Community

Louisville’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence has named Ann Coffey as its next CEO. Coffey has served as the organization’s interim CEO for the past year.

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence has more than 500 member organizations, and works with the city’s approximately 2200 nonprofits, providing resources, consulting, advocacy and training.

Coffey was previously the chief of staff for the University of Louisville Office of Advancement, president and CEO of Louisville nonprofit Women 4 Women, and a special assistant in Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ administration. She’s the founder of leadership coaching business Forté LLC. (Disclosure: Coffey also serves on the board of Louisville Public Media.)

Coffey said everything in the world is changing right now, and that includes the nonprofit sector. One big shift she’s seen is in the ways people give.

“Many years ago, we would just write a check, and we’d send it off to our favorite nonprofit. And we would trust that things were getting done and we would go on about our daily lives,” she said. “Technology has changed all of that. It’s changed how people give, it’s changed how people want to be engaged with the issues and organizations they care about and the missions they care about.”

And she said while that leads to high engagement, which is great, it also makes it more complicated for organizations to navigate the technical side of the giving operation.

Another challenge is declining government funding, even as demands continue to rise.

“Government is doing less and less, we’re being asked to do more and more,” Coffey said. “And we need our professional and volunteer staff to be as trained as possible to handle that complexity, to handle that volume of work and that demand.”

In her new role, Coffey will lead CNPE through strategic planning to chart the next few years of the center’s future and determine how the center can best support area nonprofits. She said in Louisville, the nonprofit, private and public sectors function like three legs of a stool; as such, the city — and CNPE’s — future depends on everyone working together.

“I think that to me, is the most exciting proposition because I think all sectors want to work together,” she said. “I think it’s aligning with all three sectors. It’s building and deepening relationships throughout our sector, and it’s new partnerships that will make the difference. And I think that’s how we’ll get one plus one equals 50, which is what we need to do.”

She said some of that work will start immediately; the organization’s annual conference next month will include a conversation on redefining how the region’s nonprofit sector works together.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.