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

2013–14 Projects for Nonprofit Boards

Peter Valeiras '15 worked with mentor Tess Mateo '97 and American Composers Orchestra, an orchestral group supporting the composition of new types of music by American composers through funding and support. Peter worked with the American Composers Orchestra to develop a plan and methodology to increase board membership over the next 6 months with an emphasis on increasing corporate relationships through board placement and fellowships.

Fabio Bergamo ’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. Fabio provided analysis and recommendations for the implementation of a new financially self-sustainable set of business enterprises that prepare high school students for the workforce through experiential learning.

Daniella Gold ’14 worked with mentor Debbie Perelman ’00 to answer the question of what age the Children’s Museum of the Arts should target for exhibitions and programming. Daniella identified and researched leading children’s museums in the US to prepare a best practices analysis with regard to aging up. The project included interviews with industry professionals.

Pilar Cervantes ’14 worked with mentor Christine Chang and Bottomless Closet, an organization that guides and inspires disadvantaged women in New York City to enter the workforce. Pilar analyzed and updated the organization’s use of metrics to articulate Bottomless Closet’s impact.

Stephanie Weichsel ’14 worked with mentor Murry Stegelmann ’86 and Cathedral Community Care, an organization under St. John the Divine that is set up to combat poverty through preventive poverty services, education and advocacy – specifically targeting the issues of health and hunger. Stephanie worked on multiple projects about the strategy and fundraising aspects of the organization.

Mari Ishiguro ’14 worked with mentor Venk Varadan ’08 at the Center for Arts Education (CAE). CAE works to inform and influence educational and fiscal policies that support arts education in all New York City public schools. Mari worked with CAE’s Director of Research and Policy to assess the current state of arts in education in city schools (based on reporting from the Office of Arts and Special Projects) and helped devise budget recommendations that would enable schools to deliver arts programming to meet state and city mandates. Mari collected and evaluated necessary data to support CAE’s policy suggestions to the new mayor.

Mohinshu (Mac) Trivedi ’14 had the opportunity to work with Jason Chiang ’12 and the Choral Society of New York. The Choral Society strives to bring the high quality choral music to the greater New York community who may not otherwise experience such work. Mac’s role was to help devise a long term funding strategy, which involved identifying new sources of funding, performing a competitive analysis on the operations and funding of comparable organizations, and working with the board to develop an overall mission statement and strategy.

Dr. Sharon E. Smith EMBA’14 worked with mentor Manmeet Kaur ’12, Founder and Executive Director of City Health Works, to develop relationships with healthcare providers and insurers. The goal was to form partnerships with providers who will refer East Harlem patients with uncontrolled diabetes to the program. These patients are then paired with health coaches who assist patients in confronting barriers to care. These barriers may be social, economic, or access related.

Jason Finkelstein ’15 worked with mentor and SEP Advisory Board Member Allan Levine ’95 and the New York Office of Citizen Schools, a nonprofit geared towards providing quality extended school day enrichment programs for middle school students in under-served communities. Jason worked with Citizen Schools to provide quantitative analysis for creating actionable next steps for boosting the nonprofit’s volunteer retention. Based on the insights gathered from the analysis, the Citizen Schools team is considering implementing a similar analysis to understand volunteer retention in other key geographic regions.

Jesse Rose EMBA’14 worked with mentor Brian Ricklin, Executive Director and CEO of Creative Art Works (CAW), a nonprofit that improves the lives of Harlem & Northern Manhattan youth through the visual, performing, and technology arts. Jesse worked on updating and enhancing the program's Charity Navigator data in order to highlight their competitive sets and unique standing as an arts education nonprofit. The project was focused on ensuring CAW is on track to achieve Tier-1 levels for fundraising efficiency, revenue and expense growth, and to enhance the transparency and accountability practices to meet industry standards. .

Abhinav Gupta EMBA’14 worked with mentor Brian Ricklin Executive Director and CEO of Creative Art Works (CAW). Abhinav developed a plan for leveraging existing CAW assets for multiple revenue streams: cause marketing by primary research with consumer product companies, nonprofit consulting firms, and literature research. Abhinav created a plan to build CAW’s capabilities, a blueprint for a cause marketing strategy and possible ideas to implement in the short to medium term.

