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Philanthropy training goes online

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By Todd Cohen

The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., is launching an online certificate program in philanthropic advising for nonprofit and financial services professionals.

Headed by H. King McGlaughon Jr., former director of the Merrill Lynch Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management, the new program initially will offer three classes leading to a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy certificate.

Created 75 years ago as part of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and spun off as a separate institution in the 1950s, the American College traditionally has offered executive-education graduate and undergraduate courses, mainly through distance-learning technology, for financial services, banking and insurance professionals.

The initial curriculum will include a basic course on charitable-giving tools and techniques, a separate course on how nonprofits can create a charitable-giving program using those tools and techniques; and a third course on how nonprofits can operate and administer charitable gifts.

McGlaughon said he hoped to develop two more courses in the next 18 months, one on the types of assets used in planned giving, the other on building relationships among advisers working with donors.

Students typically take four to six months to complete each course, which costs $700, is taught mainly by teams of faculty members and consists of 12 assignments or modules. Text materials, videos and chat rooms are available online, and exams are given at 300 testing centers run by Sylvan Learning Centers.

The school, which offers classes at its campus in a four-day residential program, also is teaming up with the Association of Fundraising Professionals to offer classes to its members in selected cities, starting with Philadelphia.

Working with local AFP chapters, the school expects to offer classes one night a week for 12 weeks in roughly 10 cities over the next year, McGlaughon said.

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