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University of Chicago launches Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Free, two-year program will help strengthen nonprofit organizations working on Chicago’s South Side

A new nonprofit management certificate program launched by the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement and School of Social Service Administration (SSA) aims to help nonprofit professionals in their work to build a stronger South Side.

The free, two-year Certificate in Nonprofit Management, designed for early to mid-stage nonprofit professionals, was created in a collaboration between SSA and the Office of Civic Engagement’s Community Programs Accelerator. Leaders who earn the certificate will be equipped to create, grow and operate sustainable, effective community-based organizations. And because the program is cohort-based, participants will develop a strong network of peers who are engaged in the effort to improve the quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“This certificate program is designed to strengthen the individual up-and-coming leaders of community-based nonprofits as well as the civic infrastructure on the South Side,” said Ryan K. Priester, director of community programs for the Office of Civic Engagement.

A core course plus evening and weekend workshops form the heart of the program. SSA Associate Professor Jennifer E. Mosley, Ph.D., an expert on the nonprofit sector whose research focuses on the role nonprofits play in advocating for human services and under-represented populations, will teach the core course. Workshops, taught by practitioners from major nonprofits and consulting firms through the Community Programs Accelerator, will cover topics essential to operating an effective nonprofit, including how to build a productive board, use financial tools, improve fundraising and marketing, and evaluate programming.

SSA Dean Deborah Gorman-Smith, and Emily Klein Gidwitz, professor, said the school is the ideal home for the new program. “As a school that led in defining the field of social work, we know that social change must be guided by research, evidence and community collaboration. Nonprofit leaders who want to drive long-term, transformative change will benefit from gaining new skills, developing practical strategies, and using data in ways that will take their organizations to the next level and build a stronger South Side.”

The following community members are invited to apply to the certificate program: Nonprofit sector employees who work in or focus on Chicago’s South Side; current or prospective board members of community-based organizations; and volunteers with a long-term commitment to an organization’s mission. Prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree or 300 hours of verifiable work or volunteer experience at a nonprofit, plus a demonstrated commitment to Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. The application for the first cohort is open at, and courses will begin in Fall 2019. The application deadline is August 1.

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