February 23, 2024
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California Lutheran University to launch nonprofit leadership center


Story updated at 11:45 a.m. on July 14:

California Lutheran University has tapped a former Ventura County Community Foundation executive to start a nonprofit leadership center that aims to help fill the void created by the VCCF’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership closure.

The Thousand Oaks-based university is launching a Center for Nonprofit Leadership in September that will provide hands-on management training and additional resources for nonprofits. Dena Jenson, who led the former Center for Nonprofit Leadership at VCCF, will head the center on CLU’s Thosand Oaks campus.

CLU told the Business Times in September that it was considering ramping up its nonprofit leadership operations.

“We’re exploring if we can help the community that is so important to us to deal with the gap that emerged through the discontinuation of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership,” Dean Gerhard Apfelthaler told the Business Times in September.

The university has courses on nonprofit management and a Center for Leadership and Values that provides research and consulting services for nonprofits. The new center will not replace the Center for Leadership and Values.

“Investing in the nonprofit sector and its leaders is more important than ever, and it would be hard to find a more effective investment with such lasting returns,” Jenson said in a news release.

In Ventura County alone, there are more than 3,300 registered nonprofits ranging from all-volunteer efforts to large organizations such as hospitals and universities. They account for $2.6 billion in annual revenue and $5 billion in assets.

Jenson was the vice president and director of the VCCF Center for Nonprofit Leadership from 2005 until it closed in September. The center, which was launched 25 years ago, served more than 800 organizations each year.

The VCCF undervalued donor-restricted funds due to improper fund management, according to the findings of an independent fiduciary review released on June 22.

The seven-month report by auditor KPMG found that the foundation invested permanent funds in money-market accounts, over-allocated interest income to VCCF’s unrestricted funds and charged excessive fund administration fees.

The VCCF submitted the review to the California Attorney General’s office, said VCCF President and CEO Vanessa Bechtel, who took over the job from Hugh Ralston in February 2015.

• Contact Alex Kacik at akacik@pacbiztimes.com.