April 26, 2019
MetroWest Nonprofit Network Partners for Nonprofit Training

July 31, 2018 — The MetroWest Nonprofit Network, a Framingham nonprofit that connects regional nonprofit organizations with resources to help them fulfill their missions, yesterday announced it has launched a partnership with Framingham State University to help train the next generation of nonprofit employees.

The MetroWest Nonprofit Network (MWNN) said the initiative aims to further connect students and faculty with the local nonprofit community while addressing workforce development needs through the creation of a robust menu of professional development program options including credit, non-credit bearing certificate programs, and graduate-level programs for nonprofit practitioners.

MWNN Executive Director Anna C. Cross said, “We are thrilled that Framingham State University will join with us in the work of empowering nonprofits and supporting next-generation leaders. We look forward to working with the University to create true capacity for nonprofits, students, faculty, and the community.”

There are nearly 6,000 registered nonprofit organizations in MetroWest, including more than 1,300 who connect directly with MWNN. Many of the executives and CEOs of these groups who delayed retirement after the 2008 recession are now retiring, creating succession and leadership gaps, she said.

F. Javier Cevallos, president of Framingham State University (FSU), shared Cross's enthusiasm for the venture, noting, “Civic engagement is an important part of the university’s mission and we are fortunate to be located in a region that is home to thousands of dynamic nonprofit organizations.”

The new partnership comes on the heels of a survey of 103 MetroWest nonprofit leaders, staff, and board members conducted last February, in which more than 70% reported a need for career ladder programs for mid- and entry-level staff. In addition, 71% reported they lacked the capacity to supervise interns without support.

Goals for the partnership include:
  • Establishing a feeder system for FSU students and graduates to enter the nonprofit sector as employees, volunteers, and board members.

  • Increasing opportunities for students to access local nonprofits for service learning and project-based learning opportunities.

  • Creating and enhancing continuing education, professional development, and degree options for the existing nonprofit workforce

  • Increasing access and visibility for FSU within the nonprofit community by building on successful MWNN programs.
MWNN, founded 25 years ago, serves small and medium-sized nonprofits based in the MetroWest area. It is not a membership organization, and welcomes the public to its programs and events, which include its Lone Rangers Networking Series, monthly MetroWest Communicators meetings, toolbox trainings, and networking events.

Cross became MWNN's first executive director two years ago.

MetroWest is loosely bounded by Routes 128 on the east, Route 495 on the west, Route 2 on the north, and Route 109 on the south.

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