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Mendoza alumni partner with Chicago nonprofits

| Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Notre Dame Impact Partners, a program run by the Mendoza College of Business’s Graduate Alumni Relations Program, pairs Notre Dame alumni who have experience in business with nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area. The alumni then use their expertise to tackle projects that range from nonprofit outreach to assistance in mergers, director of Notre Dame Impact Partners Timothy Ponisciak said.

“The Office of Graduate Alumni Relations manages the program with the goal of offering a community service activity to our alumni that allows them to utilize the business skills they gained while at Mendoza in order to assist a nonprofit organization with tackling an organizational challenge that perhaps it would not typically have the resources and funds to handle,” Ponisciak said.

Ponisciak said the program began a year ago, when the Graduate Alumni Relations Program realized it offers many networking and career development opportunities to alumni but does not offer many community service opportunities.

“Last year, we had three projects completed for three different nonprofits,” he said. “This year, we will have four different projects for three nonprofits, as we are coordinating two projects with Catholic Charities.”

Many students choose to study in Mendoza because of its emphasis on service, Ponisciak said. He said Notre Dame Impact Partners seeks to continue this emphasis.

“There are a number of opportunities for students to leverage their business skills while in school in order to benefit their community,” Ponisciak said. “We wanted our graduates to continue to have opportunities to do this after school.”

Alumni who participate in the program find it very rewarding — both personally and professionally, Ponisciak said.

“It is a tangible way to give back to their community in a way that has a long-term effect,” Ponisciak said. “It is a great way to meet like-minded alumni in the Chicago area, and it’s also a great way to get some relevant experience if considering a transition into working for a nonprofit or if one is interested in joining a nonprofit board.”

Ponisciak said his experience as director of the program has allowed him to connect with alumni he would not have met otherwise.

“Directing ND Impact has allowed me to see just how talented our alumni are and how diverse their skills and backgrounds are,” he said.

The program hopes to increase the number of locations in which it has partnerships in the future, Ponisciak said.

“We are currently looking to expand into another city, possibly Washington, D.C., so that the program is offered to other alumni groups as well,” Ponisciak said.

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