Firm Supports Nonprofit Community through Work with Development Leadership Consortium 

Patricia B Carlson, Susan M Horner

While the Nature Conservancy, the United Way, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Girl Scouts of America, Doctors Without Borders, the American Heart Association, the US Olympic Committee, the Smithsonian and Habitat for Humanity meet a broad spectrum of public needs, they share at least one common trait: they are all nonprofit organizations (NPOs).

Like the powerhouse institutions listed above, NPOs are typically organized around a primary charitable mission, while legally recognized as “corporations.” Whether large or small, NPOs engage in typical business transactions, such as employing staff and entering into contracts. They may own real estate and other significant assets. They often have a board of directors or trustees. Unlike for-profit corporations, however, any excess revenue accumulated is not returned to shareholders as profit, but is instead retained by the NPOs for expanding or otherwise furthering their mission.

Capacity building (fundraising) is a never-ending and essential challenge for any NPO, as the ability to fulfill their charitable missions depends on it. Potential funding sources include grants from charitable foundations, donations, memberships, and government funding.

The Development Leadership Consortium (DLC) here in Chicago is one of a new breed of NPOs that mentors both new and experienced fundraising professionals, supporting their professional growth as committed, connected leaders of the Chicagoland philanthropic community.

Among its programs is the DLC Management Fellows, which targets up-and-coming NPO leaders who have worked in fundraising for 3 to 7 years. According to its facilitator, Tom Wick, the program “guides participants toward three primary goals: building a portfolio of knowledge of fundraising, building confidence and building professional networks.” Wick is Chief Advancement Officer for the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute and has spent more than 25 years in higher education fundraising and alumni relations. He has been a DLC mentor for the past 8 years. “Given the essential work performed by nonprofits, preparing the next generation of development leaders is critical,” says Wick. “That is essentially what the DLC was designed to do.”

Interested NPO professionals are encouraged to learn more about the DLC’s fellowship and public program offerings, which can be found at Applications for DLC fellowship programs are accepted through June 1st every year, with each year-long program commencing in September.

Led by partners Susan Horner and Patricia Carlson, the Firm supports the work of the DLC, and is hosting the DLC Management Fellows’ monthly meetings for the 2014-15 session.

To learn more about the Firm’s work with NPOs and their champions, please contact Susan Horner at or 312/840-7082, or Pat Carlson at or 312/840-7076, or visit the Firm’s Not-for-Profit and Planned Giving practice group page at

Tom Wick, Chief Advancement Officer for the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, leads a discussion at a recent DLC Management Fellows meeting


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