Registration Opens for 2017 Nollau Institute

Once every four months, Samantha Clevenger meets with a group of fellow leaders from across the country.

Cellphones and computers are turned off as participants focus on discussing the challenges and rewards of working for nonprofits and how to become better leaders.

“We’re all kind of in the same boat,” says Clevenger, community services manager for UCC-related Orion Family Services, which provides treatment services to troubled children and their families in Madison, Wisconsin. “None of us are alone.”

The year-long Nollau Institute provides education and leadership training for CHHSM members and partnering organizations. Created in 2011, the program is named after the Rev. Louis Edward Nollau, a 19th-century missionary, preacher and founder of several CHHSM ministries. Nollau’s bold commitment to servant leadership continues to inspire participants today.

“It’s a way for people to find a link between their call to this type of specialized nonprofit health and human service ministry and their leadership skills,” says CHHSM Associate for Programming and Leadership Development Danielle Bartz. “Nollau graduates also build strong personal and professional relationships that benefit them for the rest of their careers, as well as strengthen their ties to numerous CHHSM organizations and the wider United Church of Christ.”

The program starts each April and concludes in March and includes three in-person retreats, an online learning platform and conference calls between 15-20 participants throughout the year. Class members also present workshops during the CHHSM annual meeting each March.

Next year’s retreats in Wisconsin and St. Louis will cover the theology, practice and product of leadership, Bartz says.

Meeting in small groups, Nollau participants do more than pontificate about theory, says Clevenger.

“When I go to these retreats, I am engaged and excited about taking what I’ve learned back to our team at home,” she says. “The atmosphere is really welcoming, opening and overall positive. Everyone wants to do better themselves and help you do better.”

The institute has been equally energizing for Charlotte Freeman, director of human resources at UCC-related Cedar Community, a nonprofit in West Bend, Wisconsin, that provides services to seniors, including independent living, assisted living, short-term care and rehabilitation, skilled nursing and memory loss services and home medical equipment.

“It has definitely recharged my batteries,” she says. “It broadens your horizons. It’s really eye-opening to see the wonderful organizations that are serving people who may be disenfranchised or at-risk. It’s absolutely amazing.”

The institute is now accepting applications for next year’s program with a Jan. 31 deadline. To apply, go to: Nollau Institute.

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