Audrey Iriberri ’14 worked with mentor Ken Shubin Stein, Columbia Business School adjunct professor, at Crutches 4 Kids (C4K). C4K is a nonprofit organization that collects used crutches in the US and donates the crutches to needy children in developing countries. The project was to create and communicate a fundraising strategy that developed relationships with CSR offices of private companies. Audrey developed potential fundraising initiatives for C4K, identified potential partners, and reached out to potential partners to grow the organization's revenue base.

Young Park ’15 worked with mentor Lou Caltavuturo ’94 and Forestdale, a family services organization that provides foster care, preventive and other services to break the cycle of poverty in Queens. Young developed an actionable funding strategy and researched funding sources to build capacity of volunteer services in Forestdale. Young researched potential funding sources including foundations, individuals, and corporate sponsors. Young identified other successful models in the field that can be applied to Forestdale.

Stephanie Sherline ’15 worked with mentor Jordan Roth ’10 and Freedom to Marry, an organization that campaigns for the right of same-sex couples to legally marry in the US. Stephanie’s project both assessed the effectiveness of the organization’s current fundraising programs and presented an execution strategy for implementing additional programs to capture low-dollar donors. Additionally, Stephanie provided recommendations of how to recognize and reward high-level volunteers and donors associated with a new development campaign.

Malini Muralidharan ’14 and Elise Miller ’15 worked with mentor Joan Rosenthal and Friends of the Children New York, a youth development program that employs professional mentors to work comprehensively NYC's most vulnerable youth for a 12-year period from kindergarten through high school graduation. Malini and Elise worked with staff to explore Friends of the Children's program model and its short- and long-term expansion possibilities. Malini and Elise used the information gathered to create a donor pitch for Friends of the Children staff to use in building future partnerships.

Virginia Whitney EMBA’14, worked with mentor Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO, and Cheryl Blowers, Marketing and Communications Director, of Girls Inc. Virginia worked on identifying a set of metrics and developing a standard economic model to help quantify Girls Inc.’s performance and the bottom-line effect of the organization’s efforts “at the girl level” in dollar terms. The goal of this project was to help Girl’s Inc. communicate its message of impact quantitatively to enhance its fundraising potential.

Christopher Swinney ’14 worked with mentor Peter Novak ’09 on a partnership exploration project for Global Community Charter School (GCCS), an elementary school in West Harlem. GCCS is a relatively new school and the board wanted to explore what resources and partnership opportunities existed within Columbia University. Chris attended board meetings and met with school staff to assess operational areas, strategic plans and the school's most glaring needs. He then researched and interviewed numerous programs and staff across Columbia University to identify more than twenty relevant opportunities. His findings were compiled in a document and shared with board at their April meeting. GCCS expects to act on this deliverable beginning this summer.

Kash Patel ’15 worked with mentor Christopher Shyer ’87 and the Historic House Trust (HHT), on an earned revenue research study that is part of a larger pilot program called The Anarchist Guide for Historic House Museums. The Edward I. Koch Fellow for the Latimer House earned revenue research study is a project-specific fellowship that will support the implementation of a pilot program to test these innovative ideas in historic house museum management. Through this project, HHT aspires to transform Latimer Historic House Museum into a financially self-supporting center of social history, explorative experience and common identity. Kash helped research what is being done at other similar nonprofits, identified innovative, culturally-interesting ideas that connected the historic property to today's surrounding community, and helped create recommendations that suggested new ideas to test and consider.

Luke Sandler ’14 worked with mentor Claude Arpels ’98 and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) on their organizational change. With 33 leading instrumentalists performing solo to large ensembles, ICE functions as performer, presenter and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. Their unusual organization structure needed to be re-evaluated based on the growth and development strategy of the board. Based on conversations with the board, ICE members and research, Luke developed a new organizational structure for the company, initiated the search for a new COO, and worked with the board to ensure a smooth transition and growth plan.

Mark Flynn EMBA’14 worked with mentor Mimi Boublik ’90 and the Jericho Project, a nonprofit that provides housing, employment, and other critical programming to homeless adults and children in New York City. Mark developed a study to assess the needs of veterans returning from assignments overseas and recommended a service portfolio that will help Jericho meet the evolving challenges of their veteran residents.

