The quiet, light-filled elegance of the new $11 million home for the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, at Case Western Reserve University, symbolically reflects the nonprofit world's concepts of partnership and community. Established with a gift from the Mandel Foundation, the Mandel Center—a national leader in nonprofit education—officially opened its new residence during a dedication celebration on November 5.
"All of us at the Mandel Center are deeply grateful to the Mandel family for their extraordinary, sustained commitment to the Mandel Center and for this special gift of a new building to provide a home for our work," said Susan L. Eagan, executive director of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations. "Their vision, ongoing guidance and exceptional generosity have made it possible for Case Western Reserve University to be recognized as a leader in nonprofit management education. The Mandel family has been a long-time leader in the nonprofit world. Their belief in the value of the very best education for nonprofit professionals led to the Center's creation," said Eagan.
Activities included a talk by Bruce Sievers, a visiting scholar at Stanford University and adjunct professor at the Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at the University of San Francisco. He presented the academic seminar, "Private Means for Public Ends: The Conundrum of Civil Society," and drew upon his extensive service in the philanthropic sector. These include his role as former executive director of the San Francisco-based Walter and Elise Haas Fund, consulting director for the Skirball Foundation and as a senior fellow with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
President Barbara R. Snyder presided over the building dedication at the university. "The new building is tangible recognition of the Center's preeminent role in nonprofit management education and an expression of the University's continued commitment in supporting interdisciplinary and innovative education," said President Snyder.
N. Michael McKinnell of Kallman, McKinnell and Wood Architects, Inc.; Russ A. Cargo from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council; Frank Linsalata, Chair of the Case Western Reserve University Board of Trustees; and Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel, donors, joined Eagan and Snyder for the dedication remarks.
"The hallmark of our philanthropy is our commitment to invest in people with the values, ability and passion to change the world. The academic programs and services offered through the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations are at the core of our mission," said Morton Mandel. "The new building provides a home and focal point for the Center's programs, offers space for undergraduate classes, and provides an opportunity for the community to interface directly with our program and students."
Designing the Mandel Center was a collaborative partnership between Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood Architects, Inc.; the University's Office of Campus Planning; the Mandel Foundation; and the Mandel Center. Construction started last year by the management team of Albert M. Higley Company and WF Group and was completed in October.
The team worked closely to design a space that clearly connects the community of staff, faculty, and students with their neighbors. The expanse of windows captures the natural light and openness that gives one the sense of being part of the busy pedestrian community along Bellflower Road. Office space on the second floor offers similar connection to the outdoors through the incorporation of a four-season rooftop garden designed by landscape architect James McKnight.
During the daytime hours, the first floor technology-enhanced classrooms and lecture hall, with distance learning and video-conferencing capabilities, have flexible seating to enable reconfiguration for a variety of uses from small group seating to full-class size. Also on the first floor, and available to the community, are meeting spaces, a student lounge with fireplace, and a courtyard surrounded by a pergola of Honduran mahogany. When vines of wisteria and clematis fully mature, they will cover the pergola and provide an elegance and serenity to the courtyard setting and create a quiet, contemplative space.