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Public Affairs

New CSU and Minerva Collaborative Project Expands
Free Consulting Services to Area Non-Profits

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Mike Uhlenkamp
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(October 1, 2010) – The California State University Center for Community Engagement has partnered with the Sonoma-based Minerva Project (MP) in a year-long pilot program that will provide free consulting services to nonprofit organizations.

The three CSU campuses selected to participate in the pilot – Dominguez Hills, East Bay and San Francisco - will help connect their non-profit partner agencies with MP consultants who want to make a contribution to their communities while sharpening their skills.

The CSU-MP pilot program builds upon the success achieved through MP’s partnership with Sonoma State University in 2009. As a result, more than 20 Sonoma County non-profits received six-months of free professional consulting services that focused on making improvements in finance and accounting systems, website development, management systems, board development, fundraising, volunteer development and outcomes measurements.

“Consultants will provide cutting-edge work that is meaningful, contributes to the vibrancy of their own practice and improves their communities,” said Minerva Project Founder George R. Moskoff, who has been working with nonprofits since 1984. “The model will evolve as the needs of our clients evolve and our sophistication grows.” Named after the Roman goddess of wisdom, the Minerva Project is part of a statewide rollout of similar initiatives to help nonprofits while providing consultants with valuable experience.

The Minerva Project is one way CSU campus community engagement efforts work with their communities. Another example are the recent town hall meetings that the CSU Chancellor's Office helped to facilitate as a way to bring nonprofit organizations together with community members. During the 2009-2010 academic year, the CSU Chancellor’s Office made grants of $1,500 to $2,500 for campus community engagement offices to host town hall meetings with local community members and nonprofit agencies to identify existing challenges and assets. Through 57 town hall meetings involving more than 2,700 people statewide, participants brought synergy to problems that no organization could tackle alone.

“The continuing economic downturn has meant tighter budgets – for both public and nonprofit organizations – in the face of ever-greater community need, "said Judy Botelho, CSU director of the Center for Community Engagement."Doing more with less is now a fact of life, but innovative and collaborative programs can and do help. This pilot program with George Moskoff and the Minerva Project consultants enables us to continue to come together to make lasting impacts throughout California’s communities. Campus-community partnerships are built by sharing skills, knowledge and goals, and what could not be done yesterday suddenly becomes possible."

Nonprofits or consultants who are located near one of the three participating CSU campuses and are interested in exploring this program, should contact George Moskoff at george@theapgconsulting.com or Judy Botelho at jbotelho@calstate.edu.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 433,000 students year round and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. A recent economic report found that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide, annually. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending that generates $5.43 for every dollar the state invests. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.Connect with and learn more about CSU at CSU Social Media.

The Minerva Project, begun in 2009 and based in Sonoma County, is an alliance of professional, independent consultants seeking opportunities to make a quantum difference in the performance of nonprofit agencies.