The relationship built between Dave Renz, Ph.D. and Tim Sweeny (M.P.A. ’06) has turned out to be a mutually beneficial partnership.
Renz was the instructor in Sweeny’s first graduate course, and he knew from the get-go that he wanted to connect with Renz further.
“From that initial class, I knew Dr. Renz was an outstanding and unique professor,” Sweeny says. “From then on, I sought his classes out. Even if they didn’t directly correlate to my curriculum plan, I knew it would be worth it if he was teaching.”
Renz felt an instant kinship with Sweeny as well.
“Tim was one of those students who was always interested in looking deeper,” Renz explains. “He was a learning junkie and wanted to be challenged further than simply attending classes.”
As the two began to get to know each other outside the classroom, they discovered their
unique professional skillsets could fill gaps the other was looking for.
Before founding Praxis Nonprofit Strategies, a nonprofit consulting firm, Sweeny spent time in El Salvador with the Peace Corps.
“We were working on a project through the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and were searching to contract with someone fluent in Spanish,” Renz said. “Knowing his background, Tim immediately came to mind as a perfect fit.”
And when Sweeny was asked to help with the launch of Crossroads Academy of Kansas City in 2011, he knew Renz would be a valuable addition to the team.
“In the beginning the Crossroads Academy needed help with everything from outlining a mission and vision to establishing a board of directors and strategic plan,” Sweeny says. “The school founders knew they would be best served taking these critical steps with
the guidance and wisdom of Kansas City leaders like Dr. Renz.”
This partnership showed Renz the effect his teaching had on Sweeny.
“My hope for our students is that they never lose sight of the key principles that guide them in their work in the community and for the people they serve,” Renz explains. “Tim’s dedication shows that he wholly embodies this philosophy.”