Pacific, Nonprofit Association of Oregon Partner to Grow Nonprofit Capacity

A new partnership between Pacific University and the Nonprofit Association of Oregon will help grow capacity of community services well into the future.

Nonprofit Association of Oregon Executive Director Jim White and Pacific University President Jenny Coyle sign a partnership agreement at a celebration at Pacific
Nonprofit Association of Oregon Executive Director Jim White and Pacific University President Jenny Coyle sign a partnership agreement at a celebration Oct. 11, 2022. See more photos

Representatives from the two organizations met on Oct. 11 to celebrate their partnership over the university’s new Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program, which launches in January.

“This is a dream come true for us for the future of nonprofit development and leadership,” said Jim White, NAO executive director.

The new master’s degree program will be run by Pacific University, with guidance from faculty and an advisory council from the nonprofit world, including White.

“The university could start a program, but without having a wonderful partnership with organizations like NAO, it would not stay relevant for long,” said Corky Reynolds, director of the new degree program. “And it’s not something NAO could do by itself either. We’re going to be truly, truly making an impact for the nonprofit world.”

The master’s degree program will focus on growing the leadership capacity of the nonprofit industry — the third-largest segment of the U.S. economy. Coursework will focus on topics ranging from managing people to budgeting to resource development, with a specific focus on the unique aspects of the nonprofit world.

“This is about nonprofit leadership, not management,” White said. “You can get an MBA or MPA, and it may mention nonprofits, but Pacific and NAO are both 501(c)3s. We know how nonprofits work and how important they are to society.”

Students will be able to choose a generalist program or optional concentrations in rural or environmental nonprofit leadership, both high-interest and high-need segments of the field.

Open to everyone from recent college graduates to mid-career nonprofit leaders, the program is designed for working professionals. It is offered completely online, with evening and weekend courses, and can be completed in 13 months full time or two- to three-year part time. That flexibility, White said, was critical to his organization’s partnership with Pacific.

“We’ve been approached by a number of universities, and Pacific is the only one that prioritized not requiring place-based learning — and this was before COVID,” White said. “Many students will be working professionals. We really need to provide for the future of our profession.”

Applications are now open for the inaugural class, which begins in January 2023 with a virtual residency and continues with six- to eight-week blocks of courses.

Pacific University President Jenny Coyle, who was a dean at Pacific when the program first began development in 2018, said it is a perfect fit for Pacific’s mission-focused academic offerings.

“It is important for us as a nonprofit ourselves to give back and pay it forward to the nonprofit community,” she told local nonprofits at the partnership celebration in October. “We’re eager to support you at Pacific and eager to learn from you and from our students.”


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Monday, Oct. 17, 2022