Founded as the Grant Information Center in 1992 to bring national funding to Memphis to leverage local giving. Lucia Gilliland, Governor Ned McWherter’s Representative in West TN, founded the Center, along with Gid Smith, President of the Community Foundation and Harry Shaw, President of United Way. Initial services included training, grant writing and research (through a pool of grant writers). Seed funding was provided by the Plough Foundation, United Way Venture Fund, and the Memphis Rotary Club. The City of Memphis, Division of Housing and Community Development, contracted with GIC to provide a Grant Writing Assistance Fund to help subsidize the hiring of grant writers for federal proposals.
Changed name to The Grant Center
The Day Foundation provided support for a capacity building fund, which began GC’s evolution into capacity building.
The Day Foundation provided support to hire a Washington Representative to track legislation and proposed regulations impacting nonprofits, as well as help nonprofits seek earmarks. This began our advocacy work.
The Alliance started the Program for Nonprofit Excellence (PNE), a three-year whole systems approach to capacity building, with the first cohort of seven participating organizations. Seed money was provided by remaining funds from the Day Foundation and a $50,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation. (Pictured: The 2009 Graduating Class)
An anonymous donor awarded the Center a $500,000 challenge grant for PNE with the condition that we raise an additional $500,000. We were successful in raising the funds. We broadened our training program to include topics on nonprofit management.
In 2005, we adopted a new mission of strengthening nonprofits and began to offer management consulting. We held our first Annual Conference.
Our name changed from The Grant Center to The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence to better encompass all aspects of our mission and the first PNE cohort graduated.
We began doing our first research on the Mid-South sector with publication of Downstream and In Demand, which highlighted the impact of the recession on nonprofits.
In 2013, the Alliance was rebranded and developed key messaging around effective leadership and the importance of nonprofit within our community.
The Alliance restructured to focus on three core areas of operational excellence: financial sustainability, human capital and impact.