Pillar partnership to power non-profits

Paul Mayne//Western News

Western President Amit Chakma speaks of the university’s partnership with Fanshawe College in assisting London Pillar’s Nonprofit Network’s Professional Development program, while Pillar Executive Director Michelle Baldwin looks on.

Western’s Continuing Studies has teamed up with Fanshawe College to strengthen the impact of the London’s non-profit sector through enhanced training and education.

With a $5,000 contribution from each postsecondary institution, the partnership will co-sponsor Pillar’s Nonprofit Network Professional Development program. More than 40 workshops and presentations will be delivered over the course of the year, benefitting an estimated 1,600 participants through topics such as marketing and public relations, social innovation, risk management, leadership and strategic planning.

“Those in the non-profit sector represent the strength of this community and many others. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide a continuing education to these leaders of our non-for-profit sector,” said Western President Amit Chakma. “Our mission at Western is to support the development of global citizens whose education and leadership will serve the public good, which makes this particular initiative a good fit for Western Continuing Studies.”

London is home to more than 1,200 charities and non-profit organizations. According to the latest Statistics Canada figures, roughly 60 per cent of Londoners give back a portion of their time, energy and skills to volunteering in the community, translating to an estimated annual value of $672 million worth of donated hours.

Over the last three years, Pillar has hosted an annual Community Collaboration Forum in which both Fanshawe and Western have been instrumental in the successful launch of a number of community initiatives – engaging government, business, academia and the non-profit sector.

“This exciting partnership between London’s two leading academic institutions is yet another step forward in Pillar’s efforts to foster positive social change,” said David Billson, Pillar board chair.

In addition to providing financial support, both institutions will collaborate with Pillar to meet the education, professional development and training needs of staff, volunteers and board members attending Pillar workshops.

“Our vision is to educate our future citizens who are going to devote their talent and life for public good,” Chakma said. “This new partnership fits in very well with our vision – to help our community leaders to improve their professional expertise and to bring that to bear in the community. It is another example of a great way to promote lifelong learning.”