Amelia Trowbridge of the Walker County Nonprofit Council and Paul Kennedy of the Walker Area Community Foundation received an award for Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort.
The two partnered with UA professor Dr. Margaret Purcell on a local leadership academy.
“She (Purcell) wanted to attempt to do this pilot leadership program, which she believes could be replicated around the state,” Kennedy said.
More than a dozen representatives of area nonprofits participated in the training sessions, which were held from January through May.
Examples of discussion topics included professional strength assessments, grant writing, board operations and volunteer management.
Kennedy said Purcell received funding through the university for the program, and WACF provided support with networking and logistics.
He added that the foundation and nonprofit council were ideal partners for the project.
“Every year, we (WACF) get far more proposals than we are able to fund. We want to help every nonprofit that we can connect with as broad a network of resources as possible, which is also one of the main goals of the nonprofit council,” Kennedy said.
The cash award that the two groups will receive from the university as part of their recent recognition will be used to provide more training for local nonprofit leaders.
It was announced at the CCBP’s awards banquet in April that a national donor has shown an interest in funding a similar leadership academy for nonprofits in Mobile and Baldwin counties.
Kennedy said Purcell chose Walker County as the first host of the program after learning of the area’s relationship with UA’s New College.
For the past two summers, undergraduate students have earned credit hours by living in Walker County for eight weeks and working with local leaders on a wide range of issues.
Walker County is the first community in the state to partner with New College on its embedded internship program.
Local leaders also have a working relationship with Auburn University and and are reaching out to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Samford University and Birmingham-Southern College as well.
The Excellence in Community Engagement Award from UA is the second for Kennedy, who received one several years ago for his involvement with the Walker Area Transformational Coalition for Health (WATCH 2010).