Thirty undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Virginia arrive in Petersburg this week for the start of the Phoenix Project’s 2008 Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program (NLP). The students will live and work in Petersburg for the next six weeks and gain the knowledge, skills and connections to succeed as the next generation […]
Thirty undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Virginia arrive in Petersburg this week for the start of the Phoenix Project’s 2008 Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program (NLP). The students will live and work in Petersburg for the next six weeks and gain the knowledge, skills and connections to succeed as the next generation of nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs for Virginia.
“This year’s class is exceptional in so many ways,” said David Carter, Director of Programs for the Phoenix Project. “The students’ academic records are unparalleled and they have extensive experience serving their communities, advocating for social change, living and studying abroad, and all have demonstrated significant leadership potential.”
With a variety of academic backgrounds, with majors ranging from communications to history to geology, the students are prepared to engage in a hands-on curriculum taught by leading scholars and practitioners. In addition to college students, graduate students in business, social work and law will participate in the program. They are drawn from fourteen different colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth.
For the second year, the Mason Hirst Foundation is the chief sponsor of the program, which also commands significant support from Suzann W. Matthews and the Collis Warner Foundation. The program is also supported by local business. Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, located in Petersburg, has generously provided $10,000 in scholarships for students with financial need to attend the program. “Partnering with the Phoenix Project on this program is consistent with our support of education and continuing to build and enhance our community, and we are excited to be involved,” said Amanda Tate, Manager of Communications and Public Relations.
The Phoenix Project is pleased to have the City of Petersburg and Virginia State University as its partners for the program again this year. “Petersburg is an exciting environment for our students to live and learn,” said Marion Werkheiser, Associate Director of the Phoenix Project. “The City faces numerous challenges, but provides opportunities for students to have an impact on issues from education to economic and community development.”
Petersburg’s warm welcome to the Phoenix Project students is legendary and encouraged 2007 NLP graduate Becca McCurdy to return to the City this summer as a Phoenix Project staff member. “I loved my time in Petersburg last summer and learned so much from the community. I am excited to be back!”
During the 2007 NLP, students from 14 universities engaged in 45 education and training sessions conducted by 28 leading scholars and practitioners. They tackled 27 capacity building projects for 21 nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies logging over 8,000 hours of volunteer service.
The 2008 NLP’s six weeks are divided into a two-week academic session and a four-week experiential session. Held on the campus of Virginia State University, the academic session allows the class of 30 students to study with a highly regarded faculty, develop skills in workshops run by successful practitioners, put lessons to the test through extensive simulations and meet with Virginia’s most accomplished nonprofit, public and private sector entrepreneurs. Accomplished Virginians, including retired Virginia Supreme Court Justice John Charles Thomas, serve on the NLP faculty.
During the experiential session, students work with Petersburg nonprofit and municipal organizations to address the city’s most pressing economic and community development challenges. Rather than the traditional internship arrangement, in which a student works for a single organization, NLP students engage in teams on capacity-building projects with numerous organizations with a diverse range of missions. Students work closely with local residents and community leaders in a mutually beneficial learning experience.
The NLP creates and empowers a statewide network of talented and committed students who share an ambition to work for positive and sustainable change. The Phoenix Project seeks to prepare Virginia’s next generation of highly effective social entrepreneurs to bridge the emerging and serious leadership gap in the Commonwealth’s nonprofit sector, to expose leaders to the challenges of communities in distress and to infuse those communities with able hands and minds to assist their revitalization efforts to the benefit of the Commonwealth as a whole.
More information about the program can be found at http://www.phoenixproject.org/socialentrepreneurship/nlp/.