Cal Lutheran to launch nonprofit center
Dena Jenson heads effort to provide leadership training

California Lutheran University is launching a Center for Nonprofit Leadership to provide needed training for the region’s charities.

Dena Jenson, who led the former Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF), is the director.

The Cal Lutheran center’s primary focus will be affordable professional development workshops for nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers. The sessions will provide hands-on training in management skills and opportunities to connect and collaborate with peers. Jenson and volunteers who are respected leaders in their fields will lead the workshops, which are scheduled to begin in September. Additional resources for nonprofits will be available online.

The center will offer workshops at Cal Lutheran’s main campus in Thousand Oaks, where it is based, and at the university’s Oxnard Center. Funding will come from participation fees, memberships, corporate sponsorships, grants and donations.

Nonprofits constitute a vital segment of the community. In Ventura County alone, there are more than 3,300 registered nonprofits ranging from all-volunteer efforts to large organizations such as hospitals and universities. They account for $2.6 billion in annual revenue and $5 billion in assets.

“Investing in the nonprofit sector and its leaders is more important than ever, and it would be hard to find a more effective investment with such lasting returns,” Jenson said.

Jenson was the vice president and director of the VCCF Center for Nonprofit Leadership from 2005 until it closed in September. The center, which was launched 25 years ago, served more than 800 organizations each year under her direction. Cal Lutheran is working with VCCF as it moves forward with plans for the new center.

“We’re incredibly fortunate that Dena has agreed to serve as director,” said Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball. “Her considerable experience will enable us to hit the ground running on this critical endeavor.”
For the last year, Jenson has been the interim executive director of the Alliance for the Arts. Prior to joining VCCF, the Ventura resident served as program and public policy director at the Perinatal Advisory Council in Los Angeles and as program director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health. She has also lectured at Cal Lutheran and Pepperdine University. She has served on the California Association of Nonprofits Board of Directors and is a past chair of the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

A public event celebrating the center’s opening will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 in Lundring Events Center on the Thousand Oaks campus. For more information on the center, contact Jenson at or 805-493-3677.