Nonprofit Leadership students contribute to health organizations

February 23, 2012

When Indiana State University junior Ellen Gottman underwent her first brain surgery nearly 10 years ago at Riley Hospital for Children, nurses and other healthcare professionals were essential to boosting her and her family's morale.

"Nurses would go out of their way, and one nurse braided my hair," said Gottman. "They helped you out not just medically. They were always there."

That positive experience with the hospital led Gottman, a human development/family studies major from Evansville and a student in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, to serve dual roles as vice president and secretary of ISU's Dance Marathon, which benefits Riley Hospital and the Children's Miracle Network.

"It's important to raise awareness for what Riley does, but raising that money also," said Gottman.

The purpose of Dance Marathon is simple.

"You stay on your feet for that long for the kids who can't," she said.

Other students in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, a certification program that prepares students to work in the nonprofit sector, have also participated in health-related nonprofit organizations.

James Garrett, a senior majoring in recreation and sport management from Brookston, serves as event chair for ISU's participation in the Relay for Life, benefitting the American Cancer Society, while senior Katie Davis is completing her internship with the March of Dimes, organizing the annual March for Babies alongside NLA alumnus Regina Engle.

Much of Garrett's dedication to the annual event stems from a family member's own battle with cancer.

"My aunt has beat cancer twice, so it hit home for me. I wanted to be a part of the committee this year," said Garrett. "I know I'm helping raise money for a good cause and something that's dear to my heart. I'm not physically helping them, but I'm helping raise money for the cause that affects them."

Davis, a human development/family studies major from Bedford, acknowledges the vital role that nonprofits hold in healthcare professions.

"Doctors and nurses take care of the health needs, but nonprofits help fund further research and advocacy needed in the healthcare system," she said. Davis has also devoted numerous volunteer hours to the Ronald McDonald House of Kentuckiana.

Nathan Schaumleffel, campus/executive director for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, understands that health-related nonprofits are not only about fundraising.

"Nonprofits are central to advocacy and community health education," said Schaumleffel. "In fact, many hospitals are actually nonprofit organizations, making hospital administration nonprofit management."

Eric Manley, a senior insurance/risk management major from Crown Point, is pursuing the nonprofit leadership certification to work in a nonprofit health organization. He frequently volunteers at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

"I think without nonprofits many people in our country wouldn't be able to afford even the most basic health care needs," said Manley. "When nonprofits step in and provide these services at as little cost as possible to people that need it the most is the most amazing part to me. That is really why I want to get into this line of work."

Nonprofit Leadership alumnus Sidney Schuttrow serves as volunteer coordinator for the Greater Nashville (Tenn.) Area Agency on Aging and Disability.

"My job as a volunteer coordinator is to recruit and train volunteers to ask senior citizens the right questions so that we can maximize the benefits that they're entitled to," said Schuttrow.

"To be a great volunteer manager, you have to be a great volunteer," she said. "ISU taught me through community engagement and service learning projects through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance how to be a great volunteer, which taught me how to be a great volunteer manager." Schuttrow specifically credits the Special Olympics Indiana Men's Basketball Tournament event with preparing her for her role as a volunteer coordinator.

An informational video by PhilanthropyReports.org says that in the United States, one in 10 Americans is employed in the nonprofit sector, with the majority working in the fields of healthcare and education.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, which has grown exponentially in the last few years, is dedicated to enhancing both ISU and the College of Nursing, Health and Human Services' goals of experiential learning and community engagement by providing students opportunities to immerse themselves in health and human service-related nonprofit organizations.

"I want to work in a medical-related nonprofit organization with fundraising, but I don't have a lot of experience with special event fundraising," said Davis. "I'm glad to be getting that experience of seeing an event from start to finish. It's a strategy; it's a process."

"[The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance] got me to understand different aspects of working in nonprofits like volunteer management and fundraising," said Garrett, "And being able to use those tasks and competencies and turning those into real life experiences."

Other Nonprofit Leadership Alliance students working for health-related organizations include:
• Janessa Wolf, executive director, Up Til Dawn for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
• Bre Jewell, American Cancer Society's Relay for Life
• Marsailles Dortch, Hamilton Center
• Matt McPherson, Autism Speaks
• Nicole McGuire (NLA graduate student), Healthcare Excel
• Derek Kendrick (NLA alum), Healthcare Excel

Contact: Nathan Schaumleffel, associate professor and campus/executive director, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, Indiana State University, 812-237-2189 or Nathan.Schaumleffel@indstate.edu

Writer: Mallory Metheny, assistant director of public relations, Nonprofit Leadership Student Association, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773