Nonprofit Management Ninja Michael Clark: At the Intersection of How to Change the World & What Really Matters

2015-07-31-15.22.03
By Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Executive Director, Queens Council on the Arts

Think about it.

Leake & Watts,  Row New YorkGraham WindhamThe Children’s VillageCSHBronxWorksRed Hook Initiative Harlem RBIOpen Door Family Medical Center.

At some point, all these companies told a compelling story that caught our attention — and held it.

And the more we talked about them, the more they got under our skin. Through clear stories about how they manage the great work they do, these groups won our confidence and the prestigious Nonprofit Excellence Awards.


Managed by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New YorkThe New York Community Trust, and Philanthropy New York, and sponsored by WNYC, the Awards program gives organizations a FREE 360-degree review of their key management strategies in eight nationally-recognized key performance areas.

Winning organizations receive a total of $60,000 in cash awards and scholarships for Columbia Business School Executive Education Programs in Social Enterprise. Winners are honored at a special Best Practices Workshop & Awards Presentation.

What did these groups do to capture attention, enlighten, and inspire a roomful of grant reviewers focused on the practice of excellence?

Some say you can build upon best practices and grow your nonprofit through excellent programming.

That may be true, but only if the way you manage your organization follows a certain philosophy and structure.

But the truly great ones drink a different Koolaid and achieve remarkable success in serving their communities and achieving their missions.

How? By focusing on the work needed to create exceptional management practices.

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

How to structure your nonprofit management

Many years ago, Michael Clark embarked on a mission to make a meaningful change in the world.

He was passionate about helping nonprofits become better at doing their mission based work and making the lives of the people they serve better.

How? By focusing on the work needed to create exceptional management practices.

I feel as if I have been given a gift.

To read a stack of grant applications that can stack up several feet in the air?

To review, debate and argue over nuances in the criteria of 8 areas of nonprofit management practice?

To sit cookieless and overcaffeinated in a meeting with 40 other equally exhausted people?

Yes to all that, and more.

I have been given the opportunity to be part of Michael Clark’s vision as a member of the selection committee and to learn from a master.

As Michael steps down from his position at the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee to begin a new chapter of life, I want to share some of the valuable wisdom we have all gained from working with him.

As Judy Levine so aptly said, “Michael did his work based on 5 principles.”

VISION

Michael’s consistent vision of recognizing and encouraging exemplary management practices among New York’s diverse nonprofit community.

PASSION

His life’s work is focused on creating a better, more just world through the empowerment of its citizens.

WISDOM

Underlying all of his efforts is the knowledge and acceptance of what it takes to have lasting impact in this work.

CONVICTION

Michael knows what really matters and believes in deeply held principles.

EXCELLENCE

This program was created to spur the sector to management excellence.  During his career, he never settled for less.

Mix and shake well.

Now you can raise your potent drink to toast the accomplished and noteworthy career of Michael Clark.

Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer is a member of the Selection Committee for the 2015 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards. Check out her website at hoongyee.com.

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