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Cohort-based communities of learning can create lasting change in driving sectors forward. While many communities of learning exist for nonprofit executive directors, there’s a lack of similar programming for operations and finance professionals in the nonprofit sector.

After conducting interviews with nonprofit leaders and analyzing the feedback, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has launched the Nonprofit Network for Strategic Operations and Finance to strengthen the sector. The program will launch in December 2021.

Behind the scenes of powerful missions and innovative programs, nonprofits are driven by financial decisions and operational strategy. “A nonprofit is only as strong as the operations that support it,” said Tali Griffin, the Rustandy Center’s senior director of marketing, programs, and partnerships. Focused, strategic operations ensure a nonprofit is positioned for stability, flexibility, and growth.

“Nonprofit senior managers and the organizations they serve will immediately benefit from the skills learned in this seminar,” said Stacie Frank, ’02, vice president and CFO of Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “The program makes it easy for mission-based organizations to provide a high-quality professional development program for their key leaders.”

The Nonprofit Network takes the best of the University of Chicago’s research and equips operational leaders with business acumen for making forward-looking decisions. “One thing I’ve learned from Booth is how to make those strategic decisions and do it well,” said Jessica Strausbaugh, ’08, CFO for The Chicago Community Trust.

Senior nonprofit operations and finance executives will join an exclusive group of industry leaders in courses designed for social sector advancement and led by Booth faculty. This is the first program of its kind specifically targeting operations professionals and will equip them with the tools to grow and sustain effective nonprofit organizations.
The Rustandy Center Nonprofit Network for Strategic Operations and Finance is sponsored by a generous donation from Carol Lee Levin and Jerry W. Levin, ’68, and is led by Christina Hachikian, clinical associate professor of strategic management at Booth. 

After each session, participants will walk away with applicable skills they can begin to use immediately. Participants will gain skills covering: 

  • Fundamentals of innovating in a resource-constrained environment
  • Understanding data for influence and decision-making
  • Principles of interpersonal persuasion
  • Aligning systems with goals and strategy

Currently, the program is by invitation only. Learn more about the program and the Class of 2022 nomination process. 

Contact Information

If you have questions about the Rustandy Center Nonprofit Network for Strategic Operations and Finance, please email

Other Ways to Grow as a Nonprofit Leader at Booth

Interested in graduate school? Learn more about Chicago Booth’s Civic Scholars Program, an MBA scholarship designed for impact-driven professionals who work in a 501(c) nonprofit or government organization. Explore the program that offers scholarships for Booth’s Full-Time, Evening, and Weekend MBA Programs.

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