About the Nonprofit Institute: Who We Are

NPI’s mission is to support Oregon's nonprofit sector. We seek to leverage the expertise of PSU’s academic faculty, graduate students, staff, and community partners to serve nonprofit professionals, organizations, capacity-builders, and funders.

Our Beliefs

A core set of beliefs guide our work:

  • Nonprofits are Essential: We believe that the nonprofit sector matters. Its purpose is essential and differs from those of the for-profit sector and government. It provides essential services, acts as an advocate for communities facilitates the democratic process, breeds innovation, and grows social change leaders.
  • Equity & Social Justice: We believe that equity is an essential dimension of nonprofit work. Effective nonprofits enact social justice throughout their operations, from governance structures and management practices to administration and service delivery. The advancement of equity and social justice will be integrated into the full range of our programs and initiatives.
  • Knowledge Sharing: We believe in sharing knowledge across boundaries. Drawing on a multitude of sources of knowledge, including nonprofits’ and communities’ local knowledge and knowledge from different scholarly areas of expertise, is important. It can provide new insights as well as the context necessary for problem solving.
  • Collaboration: We believe collaboration makes our work better and more effective. As with the sharing of knowledge, sharing time, talents, resources, and perspectives enables us to gain insight while at the same time share the risks and rewards that accompany innovative work.

Our Strategy

In order to achieve our mission, we utilize a set of five integrated strategies to advance the nonprofit sector in Portland and throughout Oregon. These strategies strengthen civic life and participation, and grow collective impact on pressing issues in society.  The five strategies that guide our work are:  

  1. Research: We conduct primary research and collate scholarship generated by others to create a knowledge bank that can be used to advance the organizational design, governance, and practice of nonprofit organizations. Emphasis is placed on applied research that generates knowledge of immediate relevance to address the needs and missions of nonprofits.
  2. Assessment: We strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations in Portland and Oregon by encouraging and providing resources for evidence-based evaluation and assessment practices to enhance organizational performance and increase collective impact.
  3. Consulting: We organize knowledge and develop appropriate instructional approaches and methodologies to advance the knowledge and skill base of consultants and other capacity builders who provide support to nonprofit organizations.
  4. Education: We offer high quality academic programs and learning opportunities to educate today’s leaders as well as the next generation of leaders and managers in the nonprofit sector. Emphasis is placed on programs that address a changing nonprofit landscape while focusing on community-building leadership.
  5. Collaboration: We collaborate with community partners to facilitate discussions and partnerships that build networks and bring people together to share knowledge, reflect on practice, and generate new ideas to engender a greater collective impact.

How is NPI related to Portland State University (PSU) and PSU’s Center for Public Service?

NPI is proud to be a part of Portland State University, and is housed within PSU’s Hatfield School of Government’s Center for Public Service (CPS). We are a multi-disciplinary institute that brings together the expertise of civic minded experts from across our campus.