these are the skills needed to sell an organizational mission," said Martin.

The UPS grant is for two years and provides partial scholarships for those students participating in the nonprofit track of the Business Bridge Program, as well as covering the costs of developing and running the three-day nonprofit focused add-on session. Spots are already filled for this summer's program, but openings remain for the summer of 2006.

The outdoor wear company Timberland, as well as Chittenden Bank have provided additional scholarships to nonprofit Bridge students. Timberland is providing two full scholarships, while Chittenden Bank will provide a scholarship to one Vermont nonprofit leader.

For more information about enrollment in the Business Bridge Program, contact Corrie Martin at 603-646-0252.

By JOEL AALBERTS

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08