Nonprofit Leadership Alliance names WMU program best in the U.S.

The undergraduate program in nonprofit leadership at Western Michigan University--a program that allows students to actually award grants to meet community needs--is the one in the nation that exemplifies overall best practices.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance announced Jan. 7 that WMU's Nonprofit Leadership Program is this year's winner of the Sprint Program Excellence Award. The alliance is a national organization of more than 40 collaborating universities and nonprofit organizations.

Students studied community needs, set priorities, issued requests for proposals, and analyzed 23 proposals. They visited nonprofit sites and conducted a Nonprofit Celebration. The School of Public Affairs and Administration allocated $18,000 and the students raised an additional $2,000 to re-grant $20,000 to local nonprofits during the  2013-14 academic year.

For this year, the students have another $13,000 from the school and have raised an additional $2,000 so they can award $15,000 to community organizations in spring 2015.  

WMU's Nonprofit Leadership program is designed to prepare students for entry-level professional positions in nonprofit organizations. The minor requires 18 credit hours of course work in such areas as communication, marketing and public relations, cultural competency and diversity, financial resource development and management, leadership and advocacy, legal and ethical decision making, program development, and volunteer and human resource management.

In additional to traditional course work, this minor requires service to the university and the community.

Applications for the 2015 award were by invitation only and required creation of a video and PowerPoint as well as a live online presentation. Students in the WMU Nonprofit Leadership Student Association focused their application on recruitment, service learning, internships, the rigor of the WMU program, and involvement with the local community. Their video can be seen here.

WMU's undergraduate minor in nonprofit leadership can be taken with any major from any college. The University also offers a concentration in nonprofit leadership within the Master of Public Administration program.  

Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University