Nonprofit Leadership Institute

Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns Fellowship, Learns Leadership Skills

By Scott Geisel

Elle Peifer ’21

Yellow Springs, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University junior Elle Peifer is still pursuing her OWU bachelor’s degree, but after completing a demanding curriculum in her hometown, she is a graduate of the Nonprofit Leadership Institute hosted by the Yellow Springs Community Foundation.

“Giving back to the community is very important, as it has done so much for me,” says Peifer, who is majoring in sociology at OWU, with minors in business and fine arts.

During the Yellow Springs program, Peifer studied nonprofit structure and organization, work practices and collaboration, volunteer management, marketing, development and grant writing, boards and trustees, strategic planning, financials and budgets, and grants review.

She earned a fellowship to attend the five-day spring institute during which she also served at several Yellow Springs-area nonprofits, learning about how they work, the challenges they face, and their benefit to local communities.

Her experiences included tending an arboretum of native trees with the Yellow Springs Tree Committee; assisting staff at the Yellow Springs Senior Center; monitoring bluebird populations at Agraria, a regenerative farm owned by Community Solutions; and lending a hand at The Riding Centre, a therapeutic equestrian facility.

To graduate, Nonprofit Leadership Institute participants must complete 30 hours of collaborative and project-oriented instruction, including interaction with nonprofit executive directors and other representatives and also hands-on work experience.

Peifer says one important lesson she learned is that “collaboration is important. Connection is the best marketing tool.”

Learn more about the Yellow Springs Community Foundation and its Nonprofit Leadership Institute at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at