Stewardship for the Greater Good

The Center for Leadership (CFL) at Hope College has completed multiple consulting projects with Koops Automation Systems, a company based in Holland, Michigan, that designs, builds, and integrates automation systems for the manufacturing sector.

But this academic year, rather than contract with CFL Consulting to do additional work with the company, Koops approached CFL Director Doug Ruch to propose a different model: Koops would make a donation to the CFL to sponsor consulting services and problem-solving expertise for two local nonprofit organizations.

“Beacon of Hope, One 17 International, and the Center for Leadership have been a part of our ecosystem for a number of years and are doing great work in our community,” said Paul Brinks, president and CEO of Koops. “Our role in the projects was to be a relationship-building catalyst that would enable all three organizations to grow and flourish.”

They were ideal projects for CFL, too: “The adage of our CFL Consulting program is outstanding value for clients, invaluable experience for students. These two projects are a great example of making that adage a reality,” Ruch said. “Two wonderful organizations benefited from their consulting team’s work, and both provided excellent experiences for our student consultants. We are deeply grateful to Koops for sponsoring these two projects.”

Three Hope students were assigned to each project team, along with an experienced practitioner coach. For Beacon of Hope, CFL worked to develop and recommend an optimal staffing plan to support the organization’s growth. Beacon of Hope is a Christ-centered counseling ministry that provides free counseling services to community members in five locations throughout West Michigan.

Hope student Danielle Spoelhof was assigned to the One 17 International team. “One 17 International is a growing local nonprofit organization that provides Christian education to students in Haiti and Cambodia,” she explained. “We were able to bring strong concluding recommendations to enhance One 17 International’s marketing strategy, donor cultivation, and financial growth.”

Spoelhof and her CFL team worked to develop a marketing and fundraising plan to support the nonprofit’s five-year growth strategy.

“We jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with the wonderful students of Hope College through participating in the CFL program,” said Curtis Stout, Executive Director. “Hope’s students added value to our mission by taking on work that isn’t always easy for a small non-profit to complete due to time constraints and staff capacity limitations. Hope’s students shared valuable insights by benchmarking other successful organizations and creating suggestions for how we can improve our reach in the community and grow our donor base.

“Doug Ruch, the CFL leader, was able to put together a diverse team with a variety of experiences and knowledge. Doug’s passion for both the students of Hope and the impact they can make for local nonprofits and businesses is contagious,” Stout said. “The students of Hope embodied the CFL’s core value of servant leadership by openly receiving feedback and working hard to develop solutions that will ultimately impact our students in Haiti and Cambodia!”

“I am so fortunate to have been a part of such a transformational project,” Spoelhof said. “It has the promise to be transformational not only for One 17 International, but also the Hope College Center for Leadership — and myself.”

Curtis Stout at One 17 International is similarly grateful for the work of CFL, and for the generosity of Koops for making it all possible: “It was a blessing to work with Doug and his motivated group of next-generation leaders! We are also extremely thankful to the Koops team,” Stout said. “Koops sets a high standard for generosity and vision as they model what it looks like to leverage their resources to impact people beyond their walls.”

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