Greenhill Community Center

Abstract

These teaching cases present dilemmas and escalating crises facing the new executive director of a small, multipurpose nonprofit organization. Greenhill Community Center was in transition between its founder and a new executive director, Leslie, who had a very different style, professional background and approach to management. The cases present a good overview of general management responsibilities of an executive director of a small nonprofit but also the particular challenges of taking charge after a popular founder/executive director leaves. The (A) case describes how the board hired Leslie specifically to take Greenhill from a "family-run" organization to more of a "business." During her first year, staff resist many of her early moves, and she confronts tough fundraising and program problems, including allegations of child abuse in Greenhill's day care program. The (A) case ends in a crisis involving staff, board and Leslie. The (B) case describes how this crisis escalates, ending in a standoff between the board and staff. The (C) case contains Leslie's reflections on how she could have done things differently during her first year.

These cases have been taught successfully in graduate-level nonprofit management courses to both MBA and MPA students. Because the cases present an overview of general management responsibilities and some basic principles of board management and staff relationships, they are most effectively taught early in those courses. It is likely that the cases are also appropriate for upper level undergraduate students.

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