The Alabama Association of Nonprofits (AAN), a new member of Independent Sector, is the only association of its kind in Alabama dedicated exclusively to serving the nonprofit sector and the only organization in Alabama offering such breadth of training and resources to nonprofits and their leaders.
We asked AAN’s Executive Director, Danielle Dunbar, to tell us more about their work.
IS: What is your organization’s mission?
DD: Our mission is to help nonprofit organizations succeed through training, advocacy, and management support, which helps nonprofits achieve their own mission and create a better life for Alabamians.
The bulk of AAN’s program work consists of professional development training, networking, our job board, one-one-one consulting, and leadership development. AAN’s two primary programs are Elevate Alabama and a diverse learning cohort, the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI).
IS: Tell us about the communities you serve and how your work helps to advance an equitable and healthy sector and nation where all people can thrive.
DD: AAN serves communities across the state. Our focus is on training and supporting executives, staff, and board members so their organizations will become healthier. AAN uses Independent Sector’s sector health indicators to align nonprofits in Alabama with the focus areas that will improve the health of their organizations: financial resources, human capital, governance, trust, and advocacy.
AAN uses this exceptional framework in all our teachings from our monthly eNews and professional development topics to our Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI) and our own pending study of health indicators in Alabama.
Because all of these indicators are affected by equity, AAN also promotes Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging within our organization and those we serve. Our past e-newsletters have shared articles like “Growing a DEI Culture,” “7 Ideas for Pushing Your Board Forward in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging,” and “How Nonprofits Can Incorporate Equity into Their Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning.”
We put these ideas to work in our Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute where diverse leaders are learning from each other and growing in their awareness and ability to improve DEIB at their own organizations. NELI was created for underserved leaders who did not have access to traditional leadership programs. The program is increasing their knowledge and networks—and, not surprisingly—teaching those with more resources skills they need to thrive. It has been tremendously beneficial for all involved.
IS: Independent Sector brings together a diverse community of changemakers at nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs that are working to achieve a racially just and healthy sector and nation where all people in the U.S. thrive. What influenced your decision to become an Independent Sector member? How does your work align with Independent Sector’s mission and our member organizations?
DD: AAN’s vision is to have a healthy, responsive nonprofit sector that improves the quality of life for all citizens. This isn’t possible without also addressing equity. Our vision echoes IS’ work to achieve a racially just and healthy sector and nation where all people in the US thrive.
When Allison Grayson from Independent Sector came to teach and present at a recent NELI session, everyone in the room agreed that it will take all of us working together to raise up other nonprofits—and create a place where all people thrive. AAN wanted to join so we could grow our partnership with Independent Sector and work alongside others in the nonprofit community nationally to achieve these shared goals. Being part of a broad and diverse community helps AAN learn and grow—and will help us achieve more in Alabama.
Learn about other Independent Sector members and becoming a member.