Helping a Changing World: Bowdoin’s 4th Annual Nonprofit Symposium

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Organizer Meg Springer focused this year’s Nonprofit Symposium on change, looking at how nonprofits respond to changing times and people’s changing lives.

“How do we anticipate or plan for change?” Springer addressed the audience of students and nonprofit professionals who had gathered in Moulton Union for the half-day symposium. “And how can you make good change happen in your community?”

The yearly event is geared toward students considering a career in the nonprofit sector. Springer, an assistant director in Career Planning, always invites many alumni and local nonprofit professionals to join the 60 to 70 students who participate. “What better way to figure out what the nonprofit world is all about than bringing together student volunteers with professionals working in the field?” Springer asked.

Karin Lapping, keynote speaker for the 4th annual Nonprofit Symposium

Karin Lapping, keynote speaker for the 4th annual Nonprofit Symposium

This year’s guests included 18 alumni and professionals, along with 10 Bowdoin faculty and staff. A panel of participants — CeCe Camacho, global COO of Sustainable Health Enterprises; Maine Handmaker ’11, founder of Brunswick FoodShed; and Ian Yaffe ’09, executive director of Mano en Mano — spoke about how they’ve anticipated or embraced change in their work. Karin Lapping, senior director of health and nutrition at Save the Children, was the keynote speaker.

Besides listening to the speakers, students and nonprofit professionals engaged in roundtable discussions. Springer included staff from nonprofits that work in a broad spectrum of areas, including finance, the arts, the environment, law and public policy, education, and health and human services.

In her address, Lapping said her interest in social justice and traveling drew her to her career. She has lived and worked for Save the Children in Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Save the Children, an international NGO with a $1.6 billion annual budget, works with children and families in over 120 countries, including the United States, especially in times of crisis such as war, conflict and natural disasters.

At the moment, Save the Children is evaluating the type of organization it wants to be in 2030, and how it can keep helping children 15 years from now, according to Lapping.

“We’ve identified trends that will affect children,” she said, including climate change and natural disasters that can disrupt schools, create food shortages and spread disease. Just a two-degree rise in temperatures will expose millions more people to malaria each year, Lapping said.

In her particular area of health and nutrition, Lapping said she needs to become more educated about obesity and related diseases. “I’m used to working on malnutrition or hunger,” she explained.

So what does this changing world mean for NGOs? Lapping said organizations, and the people who work for them, need to be “adaptable.” She advised students to gain special skills, such as foreign language skills, and to stay curious, nimble, creative, relevant and “to approach everything with a dose of humility.”

“Changing Times, Changing Lives” Symposium Participants

Bowdoin faculty and staff:
Benje Douglas, director of gender violence prevention and education
Abbie Killeen, assistant professor of theater
Cynthia Kingsford ’80, assistant director of career planning
Andrew Lardie, McKeen Center associate director for service and learning
Birgit Pols, director of health services
Elizabeth Pritchard, associate professor of religion
Seth Ramus, director of health professions advising
Aileen Tschiderer ’12, Career Planning employer relations coordinator
Neli Vazquez ’14, annual fund associate for annual giving

Professional participants:
Andrew Bove ’07, supervisor, Preble Street Resource Center
Hannah Chatalbash, program and development associates, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
Sam Collins ’11, operations and development director, ArtVan
Jeremy Gabrielson, conservation and community planner, Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Andrew Griswold, communications director, Telling Room
Russell Halliday ’11, returned Peace Corps volunteer, Philippines
Felicia Heider ’12, policy analyst, National Academy for State Health Policy
Julia Littlefield ’11, grant programs coordinator, CIEE
Andy Mishkin ’89, program manager, Riverview Foundation
Shana Natelson ’10, executive director, Speak About It
Rob Orton, regional recruiter (New England), Peace Corps
Erica Swan ’13, development and communications coordinator, Center for Grieving Children
Marty Szydlowski, director of finance and housing development, Brunswick Housing Authority
Jamie Wood, outreach associate, Maine Farmland Trust

 

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