Helping to learn

Students of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire are teaming up with City Year NH to help develop the nonprofit organization’s strategic plan.

City Year NH recruits 17-to-24-year-olds to work with schools in economically disadvantaged areas in the state. Part of Americorps, it also is a designated charity of socially conscious outdoor apparel manufacturer Timberland.

“About five years ago, we began to build projects with non-profits into our curriculum,” said Professor Allen Kaufman. “Through our involvement with AmeriCorps, we were able to make the connection with Timberland and City Year NH.”

Undergraduates in Kaufman’s Business, Government and Society class will be working with senior staff at City Year NH to help them fine tune their development strategies, providing research on competitors, how to generate extra revenue and how to recruit staff.

The program came about as the result of a request for proposal through the United Way Rebecca Mottern and Alison Volk, Americorps members and students of Kaufman, said City Year NH’s co-executive director, Alex Allen. “The RFP stated the students were available to do a project for a non-profit, so we submitted our strategic development project.”

Once their proposal was selected, Kaufman met over the summer with Allen, Mottern and Volk to design the service program for Kaufman’s class.

Mottern and Volk are overseeing the project. “A large portion of the students’ grades is working on the project,” she said.

Six groups, headed by City Year personnel, will be tackling a specific issue on the strategic plan. “This project is so unique because the business school is fostering social responsibility as part of its curriculum,” Mottern said. “You might find an internship here or there, but to work on project like this is rare.”

Allen said if all goes well, she and Kaufman are interested in continuing the partnership with future classes. “We don’t have a lot of hands to do this kind of research. It’s a great way for students interested in management to learn about managing a non-profit,” said Allen.

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