New Leadership for Hodges University’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Hodges University News

Nonprofits in Southwest Florida will once again be able to participate in professional development and learning opportunities thanks to Hodges University and its decision to appoint Dr. Noreen Thomas as director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

A lifelong educator, Thomas is the former executive vice president of Edison State College (now Florida SouthWestern State College). With more than 40 years of experience working in higher education, she retired from Edison in 2010. However, she continues to teach in the doctoral program at National American University.

“I have a passion for higher education, as well as continuing education,” she said. After sending a congratulatory note to Dr. Donald Wortham, president of Hodges University, she informed him of her activity within the nonprofit community, as well as her knowledge of the university’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence. Meeting with Wortham, the two discussed the desire for nonprofit leadership development in Southwest Florida. Soon after, she contacted Dr. William Griz, dean of the School of Allied Health and former director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Hodges.

“It has been an honor to watch the Center for Nonprofit Excellence grow and help nonprofit communities in Lee and Collier counties. Dr. Thomas brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit governance and leadership. I know she will do a phenomenal job,” said Griz. 

Aiming to provide convenient workshops and professional development opportunities to nonprofits, Thomas plans to offer monthly programming on both the Fort Myers and Naples campuses starting in July 2017. In addition, she aspires to build an advisory group to focus on programming for the center, saying, “I would like to see it composed of key stakeholders from United Way agencies, Community Foundation agencies, as well as two to three key nonprofit agencies.”

Planning to provide three tracks for nonprofit leaders, her focus is on intense leadership development for board of directors and executive directors; stewardship and operations, which can range from marketing to overseeing operations to stewardship with donors; and providing a service component for emerging and accelerated nonprofits.

“For emerging nonprofits that are just beginning, Hodges could serve as an incubator, providing space, consulting and other services for a nominal fee. For nonprofits considered accelerators, they can receive the same things but more conducive to what they need in order to succeed,” she explained. “Our vision is to enhance the nonprofit community within this region by providing training and development opportunities, as well as providing services to help nonprofits launch their missions.”

For more information, email Thomas at

About the Center for Nonprofit Excellence:
The Hodges University Center for Nonprofit Excellence serves as a leader in the training and support of nonprofit organizations. Its mission is to enhance the governance, management and operations of nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida. Seminars provide information on roles and responsibilities of board members, legal and financial best practices, strategic planning, fund raising, volunteer management and other topics relevant to the operations of a high-quality organization.

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