June7, 2002

USD Offers Innovative Education Program for Nonprofit Professionals

Running a nonprofit organization has always been a challenge and the current soft economy has not made it any easier. Government and charitable dollars are plummeting as nonprofits struggle to meet increasing demands for their services. To respond and thrive, nonprofits must devise new strategies for fulfilling their missions.

Beginning this fall, USD’s School of Education will offer a Master’s Degree and Certificate Program in Nonprofit Leadership and Management that will teach professionals how to maximize their organizations’ success. 

A free informational session on the new program for nonprofit professionals or those considering a career change will be held Wednesday, June 19 at 4:30 p.m. in USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Reservations are not required.

“The nonprofit sector now employs one in every 15 Americans and is the third-largest contributor to our domestic product, exceeding the banking and technology sectors as well as the federal government,” says Pat Libby, coordinator for USD’s new program. “These organizations play a vital role in improving the quality of life in San Diego and other communities, but many nonprofit administrators haven’t had the training to create high-performing organizations.”

“Nonprofits are facing enormous challenges with declines in government and private support trends that have been exacerbated in the current economy,” Libby says. “We’ve designed this program with and for practitioners, specifically to address the challenges they are facing in management, fund-raising, resource development, planning, marketing and a whole host of other areas.”

“The program is a great opportunity for San Diegans involved in the business of providing social services in this community,” says Roger Cazares, president and CEO of the MAAC project. “The course design and faculty bridges the gap between theory and ‘in the trenches’ leadership and practice,” say Cazares, who sits on the program’s  advisory board. USD’s program will be the first of its kind in Southern California and one of about 100 programs in the nation.  Libby, who also teaches nonprofit management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a strong background in operating nonprofits.  During the 1990s, she led a coalition of community development organizations in Boston that raised $150 million for affordable housing development.

“We want to serve all types of nonprofits in San Diego — health care, social service, arts and religious and ethnically based programs,” Libby says. A survey of local nonprofit leaders found that more than 70 percent of respondents see a need for a master’s and certificate program in non-profit management, she says.

USD’s master’s program, which can be completed in two years, will be offered during late afternoons, early evenings and weekends to accommodate working professionals. There will be a discount for non-profit staff and board members and some scholarships are also available. For more information call 619-260-4538 or go to http://www.sandiego.edu/~mji/NLMP/brochure.pdf.  Applications for the coming year will be accepted through July 31.

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