You are here

NBLP Projects

Each year, approximately 30 MBA students and alumni participate in this program. Students are selected through a rigorous application process and matched with an alumnus based on experience and interest. Project topics have included:

Community Profiles

“I am learning as much from the students as they are from me and I feel lucky that some of these friendships will last a lifetime. It is an honor to be part of the NBLP, Columbia Business School’s best kept secret.”
— Tess Mateo ‘97, Board Member, American Composers Orchestra


“Having participated in the first year of the NBLP, the highlight for me was gaining an insider's perspective on board dynamics having been afforded the opportunity to participate in an American Red Cross Board meeting in DC. As the Co-Chair of the Social Enterprise Alumni Circle, I'm thrilled to extend the benefits of the program to alumni committed to nonprofit board leadership through our alumni board service dinner series and our annual board service event.”
— Andrea Turner Moffitt '07, Alumni Circle Co-Chair

  • Community Development: Develop a business plan to create new revenues relating to a business involving labor from assisted program participants.
  • Education: Rebuild the organization’s financial model to reflect changes in the way they provide services to charter schools; conduct competitive mapping to determine primary competitors and how to measure success.
  • Public Radio: Assist a brand development project and a customer experience comparison across five key markets to determine differentiating aspects and what works in each area.
  • Young Women: Conduct thorough board of directors evaluation on effectiveness and underlying metrics used to judge success; Recommend more effective ways to communicate and simplify evaluation metrics.
  • Healthcare: Conduct an ROI analysis of all fundraising activity including gala events, mailings, phone drives, etc; benchmark against comparable organizations.

Past Projects: 2013-14 Projects | 2012-13 Projects | 2011-12 Projects | 2010-11 Projects | 2009-10 Projects | 2008-09 Projects | 2007-08 Projects | 2006-07 Projects

2014–15 Projects for Nonprofit Boards

Mark Parsonson ’15 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Advisory Board Member Mark Zurack and the Alzheimer’s Association to conduct a detailed assessment of all areas of the Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC Chapter Charity Walk. Mark developed a concrete plan of implementable actions in order to improve the effectiveness of the Walk and its impact for the NYC Chapter.

Sarah Sung '15 worked with mentor Jim Matison ’68 at Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth, a nonprofit child welfare agency that supports children across New York State with a continuum of services from prevention, to foster care, to residency at the Canaan school and center. Sarah developed a strategic plan for the Workforce Development Council, a group of business and professional leaders that advise, reinforce and amplify the reach of Berkshire’s Workforce Development Program.

Baylee Simon ’15 worked with mentor Sheila Lambert and Bottomless Closet, a New York City-based nonprofit that aims to build self-confidence, executive presence and interview readiness among disadvantaged women poised to enter the workforce. Baylee worked to develop a volunteer recruitment strategy that would help the organization achieve its growth goal of serving an additional 25,000 New York City women in the next five years. Baylee focused on her analysis and recommendations on which volunteer segments and recruitment channels Bottomless Closet should target to expand its volunteer base, as well as how the organization should structure its corporate partner program to help fulfill its growth plan.

Genevieve Kinney ’15 worked with mentor Brian Ricklin, Executive Director and CEO of Creative Art Works (CAW), a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower NYC youth through arts programming that incorporates academic enrichment, creative expression, workforce development and community engagement. Genevieve worked to develop a Corporate Partnership Strategic Overview document that presented the various avenues by which CAW could pursue and build sustainable partnerships with corporate institutions. Her work included research of philanthropic corporate organizations and engaged key decision makers at these organizations to understand the most impactful ways for CAW to engage with such corporate partners. Her project culminated in a Strategic Overview document that is used to educate new CAW staff and Board members as well as to initiate dialogue about possible partnership opportunities with target institutions.

Rachel Thau ’15 worked with mentor Katie Leonberger ’08 and Community Resource Exchange (CRE), a nonprofit management-consulting firm. Rachel worked with CRE to develop a cohesive brand strategy and helped to activate the brand through the creation of marketing materials, case studies and outreach collateral.

