The Community Solutions Incubator believes in the power of social innovation and creativity to address our community’s most significant challenges. And we believe that local community members are best able to identify our unique problems and offer effective solutions.
At the Community Solutions Incubator, emerging and young nonprofit entrepreneurs are able to pilot their ideas and create supporting structures alongside other social innovators in a well-resourced co-working space, receiving hands-on mentorship and guidance from some of the area’s most successful community leaders in a variety of fields and disciplines. The Community Solutions Incubator fosters a generative and innovative environment in which the next generation of community leaders and organizations will emerge, not only strengthening our local community but potentially producing replicable programs across the nation
Program benefits include:
- 5 educational sessions to learn how to start and sustain a nonprofit
- Hands-on mentorship and feedback from experienced nonprofit professionals
- Social networking opportunities
- Additional free training and resources through CFECI’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence
- Access to a well-resourced co-working space at CFECI’s office location
- Connections through our growing incubator alumni group
- Microgrant upon successful completion of the incubator program (pending funding availability)
2023 Program dates:
Incubator members will have in-person monthly meeting expectations for 10 months, February-November 2023 in this order:
- STAGE 1: Five Educational Sessions at CFECI – Feb-Apr 2023
- Community Needs & Visioning – Tues. Feb. 7, 8:30-10:00 a.m.
- Basics of Running a Nonprofit – Tues. Feb. 21, 8:30-10:00 a.m.
- Developing a Business Plan- Tues. Mar. 7, 8:30-10:00 a.m.
- Marketing & Storytelling – Tues. Mar. 21, 8:30-10:00 a.m.
- Financial Management – Tues. Apr. 4, 8:30-10:00 a.m.
- STAGE 2: Mentoring & Feedback – May-Nov 2023
- Spring Social Event
- Monthly 1:1 Mentoring with an Experienced Nonprofit professional (schedule to be coordinated between mentor/mentee at a mutually agreeable time)
- Group Mentoring & Feedback Sessions
Incubator members leave our program with:
- Understanding of the nuts and bolts of running a nonprofit organization
- Technical skills for building organizational infrastructure
- Understanding how to efficiently run a nonprofit
- Skills to form and run your board ethically and effectively
- Understanding how to market the impact of your work and gain supporters
- A network of nonprofit founders and service providers to support you while you grow
The application to join the 2023 cohort of the Community Solutions Incubator closed on January 15, 2023. We anticipate our next application cycle will open in December 2023.
Center for Nonprofit Excellence Director | Community Foundation of East Central Illinois
Genevieve Kirk is the Center for Nonprofit Excellence Director at the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, and manages the Community Solutions Incubator. With 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and public sectors, her goal is to build, nurture and promote a strong community through effective nonprofit management. Most recently, she was the Executive Director at the Champaign Center Partnership and an adjunct instructor in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois where she has taught courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Change, and Nonprofit Sector and Society.
Center for Nonprofit Excellence Advisory Group
- Wynne Korr – Chair, Professor and Dean Emerita of the School of Social Work at UIUC
- Marc Changnon – CobraVenture at Parkland College Entrepreneurship Facilitator
- Tracy Dace – Founder and CEO, DREAAM
- Genevieve Kirk – Director, Center for Nonprofit Excellence at the Community Foundation of East Central IL
- Benjamin Lough – Associate Professor of Social Work, Director of Social Innovation at Gies College of Business
- Angie Hatfield Marker – President and CEO, Community Foundation of East Central Illinois
- Rebecca McBride – Founder and Executive Director, 4 Osprey
- Mike Royse – President at Center for Community Adaptation, LLC
- Valeri Werpetinski – Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Education at Gies College of Business UIUC
Our Founding Partners
Do you have professional skills that can help new and emerging nonprofits to grow and sustain their ventures? Are you interested in becoming a nonprofit mentor? Please complete this form and return it via email by May 1, 2023 to express your interest in becoming a mentor!
Current Incubator Members
Provides low-income families with high-quality foods to promote health and wellness in the form of heart-healthy Mediterranean diet-informed meal kits.
Transforms vacant lots into green spaces in low-income communities, empowering community members with education about green incentives and ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Women on the Move Network Global
Provides women of all ages and ethnicities, and former foster youth attending 4-year institutions in Illinois, will resources to realize their full potential and pursue their passions with confidence.