Lawrence Donoghue, Evening MBA, ‘84
I built my career in banking and small business lending. About six years ago, a former manager of mine told me about the Rustandy Center’s On Board conference. I attended that conference and got me engaged in various nonprofit activities, which I have found so satisfying personally. I joined the board of Connections for the Homeless and got involved in several committees, including the executive committee and strategic planning committee. I also got heavily involved in their program of advocacy for more affordable housing in our Evanston community. In addition, I went back to school to get a nonprofit management certificate to give myself a firmer base of knowledge of the nonprofit world, including board leadership, fundraising and key industry trends.
My first BANC project was with the Women’s Business Development Center, which wanted a strategic review of their microlending program. It was great to work with other alumni on this project. I found it very rewarding to use my 25 years of small business lending experience to help them with an important strategic decision—how to grow their microloan portfolio to meet the growing need for capital by women and minority entrepreneurs, while minimizing the risks of that growth. We recommended an approach using government lending program, plus some new risk controls and governance enhancements. The board seemed very pleased with our recommendations and they began implementing them right after the project concluded.
I am now just getting started with a new BANC project, which will be focused on helping StreetWise magazine develop a new social enterprise. This new enterprise will help them to serve their clients in new ways and also bring in new revenues. I have been a supporter of StreetWise for at least 10 years and its mission of serving the highly vulnerable homeless population is near and dear to my heart. I am looking forward to brainstorming with our team to identify a social enterprise that will work for StreetWise's client base and help the organization expand their services.
Lastly, I've also joined BANC’s steering committee. Among other initiatives, I'm working with several other alums in planning a fifth-year celebration of BANC. So far, BANC has completed 24 projects for nonprofits in the Chicago area and 132 Booth alums have participated as consultants in these projects. We have a lot to celebrate!