Lee Grzesh ’15 worked with Kaitlin McTighe and Citizen Schools, a New York nonprofit which partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for students and their families.  The goal of this project is to create marketing materials for use in partner and fundraising meetings to illustrate the business case for volunteering with Citizen Schools. Lee reviewed external research on volunteerism as well as existing internal survey data. To develop a holistic view as part of his research efforts, Lee may interview select Citizen teachers to understand the benefits of volunteering on an individual basis.

Seema Balani ’15 worked with mentors Todd Rudsenske ’09 and Manmeet Kaur ’12 of City Health Works, an organization that integrates local health coaches into clinics and social service providers to support population health management. Seema worked with the team to develop a framework for City Health Works to optimize their ability to build new partnerships quickly and effectively to achieve successful growth in the local community.

Joyce Yang ’15 worked with mentor Gary Brewster to help the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, an organization that seeks to improve the treatment, quality of life and the long-term outlook for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. Joyce worked to define the foundation's national expansion strategy. Joyce was responsible for developing a market landscape analysis and identifying high potential acquisition or partnership targets in priority regions.

Nik Kapauan '15 worked with mentor Matthew Carpenter and Executive Director Tim Lord on a project for DreamYard Project, the largest private supplier of arts education in the Bronx.  The project was to identify, prioritize, and create an action plan to target currently untapped public funding sources available to DreamYard.  Nik analyzed potential sources at the municipal, state, and federal levels, such as the discretionary budgets of Bronx city councilors and state and federal grant programs, and prioritized based on the amount of funding available, ease of application, and DreamYard's chances of winning the funds.

Alexis Mayer ’17 worked with mentor Elisabeth Wadsworth and Friends of the Children to review the organization’s current data and metrics, compare the data to citywide and comparable mentoring organization standards, and aggregate the data to highlight FOTC’s strengths. The goal of the project was to better represent services so as to secure additional funding.

Zachary Collins ’15 worked with mentor Amanda Cahn ’10 at Friends of WHEELS, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that all students at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) – most of whom are first-generation college-goers – have access to and succeed in a college of their choice. Zachary provided a three-year strategic development plan for the organization that helped transform and map out fundraising strategies for three organizational revenue sources: foundation, corporate, and individual.

Lauren Gentry ’16 worked with mentor with mentor Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, and Patricia Driscoll, COO, of Girls Inc. For her project, Lauren analyzed the effectiveness of the Girls Inc. Learning and Sharing program. Initially created in 2012, the program was designed to provide an opportunity for Girls Inc. affiliates to meet on a regular basis and discuss best practices. The goal of this project was to help Girls Inc. assess the effectiveness of these discussions and develop a strategy for the Learning and Sharing programs going forward.

Jillian Roland ’16 worked with mentor Peter Novak ’09 on a dashboard project for the Global Community Charter School (GCCS), an elementary school in West Harlem. GCCS is a relatively new school and the board wanted to develop a dashboard it could use at monthly board meetings to monitor the school's progress. Jillian attended board committee meetings and met with school staff to identify key performance indicators in the four identified focus areas of achievement, operations and culture, finance, and strategic goals. She then worked with relevant staff and committee members to develop a process and tool for monthly data collection and to design a dashboard that displays the key performance indicators against targets. By the beginning of the summer, the GCCS board will use this dashboard regularly to inform discussion and aide in governance of GCCS.

Anjali Verghis '15 worked with mentor Claude Arpels ’98 and the International Contemporary Ensemble. With 35 leading instrumentalists performing solo or in large ensembles, ICE functions as performers, presenters and educators, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. Anjali worked with ICE to optimize its OpenIce digital media strategy, specifically by examining issues related to overall goals, audience accessibility / interests, and presentation and display options.

Kendall Miller '15 worked with mentor Todd Larsen ’96 and Literacy Partners, a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to offering high quality community-based literacy programs to empower adults to reach their full potential as individuals, parents, and citizens. Kendall developed a business case for an English language academy to better serve Literacy Partners' existing community, and to expand the reach of the organization's impact. The language academy aims to specifically target parents in order to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by empowering adults through education. Kendall's analysis and report focused on different scenarios for a program that included partnering with technology startups and developing a multi-level academy that would serve everyone from beginners to business professionals.

