Ryan Chartrand

Cal Poly Continuing Education and University Outreach has been one of the twelve national sites selected from 200 applicant organizations in nine states to receive a $40 thousand “Models of Significant Service” grant by RespectAbility, a program of the National Council on Aging.

The main idea behind the two-year demonstration is to acquire different organizations and to allow them to set up model centers and specified projects that will improve the life of participating adults over the age of 55.

“Our center is established for non-profit organizational advancement training and educational opportunities for adults who want to use their talents to raise funds for non-profit organizations,” said Josh Ruiz, Assistant Dean of Continuing Education and University Outreach.

This grant is the first ever designed to assist organizations in attracting and supporting adults over 55 years old. Ruiz explains it will help them fill important leadership roles and develop approaches for coordinating and managing these roles.

According to Dennis “Skip” Parks, Dean of Continuing Education and University Outreach, this grant will help Cal Poly expand lifelong learning opportunities for this segment of the population while also helping local non-profit organizations.

“Cal Poly benefits from the program Osher Life Learning Institute (OLLI),” Ruiz said. “Cal Poly will be able to take full advantage of this program, of the program’s center and any talent pool that comes out of that center.”

The grant will provide start-up funding to establish the Center for Nonprofit Organizational Advancement at Continuing Education and University Outreach. The center will provide training and educational opportunities for those who desire to use their experience and talents to help raise funds for local nonprofit organizations.

There are two primary functions of this project. The first goal is to organize the Nonprofit Advancement Officer-training Program and the Nonprofit Advancement Program. “Together they are working hand in hand to train officers in order to become advancement officers,” Ruiz said.

The second function will be a way for the nonprofit organizations to learn how to best put to use a trained officer.

Continuing Education and University Outreach will use a thorough evaluation to help measure their success in engaging and managing highly skilled adults. They will learn all they need to know from one another and from experts in the field through the Continuous Learning and Innovations Community, an online platform of forums, blogs and libraries.

“It is another great way to maintain outreach programs at Cal Poly and for non-profits in the area,” said Ruiz. “It will help Cal Poly get in better touch and build on partnerships.”

The program offers non-credit classes and is mainly aimed at people who have had backgrounds in fundraising and finance. However, no prior experience is necessary.

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