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Mandel Center Changing Focus, Looks For New Leader.

During John Palmer Smith's tenure the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations rose to fifth place among the nation's nonprofit academic programs, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report this past year. It's the highest ranking for any school or program within Case Western Reserve University.

The center also doubled its operating grant support from its principal sponsor, the Mandel Foundation, and secured multi-year grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and David and Lucile Packard Foundation for its education, research and community service programs.

After less than five years, however, Smith is on six months sabbatical and is not returning to direct the organization at the end of June when the sabbatical ends.

While a memo from Darlyne Bailey, chair of the governing secretariat glowed with praise about Smith and his tenure, the organization acknowledged that its strategic plan was taking it in a direction that doesn't include Smith.

John Yankey, interim executive director of the Cleveland-based center, said that, as they were rounding out the strategic plan, Smith and the governing secretariat looked at the level the center was hoping to attain.

"It was he along with the secretariat, and I want to emphasize that this was a joint decision, concluded that the fit might not be the best," Yankey said. "Some would want to read into it things that aren't there. That's always the case with transitions."

Smith's departure was probably more surprising to those outside the center, Yankey said, "depending on how close people were to the center and John and the strategic planning results that were occurring."

Yankey, who is a member of the search committee, said he was not a candidate for the full-time position. In the meantime, his role is to move the center forward on its goals of maintaining quality, increasing visibility and growing financial resources. "We're looking to grow in each of those three areas."

Yankey indicated the center is looking for someone who can be a strong leader. The center is a function of a partnership of four schools, he explained, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, the Weatherhead School of Management, the School of Law, and the College of Arts & Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. As such, the center's director functions much as a dean." (The director would) provide academic leadership that's required," Yankey said. "The program faculty need to be inspired and have goals to which they can aspire."

An absolute must is for the new person to be an effective fundraiser, according to Yankey. It should also be "someone who's had some experience and values - underscore values involved in the broader nonprofit community," he said. "We are trying to get it all in one."

Yankey praised Smith's efforts at building relationships and establishing a base from which the center could develop further. Though he didn't have specific financial goals, Yankey said a target of "$750,000 to $1 million each year for three years" was "in the best of worlds." The center's budget is about $3 million.

The three target areas included the implementaiton of a new 60 credit hour masters program. The center also launched a joint venture with the doctor of management program of the Weatherhead School of Management. "We're increasing our attention to practioner interest," Yankey said.

He added that the center will push forward during the executive transtion. Efforts underway include cultivating better communication links with reporters and upgrading the center's Web site. The Mandel Center is working with the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences on a media fellowship, and a June seminar will focus on nonprofit contributions to the issues of welfare reform and faith-based initiatives.
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Title Annotation:Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations
Author:Sinclair, Matthew
Publication:The Non-profit Times
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2001
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