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Nonprofit institute on move

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Undergrad studies piloted, grad certificate expands, master’s degree on tap.

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. [03.15.04] — The new Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State University is piloting undergraduate nonprofit studies, expanding a graduate certificate program in nonprofit management, and aiming to launch a master’s program in fall 2006 with a focus on nonprofit leadership.

The institute, launched last year with a $1 million challenge grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation in Raleigh, also is completing a statewide survey of nonprofits, developing topics for nonprofit research and looking for ways to get involved with and support the nonprofit sector, says Barbara Metelsky, the institute’s director.

The interdisciplinary undergraduate program, piloted this semester with an introductory course in the nonprofit sector, will be launched this fall with additional a course in the history of philanthropy, social reform and social change, and another in nonprofit leadership and development.

The certificate program, launched last fall with courses in management of nonprofit organizations, nonprofit budgeting and financial management, fund development and management systems, and personnel management, will offer an expanded personnel-management course this summer and add a course in nonprofit marketing in spring 2005.

While the master’s program will include management courses, Metelsky says, its focus will be on nonprofit leadership because nonprofit education and the nonprofit sector need “leaders who have a vision, who can work with different constituencies and gain consensus and organize people and set goals and move things forward.”

The survey, based on responses from roughly half of the more than 1,800 nonprofits that received it, should be available in April and will offer a detailed picture of nonprofits’ operations, challenges and relationships with higher education.

While details are not available, the survey found that nonprofits rated fundraising as their biggest challenge, Metelsky says.

The institute, housed in NCSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, also is forming an “engagement committee” with faculty from throughout the university and with nonprofit representatives who will develop a plan for working with and supporting nonprofits.

And the College of Humanities has hired a faculty member, and is searching for a second faculty member, who will be affiliated with the institute, and also plans to fill the endowed Kretzer Professorship with a nonprofit senior faculty member yet to be hired.

The institute also is talking with the Triangle chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals about possible collaboration, including the chapter’s conference this summer.

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