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Graduate Certificate Program Supports Social Impact Leaders Grow Their Impact 

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The nonprofit sector currently employs roughly 12.5 million people across the U.S., including 25 percent of the workforce in Washington, D.C. Yet, 75 percent of nonprofit leaders are planning to leave their positions in the next 5-10 years, resulting in about 500,000 nonprofit leadership roles that will need to be filled. 

UMD’s 4-course Nonprofit Management and Leadership Graduate Certificate program is equipping and training nonprofit leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the sector, advance their careers, and confront the unique challenges that nonprofit organizations face.

Students take courses in nonprofit financial management, fundraising, strategy, and leadership from world-class faculty and staff with decades of experience.

“In the beginning, it didn't make sense because I never worked in finance before or had a clue about what they do, but now I can say I feel comfortable helping my executive director come up with a budget or analyze her 990 forms to see if the organization is doing well.” - Imari, Business Development Specialist

“I have only taken two classes so far in the certificate program, but I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit Financial Management and Nonprofit Management and Leadership have taught me theories, skills, and definitions that are directly applicable to my job. Even though the classes have been virtual, Professors Dietz and Franco are dynamic and knowledgeable. I'm excited to continue progressing through the program.” –-Hillary, Grants Management Associate

Meet Our Students and Faculty 

Our students are diverse, but all come to the program with similar goals in mind: to gain the knowledge and skills they need to be effective leaders. Some students work for nonprofits and want to take their career to the next level; others are already in leadership roles but want to learn new skills and stay up to date with current trends; or students may have established their own nonprofit organizations and are seeking innovative ways to advance their organization’s mission; and several students are seeking a more purpose-driven career and are seeking to pivot towards the nonprofit sector. 

Throughout the program, the community of students have the opportunity to learn from faculty who have decades of experience in the nonprofit sector from leading research projects and creating programs in the federal government to founding and leading their own social impact organizations, and securing tens of millions of dollars from global corporations. Their research is often featured in prominent outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN and routinely published in peer-reviewed journals. 

“I am thoroughly impressed with the world-class instructors and curriculum in the program. Having professors who are recognized thought leaders as well as having deep connections in the nonprofit space affirms that I made the right choice to begin the next chapter of my career.” - David, Vice President for Digital Transformation

More Than Classmates, Community

Students who enroll in the program join a robust network of nonprofit and philanthropy professionals. They often cite the diversity within the cohort model as a key strength of the program. Certificate students come from a range of educational and professional backgrounds and include those with entry-level experience and professionals with more than 30 years of experience.

“The cohort was a wide range of ages and backgrounds and everyone worked well together. We got to take classes together multiple semesters and we got pretty close. This is something I love about nonprofits. All of the stories and personalities that were in the cohort were really interesting.” --Rachael ‘20, Associate Director of Development

“A hallmark of this certificate program has been their willingness to help me and other students get connected to career opportunities.” - Brianna ‘20, Director 

Location is Key

The University of Maryland is uniquely situated between two major hubs for nonprofit employment - Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. There are numerous membership organizations, national and international charities, performing arts organizations and museums, advocacy organizations, think tanks, and foundations headquartered in or around Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. 

Learning In and Out of the Classroom

The program is built around experiential learning and teams-based consulting projects which give students real world-skills they can apply directly to their jobs. Classes incorporate ample professional development opportunities through inviting guest speakers to attend and workshops on a variety of relevant topics. 

"I was able to apply what I was learning in my courses almost immediately at my job. I was appointed to the strategic planning committee by my organization's CEO to help lead the process as we plan for the next 3 years of strategy and growth." – Samantha, Senior Director of Community Engagement

What Comes After the Certificate

After completing the program, alumni are able to advance in the workplace and even shift careers. Deborah Cahill and Belén Fernández both earned their Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership in December 2019. Belén joined the program to shift her career from law to the nonprofit sector. By the end of our program, she earned a position as the Human Resources Manager at Identity, Inc., a nonprofit that serves over 3,000 Latino youth and families in Montgomery County, Maryland. Deborah was recently promoted to Vice President for Youth Development and Education Research at Child Trends, the nation’s leading research organization focused exclusively on the lives of children and youth. 

Recent graduate and winner of the 2021 Do Good Challenge says the following about his experience in the program: 

“My time in the Graduate Certificate program has been nothing short of extraordinary. It has been a transformational experience for me and our organization, ROOTS Africa… Everything I learned in my classes was applicable in the real world...with every single course I took, there seemed to have been alignment with what my organization needed at that point in time. We are better off today because of this experience.” - Cedric, Founder and Executive Director

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership here. Questions and want to connect with someone? Send us an email or schedule a 20-minute window for a call


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Megan Campbell
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