Marina Araujo ’15 worked with mentor Paula Campos, of Orfanato Ninos de Cristo, an orphanage in the Dominican Republic that serves over 200 children. Marina worked on the budget strategy to allocate resources among the girls' and boys' orphanages in order to produce auditable financial statements that in three years will enable the orphanage to apply for grants internationally. Marina also focused on a plan to develop a network of local donors and researched corporate governance with an eye towards improving the internal communication channels between the orphanage in Dominican Republic and the board members based in the United States.

Sarah Drew ’16 worked with mentor Carrie Braddock ’06 and ROADS Charter High Schools, a network of charter high schools in New York City that serves over-age and under-credited students and engages them in their own academic and personal development. Sarah created an organizational dashboard for the board based on best practices and ROADS-specific needs to effectively track performance and form actionable goals.

Danielle Ross ’16 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Advisory Board Member Melissa Berman, CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit organization that provides research and counsel on charitable giving, develops philanthropic programs and offers complete program, administrative and management services for foundations and trusts. Danielle analyzed the knowledge management platform to provide insights into advisory practices and worked directly with an advisory team on a philanthropic project.

Mike McGregor ’16 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Advisory Board member Mark Zurack and Teach for America NY (TFA NY). The project’s goal was to increase and sustain the organization’s donor base by 1) identifying data-oriented metrics to demonstrate the impact of TFA’s teachers and alumni and 2) providing clear indicators of the positive effect donor’s contributions have on underserved students’ academic and life outcomes. In the spring, Mike presented TFA NY with recommendations for how to develop and refine its approach to attracting and appealing to potential and current donors.

Susannah Vila ’16 worked with mentor Steve Symonds and The Alpha Workshops, an organization that provides vocational training in the decorative arts to individuals living with HIV. Susannah and Steve worked with the Executive Director and the board to structure key organizational challenges – including funding gaps, the profitability of their studio business and the social impact of their training services – into a strategic plan.

Andrew Faubel ’16 worked with mentor Jonah Zimiles ’08 and The Children’s Institute (TCI), a New Jersey-based nonprofit school for children and adults with autism and related disabilities. The school’s adult program, TCI Center for Independence, provides vocational and job skills training and teaches social, life and relationship skills. Services are provided free of charge but New Jersey’s upcoming transition from a contract-based service system to a fee-for-service system posed several uncertainties for the organization. Andrew worked to develop a model to optimize the services TCI could provide under the new system. Andrew focused his analysis on how the organization could maximize the impact it was having on each student while continuing to serve its expanding class size for years to come.

Elizabeth Miller ’15 worked with mentor Mimi Boublik ’90 and The Jericho Project, a nonprofit that provides housing, employment services, and other critical programming to adults and children experiencing homelessness in New York City. Elizabeth developed a study to assess the needs of the underserved young adult homeless population, 40% of whom are LGBT. She provided a recommendation for the appropriate educational incentives structure for this new initiative and organized an assessment of Jericho’s “LGBT-affirming” level.

Wendy Chan ’15 worked with mentor Lisa Canoura ’00 and West Side YMCA (WSY) to assess how the WSY can increase engagement with the west side community with a focus on increasing memberships. Wendy worked with Lisa and the senior staff at WSY to identify membership profiles and analyze how they communicate in order to formulate marketing and engagement strategies for WSY’s diverse program offerings and facilities.

Andrew Reich ’16 worked with mentor Lanie McNulty and Writopia Lab, a nationally recognized creative writing workshop for kids and teens ages 6 to 18. Andrew worked with Writopia’s senior directors to analyze the financial health of the organization following an explosive period of growth. Such analysis enabled the organization to analyze new programming from a financial perspective and construct the organization’s budget for the year ahead.

Sign Up for Updates

Keep up to date with what's happening by signing up for the Columbia campus-wide Social Enterprise mailing list, the quarterly newsletter and joining the Spark Mailing List.

Columbia Social E-Resources >Tamer Center Newsletter > SPARK >


Center Brochure

View the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise brochure, Empowering Leaders to Change the World