by Becky Boulanger, Steering Council Chair

“Managing Strategy with Focus and Agility.” That was the theme of the day when the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative Steering Council met for a strategic planning retreat on March 7.


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Strategic planning retreats are a heavy lift – thoughtful planning; robust agendas; aspirational goals for the day. Would the NPLI Steering Council succeed being both focused and agile?  The answer is a resounding YES!

It has been ten years since the Community Foundation, in its role as community convener, brought together 40 Fox Valley leaders, businesses, funders, and nonprofit executives to explore what resources nonprofits need to be successful. 

Since that time, the NPLI focus has remained consistent. We inspire our community to work together to support nonprofit organizations and the individuals who lead them, and strengthen the nonprofit sector overall.

It is the agility of NPLI that makes it the tremendous community resource that it is. Our amazing staff provide programing in three pillar areas: Nonprofit Leader Effectiveness, Board Member Effectiveness and Resource Access. At the retreat, the Steering Council reviewed metrics for 10 NPLI programs. This on-going evaluation process allows NPLI to make thoughtful decisions and to continuously improve our offerings.

Last year’s Financial Leadership webinar series is just one example of new programs that resulted from NPLI’s efforts to be responsive to the needs of local organizations. To improve the financial sustainability of nonprofit organizations, it is critical to tie financial management to organizational community impact, and to understand the true costs of program delivery.

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​As our day wrapped up, I felt a sense of pride in the commitment of the Steering Council’s ability to stay true to our focus, but to learn, grow and be agile as NPLI has evolved over the last 10 years.

We remain committed to our vision of a healthy and resilient region where nonprofit leaders and organizations have access to the resources they need and are equipped with the skills to make our community a great place to live for all.


The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is a partnership of Fox Valley-area nonprofits, funders, educational institutions, and businesses dedicated to providing resources needed by effective nonprofit boards and executive leaders. Since its inception in 2015, NPLI has offered a wide range of leadership, management, and technical skill-building programs, as well as peer learning circles, to the entire nonprofit sector in the Fox Valley region. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, a Fox Cities-based nonprofit founded in 1986, helps people provide long-term support for favorite charities through endowments and other charitable funds. The second-largest certified community foundation in Wisconsin, its donors have allowed it to award more than $388.7 million to nonprofit organizations from more than 1,754 charitable funds. Affiliated community foundations operate in Brillion, Chilton, Clintonville, Shawano, and Waupaca. To learn more, go to, subscribe to The Loop at or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.