Jenifer Vick--Bringing meaningful nonprofit experiences to students | Distance and Online Education
University of Iowa

Jenifer Vick, lecturer and co-director of the Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy Certificate program came to the University of Iowa in 2016.  The Certificate of Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy is a newly-created certificate program that merges the two related certificates—Nonprofit Management and Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication together.  Most nonprofits are small to medium in size and require professionals be well-versed in multiple functions, so providing this wider breadth of knowledge is important to UI students who will soon be utilizing those skills on the job.

Before coming to the UI, Vick worked as a professional fundraiser and communication strategist at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids.  Four Oaks has over 20 locations in Iowa, so this gave Vick on opportunity to get to know the State of Iowa. 

One of Vick’s primary responsibilities was to develop community volunteers to fundraise for the TotalChild program. TotalChild is a long-term holistic program focused on helping children become successful adults.  Working with the organization’s leadership, the board of directors and the capital campaign planning committee, Vick recruited, trained and managed the campaign volunteers to successfully meet a $6 M fundraising goal. This campaign supported 1353 children in Linn County alone.

Yet when you ask Vick what she views as one of her best work experiences, it’s an easy answer.  “I have had the most amazing time working with University of Iowa students.  They are eager to learn and have a true desire to impact the world in meaningful ways.”  Vick adds, “I loved my previous work as a professional fundraiser, but now I get to share my experience with students who will lead and influence nonprofits in countless communities throughout Iowa and the nation.” 

Helping students envision a meaningful career in the nonprofit sector also benefits local and state nonprofit organizations.  Vick helps students connect the dots between their skills and interests and the career opportunities available following graduation.  Many of these opportunities for Certificate graduates are in Iowa.

Vick’s students have gone on to do important nonprofit work.  Julia Erickson, 2016 is now the Development Coordinator at CommUnity in Iowa City. CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank is a volunteer-driven organization that provides immediate and nonjudgmental support for individuals facing emotional, food, and financial crisis. CommUnity’s (previously called the Crisis Center) history dates to the 1960s.

Cindy Garcia, 2018 is a communication associate at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa.  Located in Des Moines, the ACLU of Iowa is a state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union and is a non-partisan organization that fights to advance civil liberties and uphold the Iowa and U.S. Constitution. 

Vick has also been a longtime volunteer in Iowa. Currently, she is most active as a board member for the Iowa Music and Arts Association (IMAA).  IMAA plays host to the Tournament of Drums which Vick is the chairperson for.  The Tournament of Drums is an annual competition held in Cedar Rapids each summer.  This long-standing tradition brings Drum and Bugle Corps from around the country to Iowa. 

The Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy is collaboratively administered by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Management and Organizations.  Dr. Jill Smith, Tippie College of Business is also a co-director of the program.  Visit https://uc.uiowa.edu/certificate-nonprofit-leadership-and-philanthropy to find out more.