David Renz, Ph.D., Director

 816-235-2342, renzd@umkc.edu

David Renz is the Beth K. Smith/Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership and Director of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership. David earned his Ph.D. in Organization Studies from the University of Minnesota. An award-winning educator and scholar, David teaches and conducts research on nonprofit and public service leadership, especially nonprofit governance and board effectiveness. David’s current research focuses on governance and management in networks and socially-entrepreneurial organizations. Recently, David was recognized with the 2017 “Distinguished Achievement in Leadership and Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research Award” from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

David also serves public service organizations in many capacities, including consulting and service on councils, task forces, and governing boards. David has worked with more than 150 boards, commissions, and networks in the past two decades. Among other initiatives, he helped found the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (a network of university-based nonprofit centers) and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. David also works on leader development programming with the faculty of the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

David writes frequently for both the academic and practice communities and, with his colleagues and coauthors, has produced more than 130 chapters, reports, and articles for journals such as Nonprofit Management and Leadership, The Nonprofit Quarterly, Strategic Governance, Public Administration Review, and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. He also is editor of the recent editions of The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management and he co-edited The Research Handbook on Entrepreneurs’ Engagement in Philanthropy.

Scott Helm, Ph.D., Associate Director

816-235-6055, helmst@umkc.edu

Scott Helm is the associate director of MCNL, an associate teaching professor in the Department of Public Affairs in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, and the director of the Bloch School of Management’s Executive M.P.A. program. He has a B.A. in economics from Washington College, a M.P.A. with a concentration in nonprofit management from UMKC, and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in public administration and economics from UMKC.

Using his background in economics and nonprofit management, Helm has spent the last several years working with nonprofit organizations, assisting them with program evaluation, market research, commercialization, business planning, strategic planning, and board training. Helm has managed a variety of applied research projects and directed quantitative analysis projects, including designing and implementing program evaluations for a diverse set of organizations.

Helm’s primary research focus is social entrepreneurship. His work in this area has led to publication and several presentations at international and national academic conferences. Along with UMKC doctoral graduate Fredrik O. Andersson, Helm won the Nonprofit Management and Leadership 2011 Editors’ Prize for Volume 20 for their article, “Beyond Taxonomy: An Empirical Validation of Social Entrepreneurship in the Nonprofit Sector.”


Mark Culver, Senior Program Coordinator

816-235-5720, culverm@umkc.edu

Mark Culver earned his B.A. from UMKC and worked as Administrative Coordinator at MCNL while completing the M.P.A. program at UMKC. He then worked in both development and administrative roles for the Pittsburgh AIDS Tasks Force before returning to Kansas City and MCNL in 1999. His primary role includes assisting in the development and implementation of MCNL projects and programs. Mark manages logistics, database design and management, public relations, customer service, quality control, and evaluation in addition to performing university administrative liaison functions.

Cindy Laufer, Program Coordinator

816-235-6306, lauferc@umkc.edu

Cindy Laufer holds a M.P.A. with a concentration in nonprofit management from UMKC. At MCNL, she oversees the Board Bank and the Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge and serves as an adjunct instructor in the fundraising series. She provides nonprofits with assistance in the areas of targeted program development, customized program evaluation, contracted research, and capacity building project design and management.

Elizabeth Ireland, Doctoral Student


Elizabeth Ireland earned her B.A. and M.A. in Liberal Arts and M.P.A. with an emphasis in nonprofit management from UMKC. She is currently an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student at UMKC with Public Affairs and Administration as her primary discipline and Entrepreneurship and Innovation as her co-discipline. Her research focus is in organizational behavior and followership. She joined MCNL in 2018.

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