Join the second round of ND Impact Partners

Author: Christine Cox


Are you an ND business alum looking to make a difference for a Chicagoland nonprofit? Then ND Alumni Impact Partners wants you.

The Office of Graduate Alumni Relations is accepting applications for the second year of this tremendous program that pairs teams of alumni with nonprofits. The 2015 participating organizations and corresponding projects are:

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, volunteer process improvement for the Celebration of Giving: For 67 years Catholic Charities has managed one of the region’s largest Christmas gift giving programs, the Celebration of Giving. In 2014, more than 20,000 gifts were collected for children and adults who otherwise wouldn't have gifts on Christmas. The program is run out of offices in Lake County and downtown Chicago. The sites are run separately and have always maintained separate logistics and external program messaging. Catholic Charities is looking to create cohesive external messaging around the program and analyze the program logistics and how to better utilize volunteers. Hundreds of donors and thousands of gifts are collected and distributed in a short amount of time. Publicity for the program generally begins in mid-summer, with collections starting in early fall and running through Christmas. This project would help analyze existing messaging and logistics and provide recommendations on how the program can grow, including analyzing how corporate partners and parishes can become more involved in the program and we can better utilize volunteers, who are much-needed to make this huge undertaking a success.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, social enterprise strategy: Catholic Charities manages several social enterprise programs. These programs employ Catholic Charities clients in a variety of industries to help provide job training and experience to the clients and/or they serve as revenue-generators for the agency to support its programs. Catholic Charities would like help in developing an overall marketing plan and business strategy for one of these social enterprise programs. In addition to an overall plan, Catholic Charities welcomes ideas on how to leverage each individual social enterprise program to attract new customers and recognition of the programs.

The National Association for Down Syndrome, new market opportunity research: The focus would be to expand the organization outreach in the Down syndrome community. One of the organization’s five-year planning goals is to increase the number of people served. Areas of focus for this objective would include researching what communities the National Association for Down Syndrome is currently not providing services to in the Chicagoland area, furthering outreach to new families especially in the Hispanic and African-American communities, and developing new ways to connect with individuals with Down syndrome and their families. The outcome of this objective would increase the base of individuals/families supported and expand the footprint of the National Association for Down Syndrome into new communities.

Misericordia, foresight for special needs care: Misericordia offers a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities, many of whom are also physically challenged. By serving society’s most vulnerable citizens, Misericordia also serves the families who want the best for them, yet cannot provide it at home. The alumni team would work to identify global trends that will affect continuing care for individuals with developmental disabilities, and provide recommendations related to leveraging future opportunities and solving future challenges related to these trends.

"We are very excited to get going with our second round of ND Impact Partners,” said Tim Ponisciak ’03, MBA ’07, graduate alumni relations director at Mendoza. “After seeing the tremendous work done by our alumni consultant volunteers last year, I know that we will be able to form new teams of alumni to help this year's group of nonprofits achieve their service goals.”

Steve Connors, board president for the National Association for Down Syndrome, said he is thrilled his organization is participating. "Our Board of Directors and staff are excited to have the opportunity to work alongside Notre Dame alumni to advance our organization's goals," he said. "The business acumen and professional experience of ND alumni volunteers will help us develop our membership base and better serve the Down syndrome community in the Chicago area.”

Teams work on strategic projects from April through October. Participants should be willing to commit 6-8 hours a month.

Click here for more information and to fill out an application. Applications are due February 28.

For questions, please email Ponisciak at