February 9, 2011

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network, with support from the state government, today launched a new resource for the state's nonprofit organizations.

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network, also known as the University of Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Initiative, developed "Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Kentucky," which offers guidance on practices that will help Kentucky nonprofits comply with federal and state laws. It recommends practices for all aspects of nonprofit leadership and management. The guide and accompanying workbook, training and online resources are designed to support organizational development by promoting the implementation of best practices for transparent and effective management of nonprofit organizations.

"A team of reviewers from across the commonwealth shared their expertise to make this a Kentucky-specific resource," said Danielle Clore, director of the nonprofit network.

Clore said the program, which was developed from successful models in other states and focuses on the highest standards, was created because stronger, more effective nonprofits can provide improved services to clients and constituencies and enhance organizational experience.

Nonprofit organizations play a central role in shaping and strengthening communities, employing roughly one in 10 Kentuckians and contributing nearly 10 percent to the gross state product. Clore said staff members and board leaders of these organizations face increasing challenges such as greater community needs, heightened demand for accountability and limited or declining resources.

"At a time when so many Kentuckians are in need and expectations for nonprofits are high, we are pleased to launch this timely, easy to use, accessible tool that can help nonprofit executives and board leaders build their capacity and ultimately serve their communities with transparency and accountability," she said.

Governor Steve Beshear recognized the importance of nonprofits to the people of the state and the value of the network's new program.

"Kentucky nonprofits are essential to the quality of life in our communities and a valuable partner to government in providing human services, access to the arts and education, environmental programs and more, but they are also important to Kentucky's economy," he said. "We applaud the Kentucky Nonprofit Network's launch of this important program, and we encourage all Kentucky nonprofits to use these resources to strengthen their governance, improve effectiveness and promote transparency, which will allow them to better achieve their missions."

Over the last two years, the State Auditor's Office has created a set of recommendations for public and nonprofits boards based on findings in several high-profile audits the office has completed. State Auditor Crit Luallen said they've worked with and heard from numerous staff and board members from nonprofit organizations who want to understand their responsibilities better and govern in a more transparent way.

"The development of "Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence" builds on this awareness, as it offers guidance that encourages accountability and education to strengthen the nonprofit community," Luallen said. "The work of the nonprofit community is vital to the future of our state, and this program offers every nonprofit the proper support to succeed."

Clore and Luallen announced the "Principles and Practices" program during a press conference Wednesday at the sixth annual Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol.

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network is an association serving nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes across the commonwealth. The network is an outreach program of the UK College of Agriculture and serves as a resource for nonprofit boards and staff, an information center on effective nonprofit organizational practices and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole.

For more information about "Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Kentucky," including free downloads of the tools and access to the accompanying resources, visit the Kentucky Nonprofit Network's website, http://www.kynonprofits.org/.

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