Mendoza School of Business

ND Impact Partners: Five Years In and Growing

Published: December 9, 2018 / Author: Lynn Freehill-Maye

It started in 2014 with a modest question: How could Mendoza alumni continue to use their business skills and acumen to benefit local nonprofits?

Five years later, there’s a strong answer in the form of the Notre Dame Impact Partners initiative. The program pairs Mendoza alumni with a nonprofit in their own community for four months of work on a strategic project. Annual closing dinners were recently held for the Mendoza volunteers to present their recommendations to the organizations they collaborated with and to celebrate the teamwork. Most teams are comprised of 6 alumni, who collaborate and also spend time working on individual portions of the project that leverage their specific skill-sets and expertise.

ND Impact Partners started in Chicago in 2014 and expanded to Washington, D.C., in 2015, then South Bend two years ago. The program has seen dramatic growth recently: This year 98 alumni participated across 16 teams, up from four teams in the program’s first year.

Just as promisingly, Mendoza graduates are now sitting at both sides of the table, with alumni who work at (or serve on the boards of) local nonprofits submitting projects for fellow alums to work on. The College’s Graduate Alumni Relations Director, Tim

The program’s volunteer work has entailed helping organizations reach new markets, start a new fundraising or anniversary campaign, or merge with a similar nonprofit, among other initiatives. This year in South Bend, for instance, a team worked on developing a 30th anniversary marketing campaign for the Center for the Homeless.
Ponisciak, is excited about both kinds of growth. “I think it showcases the fact that our alumni really believe in the mission of the College: to ask more of business, to ask more of yourself and show how business can be a force for good,” he says.

The Center’s director, Steve Camilleri, BBA ’94, Master of Science in Administration ’01, is a fellow Mendoza alumnus. He was thrilled with the team’s results. “The ND Impact Partners team members were so accessible and willing to help in any ways that they could,” he says. “Without question we will be implementing the recommendations made. We couldn’t believe how much information they provided in such a short amount of time that will benefit our team.”