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Arizona State University College of Public Programs

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Has Hired Alison Rapping & Patrick McWhortor

June 29, 2005

Welcome to this Special Edition of The Arizona Nonprofit Community Report.

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A Note From Our Director


The ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management has been building out a robust portfolio of "knowledge and tools for nonprofit effectiveness." This portfolio includes research, education, technical assistance and convening activities designed to build the capacity of the nonprofit sector in our region.

In addition, human and financial resources through our Center's relationship to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, has made possible a number of community and state-wide efforts that complement the mission of our Center to improve the quality of life in communities by providing knowledge and tools that enhance the effectiveness of those who lead and manage nonprofit organizations.

This leadership role also includes working with the Arizona Community Foundation and other key individual and organizational champions to incubate and launch the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits as described in the announcement that follows. We look forward to continuing our leadership role in the future.


Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits
P.O. Box 16162
Phoenix, Arizona 85011-6162


Collaborative effort begins with exciting appointments

A fireball of energy and thoughtfulness mixed with the technologically savvy and steady-as-you-go presence offered the ideal collaborative strengths to lead Arizona's new statewide association for nonprofits. The board of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits announces it has hired Alison Rapping and Patrick McWhortor to co-lead the start-up organization as it takes shape to support a variety of needs and issues in the nonprofit sector in Arizona. Well-known and highly-regarded as nonprofit leaders, McWhortor and Rapping are the founding executives of their respective nonprofits, and deeply involved at the national level in their organizations.

For the past 11 years, Alison Rapping has led Make A Difference in Phoenix, an organization that empowers and mobilizes diverse groups of busy, committed citizens in meaningful volunteer projects. Working to help more than 400 nonprofits fulfill their missions, Make A Difference is known for its spring Serve-A-Thon and its fall Community Leadership Forum, along with its everyday work in cultivating service leaders - from engaging volunteers in reading to children in underserved communities to painting shelters and much more. "Alison has transformed Make A Difference and the way nonprofits are supported during her leadership there," says Bruce Astrein, a trustee of the Alliance and senior vice president of programs for the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF), one of the founding and funding organizations of the Alliance. "We're thrilled to have her energy, passion for community work, and depth of understanding of the nonprofit sector focused on the whole of Arizona. She left big footprints with her tiny feet at Make A Difference. We're confident she'll make an even bigger mark for all nonprofits across our state."

Rapping was named Executive Director of the Year for mid-sized nonprofits in 2004 by the Organization of Nonprofit Executives. She has served in national leadership roles as well as with Hands On Network, a national organization which has affiliates like Make A Difference in more than 45 U.S. cities and nine international locations. Rapping, a graduate of Valley Leadership who was recognized as a 40 Under 40 by The Business Journal in 1999, also has volunteered in the areas of affordable housing, education and nonprofit leadership. Prior to her tenure at Make A Difference, Rapping worked for the National Academy of Social Insurance in Washington D.C. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst.

Patrick McWhortor in 2003 became the first CEO at NPower Arizona, one of a network of affiliates across the country helping 501(c)(3) nonprofits access and use technology to expand the reach and impact of their services to better serve their communities. Recently, McWhortor was tapped to also serve a six-month term as interim Executive Director of NPower National Network advancing the interests of 12 affiliate members across the country. The Arizona affiliate, under his leadership, grew from a start-up to a 10-person, 95-member organization serving the needs of hundreds of nonprofit staff and saving nonprofits more than $270,000 in IT costs and software in 2004 alone. "Patrick brings a solid practice of nonprofit leadership to the Alliance, along with an incredible grasp on a critical capacity-building tool for the sector - technology," says Angela Melczer, chairperson of the Alliance's founding board of trustees and deputy director of the Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scouts. "He's been passionate and engaged in this concept of shoring up the nonprofit community in Arizona for a long time, so it is a natural transition to take his role to a higher level."

Prior to his work with NPower, McWhortor worked as the state director and national access director at Libraries for the Future and worked on education and environmental issues at the Arizona legislature. He also was the assistant director at Data Network for Human Services, where he developed much of his knowledge about the nonprofit sector. In the private sector, McWhortor worked with a small technology firm. He's also taught public policy, political science and computer courses at ASU and Maricopa County Community Colleges. Volunteering is also on the list for this Cave Creek resident. McWhortor has served on various nonprofit boards, including Kids Voting Arizona and the Organization for Nonprofit Executives (ONE), among others. He is a Valley Leadership graduate and holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in public administration from ASU.

The Alliance

For the last several months, the Alliance has been ramping up quietly behind the scenes to get important foundational pieces in place, such as pulling together the detailed paperwork to secure its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and applying for membership in the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, which works with the statewide nonprofit associations that already exist in 36 other states. "A number of individual and organizational champions from all over Arizona have been engaged in thoughtful study about what would be best for our communities," says Dr. Robert Ashcraft, a member of the incorporating board of the Alliance and Director of the ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management. "When we make the commitment to be an "alliance" in every sense of the term, a two-person leadership team made all the sense in the world. Between Alison and Patrick, who have been a part of the evolution of the Alliance nearly from the outset, we couldn't think of two better people to lead the effort." The ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management, through its strong partnership with the Kellogg Foundation, has joined with the Arizona Community Foundation to provide a majority of the resources in founding the Alliance, including seed funding for the first three years of the start-up cost of the new enterprise.

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits will offer its state-wide members public policy and advocacy support, quality information and training, as well as a host of benefit and cost-saving programs. Arizona has more that 22,000 nonprofits, with an average of 40 more created each week. They include groups focused on arts & culture, health care, education, environmental..and so much more. "With all of the challenges that our diverse and young sector faces, the time is right for the Alliance to give voice to the nonprofit sector," says Tim Delaney, President of the independent Center for Leadership, Ethics & Public Service, who - with grant support from ACF - authored a recent study of Arizona's nonprofit sector (The Spirit of Arizona) and incubated the development of the Alliance. "A healthy and vibrant nonprofit sector benefits all Arizonans. So having dynamic and well-respected nonprofit leaders like Alison and Patrick at the helm will help our state's nonprofits fulfill their missions and thereby serve people and communities across Arizona."

ACF's Astrein notes that not only do Alison and Patrick represent the next generation of leadership within the nonprofit sector, but that the state-wide Alliance itself will serve as a groundbreaking model for nonprofits across the country. Following an open search, Astrein and Ashcraft, as co-chairs of the search committee for an Alliance executive, and Melczer, as founding board chairperson, made the decision to actively recruit McWhortor and Rapping for this new collaborative leadership model. "We wanted to consider innovative ways to run a nonprofit, especially one that's here to help nonprofits navigate their way into the future," says Melczer. "While Arizona is the 37th state to form such a statewide association of nonprofits, we believe that the creative structure for the organization and now the powerful, new leadership model will put us in a strong position to serve the needs of Arizona's nonprofit sector."

Rapping will continue as President and CEO at Make A Difference until she transitions to her Alliance leadership role September 1, 2005. McWhortor will continue in his leadership roles with NPower until joining Rapping in October.

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits is a new statewide nonprofit membership association of, by and for Arizona's nonprofits with a mission to enhance the well-being of the people and communities in the state by serving, supporting, protecting and promoting Arizona's nonprofit sector.


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