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What Goes Around Comes Around: Executive Service Corps of the Triangle Dedicated to Helping Nonprofits

By Kelly Church

The Executive Service Corps of the Triangle is a unique organization made up of a group of four women who desire to help nonprofits achieve their goals. Since the organization was founded in 1987, they have been helping nonprofit groups in the Durham, NC area, affectionately known as the Research Triangle due to the close proximity of cities Raleigh and Durham and the towns of Cary and Chapel Hill.

The current Executive Service Corps of the Triangle stems from the original International Executive Service Corps, founded in 1966 by David Rockefeller who drafted retired corporate executives to work overseas in developing countries. After a decade of serving countries abroad, the organization was broadened to aid nonprofits in the United States.

"We exist to help other nonprofits increase their capacity and organizational effectiveness," says Trudy Smith, Executive Director for Executive Service Corps of the Triangle (ESC). "Ultimately, our nonprofit clients become more efficient because they receive critical consulting services that they could not otherwise afford. ESC consulting services include Board Self Assessments, Board Retreat Facilitation, Board Development, Strategic Planning, Coaching for Executive Directors, Financial Diagnostic Reviews and Custom Designed Programs to meet the specific needs of each nonprofit."

The Executive Service Corps of the Triangle is only one of 22 similar groups that are affiliated with the same network of people donating their time to help nonprofit organizations maximize their efforts. They have a small staff of 4 led by Trudy Smith, but their work is fueled by 63 pro bono consultants, mostly retired executives, across the four counties of the Triangle. Volunteers are driven by one simple mission: to "provide professional, affordable consulting services to Triangle nonprofits to help them achieve their missions."

They believe that by providing nonprofit organizations access to established executive professionals, they are able to offer a myriad of skills that may otherwise be unavailable to the group seeking aid.

"Nonprofits are usually born of a person's passion- passion to improve the world or solve problems in the community," Smith says. "Many nonprofit founders start their work without a business plan or strategic plan, and can really benefit from the expertise of our consultants who have years of business and executive experience to share. They have the passion, knowledge, training and commitment to help nonprofits make better decisions and thereby become more effective and efficient."

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