JUNE 23, 1997
by Mina Hochberg
Louis Mendoza of Woodinville recently graduated from Project LEAD, a unique program sponsored by United Way of King County, and is ready to enter the world of non-profit organization boards and committees.
Project LEAD is a four-year-old program for minorities that trains and prepares them to serve on a board for a non-profit organization. During the five-week course, students form mock boards, each of which is given a case study. The students use skills learned in class while working on the case studies.
As a graduate of Project LEAD, Mendoza has acquired skills valuable for working with others while managing a non-profit organization. Some of the topics the program covered are group dynamics and board protocol, decision-making, risk-management, fiscal management, and fund raising.
Mendoza originally began as a member of a steering committee aimed at changing Project LEAD. He applied as a student to the program when he realized he should take advantage of the valuable skills it offered. "[Now] I have an understanding of board roles regarding strategic planning and fiscal management," Mendoza said. Not only that, he added, but he now knows how to judge and evaluate an organization before deciding to join its board. "It's hard to find a right match," he said and stressed the importance of finding an organization that functions in a way he desires and is comfortable with.
Mendoza would like to serve on a board in the education field, preferably on the Eastside. He has volunteered as a parent at Hollywood Hill Elementary, as well as with the Northshore School District, since last year. This experience has given him a better understanding of how the education system works.
"There is so much out there that can be done," he said, but added that the Northshore School District is "pretty good right now." At this point, Mendoza said he simply wants to "make himself available."