CREATE! Benefits from the Non-Profit Business Management Institute

Louise Ruhr with Create! Agro-Forester Ndiaye at one of Create!'s tree nurseries in Senegal

By Chris Cunningham

Louise's Ruhr's Eugene non-profit organization, CREATE! has trained and provided assistance to six villages in Senegal since 2010, as the country's populations were becoming increasingly affected by climate change.

She says CREATE! has helped the people of Senegal install  solarpowered pumps in hand-dug wells to support year-round crop cultivation; construct fuel-efficient cook stoves that are safer and that reduce fuel wood consumption; and establish
cooperative community gardens.

In 2012, when Ruhr wanted help developing strategies to steer CREATE!'s future growth, she turned to Lane Community College's Nonprofit Business Management Institute.

"We were pleased to discover such a comprehensive resource right here in our own community," says Ruhr, who is chief operating officer of the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment.

Since enrolling in Lane's non-profit professional development program, under the auspices of the college's Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Ruhr says CREATE! has developed a comprehensive fundraising strategy. She credits program director and instructor Tim Armstrong as "a great resource for problem-solving."

During one monthly consultation, Ruhr says Armstrong helped identify the need to develop a full-time staff position dedicated to cultivating individual donor relationships. And later, he assisted Ruhr in developing the job description that now guides the day-to-day efforts of Liz Martin, newly hired director of individual donor development.

Armstrong says Lane's nine-month small business maganement program costs $250 per quarter or $750 per year. Organizations have the option of making payments on a quarterly basis.

He has developed practical curriculum to help directors, managers and key staff craft methods for communications planning, non-profit accounting, and fundraising. Armstrong says the practical content "is hands-on that you can apply immediately."

Armstrong, who was local director at Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store prior to joining the SBDC, knows first-hand the challenges of managing non-profit organizations.

He says social service, education and arts organizations also have benefited from the SBDC classes.

For more information, call Tim Armstrong at (541) 463-6212, or email him at, or call the SBDC at (541) 463-6200.


Published by Continuing Education May 2013