PROGRAM HEAD FOR THE ACADEMY FOR NONPROFIT EXCELLENCE
Her adventuresome spirit inspired her to scuba dive, and her creative side is evident by the striking homemade stained glass adorning the window in her office at TCC’s Workforce Development Center.
The same passion Lillian Bailey pours into her hobbies is equally obvious when she talks about her work at the college. Bailey has been program head of the Academy for NonProfit Excellence since its inception in 2004.
The Academy, sponsored by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and TCC, has been affiliated with more than 400 nonprofits and trained more than 1,075 people in areas including communications and fundraising, hiring practices, leadership and “creating newsletters your donors can’t wait to read.” While some classes are one- and two-day sessions, a Certificate in Nonprofit Management is also offered that has students earn 10 continuing education units in five core areas.
The content of the program is continually evolving so that it is relevant to the current climate and legislative issues surrounding nonprofits.
“I like the content to be fresh,” Bailey says. “The instructor lineup is dynamic. They are people out in the field who are experts in the subject matter they are going to teach. To hear most of the instructors, you’d have to attend a major conference, so it’s been a unique opportunity for the nonprofit sector to have that resource here.”
Capacity building remains the academy’s main goal or doing more with less. Nonprofits strive to ensure donor dollars go directly into programs and outreach, particularly given the current economic climate.
Bailey brings the perfect background to the program, given her education and range of experience as a volunteer and board member for several nonprofits.
She deems herself an Air Force brat, having attended 13 schools in her 12 years. As a youngster, she lived in Guam, Texas, California, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and South Carolina. Initially she planned for medical school, but marriage and three children modified that dream. Her travels continued in marriage as her husband, Wayne, was a federal agent, enabling her to live in the Philippines, Sicily and Italy.
When Bailey finally settled in Virginia, she turned to TCC. She earned an associate of science degree, joining her daughter, Sarah, in the medical assistant’s program. That led to adjunct teaching, though Bailey remained intrigued by organizations.
“I was interested by the aspects of organizational management,” she says. “Having lived and volunteered in several foreign countries provided the opportunities to observe a variety of organizational structures and management styles.”
That led to her bachelor’s in organizational management and development from Bluefield College. Bailey’s enjoyment of teaching motivated her to complete a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech, leading her back to TCC for the debut of the academy.
“I was excited about the opportunity to create a program,” she says. “I enjoy the challenge of the creative process. That’s what drew me to the academy – the concept and creation of it. Now, having worked with so many different nonprofit organizations, my commitment is driven by the depth of commitment to community service demonstrated by nonprofit staff and volunteers.”
Bailey enhanced her education with a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She has an additional master's certificate from the University of Virginia in electronic marketing.
Eventually, she hopes the academy becomes a program other community colleges will emulate.
“I’ve had people travel from other states, to take classes,” she says. “Community colleges in Massachusetts, Texas and Florida have called about replicating the program. Work is under way to develop an academy in Lynchburg."
Her free time is largely dedicated to her stained glass hobby, scuba diving or spending quality time with her grandchildren, Clay, 13, and Madeline, 4. She remains committed to her work at TCC as well.
“I love what we do, and that’s because I have deep, abiding respect for those working to improve life in our community through the nonprofit sector,” Bailey says. “Their hearts are huge, the way they care for one another is amazing, and they are passionate about their organizations and what they do.”