READING, PA (November 4, 2019) – I was interviewed by a regional publication recently and the reporter asked me, “What makes a nonprofit different from a real business?”

I hate that question. I understand why people ask it, but it makes me nuts.

Nonprofit organizations are businesses. They create budgets. They file complicated tax forms with the IRS (and some even pay taxes depending on the make-up of their operation). They manage clients – both those who invest in their services and those who consume them. They raise operating capital. They compete for complex government contracts. They manage boards of directors. They manage staff. They contemplate how to provide health benefits when the premiums creep up year after year.

Sure, there are tiny nonprofits that barely survive, living on the good will of volunteers, just as there are tiny for-profits that barely survive, living on the good will of the Bank of Mom and Dad. There are also giant nonprofits that make life-and-death decisions (hospitals) and educate generations of young people (universities), just as there are giant for-profit companies hard at work to change the world.

And just like the leaders of for-profit businesses, the leaders of nonprofit businesses can be more successful when they pursue ongoing professional development, usually by attending industry conferences and seminars or furthering their education in some other way.

Nonprofit Management Certificate

Nonprofit Management Certificate

Here at the Community Foundation, we work with nonprofit organizations every day because generous people in Berks County created funds with us, usually through their wills, to support the causes they cared about. As a result, we distribute hundreds of grants each year to local nonprofit organizations across the full spectrum of size and expertise.

We see how important that the work these organizations do is to our community. That’s why we’ve partnered with The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University’s School of Business to create Berks County Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Management Certificate.

Starting in February 2020, leaders from Berks County’s nonprofits can participate in an 11-month series of classes and webinars on topics like financial forecasting, dealing with difficult board members, communicating in a digital world, and strategic planning. Each class and webinar will be taught by an instructor from The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle, and all of the in-person classes will be held in downtown Reading at our office.

It’s our way of helping Berks County’s nonprofits grow, prosper, and get down to business.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can find the details at

Nonprofit Management Certificate


Heidi Williamson
Vice President for Programs and Initiatives
Berks County Community Foundation