Stephanie Bloom ’15 worked with mentor Shari Levine ’87 at Literacy Inc., a nonprofit focused on providing a network of support for young readers in low-income neighborhoods in NYC. Stephanie worked to develop a new online presence, from the website structure to the use of social media. The proposal was developed after analyzing the presence of other nonprofits in the literacy space, meeting with members of the board and speaking with experts in the field.

Morgan Handsman ’15 worked with mentor Brian O’Neil at the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBiA), a museum that celebrates and interprets art inspired by the Bible and its cultural legacy in Judeo- Christian traditions through exhibitions, education, and scholarship. Morgan worked with the Executive Director to optimize the staffing model by examining the organization’s financials and performing cost-benefit analyses. She developed job descriptions and a process to staff the organization sufficiently. The ED will discuss the proposal with the board at its next meeting.

Michelle Dervan EMBA’14 worked with mentor Ilene Lainer at New York Collaborates for Autism. Michelle developed a fundraising strategy to involve local corporations in Autism Speaks Walk events. Currently the majority of funds raised from the walk events come from individual and team donations, thus she analyzed the opportunity to increase funds from corporate sources and provided a set of recommendations on how to develop multi-faceted fundraising relationships with specific large-scale corporations located in the community.

Mariana Diaz Munoz ’15 worked alongside with mentor Paula Campos, member of the Advisory Board of Orfanato Ninos de Cristo, an orphanage in the Dominican Republic that serves over 200 children. Mariana focused on developing an organizational and fundraising strategy to decrease the organization’s dependence on small, one-time donations. As part of the project, Mariana worked with the organization to revise its mission, define its financial needs, develop an annual budget, and a fundraising plan. Mariana also helped create a marketing and branding strategy to raise awareness of the orphanage and strengthen donor relations.

Jessica Hammerman ’14 worked with mentor and SEP 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. Jessica researched the organizational structure of foundations to provide insights into effective management structures and practices in differing foundation cultures.

Gustavo Pinto Guimarães ’15 worked with mentor Sebastian Stubbe ’01 at Seeds of Peace, an organization that helps teenagers from regions of conflict learn the skills of making peace. The project involved working with graduates from the program in order to place them in influential places in their communities. The goal of the project is to allow alumni to continue to act as agents of change and promote peace.

Hugh Le ’14 worked with mentor Bruce Usher, Executive in Residence and Co-Director of the Social Enterprise Program. Hugh assisted the SEP with an internal project focusing on how SEP engages alumni interested in serving on a nonprofit organization’s board of directors. Hugh assessed the current demand from alumni and nonprofit organizations, and provided strategic recommendations to SEP. Hugh focused on creating a plan for engaging interested alumni in nonprofit board service.

Emily Rosenfield Magid ’14 worked with mentor Naomi Usher and Soho Rep, an innovative contemporary theater in New York City. Emily provided the organization with recommendations for how to smooth fluctuation in demand for tickets. To generate her findings, Emily analyzed internal sources of data, such as historical ticket sales, benchmarked pricing strategies at comparable theaters and conducted informational meetings with several industry experts.

Aakrit Kumar ’14 worked with mentor Jon Friedland ’97 and Streetwise Partners, an organization that helps low-income individuals overcome employment barriers by providing job skills training, career coaching and job search assistance. Aakrit revised Streetwise Partners’ corporate marketing materials and outreach efforts to incorporate findings from a recent volunteer data survey and from internal reporting metrics.

Wanessa Ferreira ’15 worked with mentor and Social Enterprise Program Advisory Board Member Mark Zurack and Teach for America NY (TFA NY). The goal was to identify and propose action plans to improve engagement of three key groups: (1) TFA NY Young Professional Committee’s members, (2) TFA Corps Members alumni living in NY and (3) corporate donors interested in volunteering opportunities offered by TFA NY to their employees. Based on research and internal and external interviews, Wanessa developed a board report card for the Young Professional Committee that was implemented in March 2014. The project contributed to a national task force focused on improving TFA alumni engagement in all regions.

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