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USC Price to launch new nonprofit leadership and management degree

The first class will be enrolled next summer

The USC Price School of Public Policy has established a new Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree.

Building upon the school’s nationally ranked academic programs in philanthropy and nonprofit management, the program will provide leaders with the expertise to lead high-performing nonprofit organizations. The program will enroll its inaugural class next summer.

“The Price School is exceedingly well positioned to contribute depth, understanding and value to the study and practice of philanthropy, nonprofit management and social innovation,” said USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott. “With this new program, we offer yet another distinctive avenue for making a difference in communities, both here and abroad.”

Challenges in the nonprofit sector

The degree will reflect the increasing role of nonprofits and philanthropy in public service delivery, policy advocacy, community change, and social innovation and impact; it also builds upon the school’s research expertise and professional connections housed in the school’s Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy and the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation.

“The challenges of leadership in the nonprofit sector are fundamentally different from the other two sectors due to its mission focus, the complexity of multiple funding sources, the unique legal and regulatory environment, and the array of interactions with government and business,” said James Ferris, holder of the Emery Evans Olson Chair in Nonprofit Entrepreneurship and Public Policy and director of The Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy.

“The program will provide greater depth for many students pursuing careers in philanthropy, nonprofit management and social innovation,” he said, “and it will enrich the offerings for students in our other highly ranked degree programs at the master’s level, particularly in public policy, urban planning and public administration.”

Social impact in various sectors

The curriculum will focus on key components of leadership for social impact: from board governance, financial management and fund development to economic strategy, program evaluation and strategic planning. The program will allow students to engage with high-performing philanthropic and nonprofit organizations in the Los Angeles area through a capstone course.

Upon completion of the program, students will have an understanding of the nonprofit sector, as well as the leadership capacity to navigate the challenges of making a social impact in today’s world. Graduates of the program can go on to lead organizations that make a difference — service delivery nonprofits, advocacy organizations, social enterprises or philanthropic institutions.


Price alumni, many of whom currently serve in high-level positions within the nonprofit sector, welcomed the addition to the school’s degree offerings.

“As a Price alumna who has spent decades working in the nonprofit sector, I am thrilled that the school has developed the new program,” said Irene Hirano Inouye ’70, MPA ’73, president of the U.S.-Japan Council and chair of the Ford Foundation board of trustees. “This program will be of tremendous benefit to anyone working in the nonprofit sector, leading philanthropic organizations or serving as a nonprofit board member or volunteer.”

The program is designed for professionals with several years of work experience in the nonprofit sector as well as those seeking to establish a career in this area. The Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree will be offered as a one-year cohort program for students enrolled full time — enabling working professionals at various career stages to dedicate a year for in-depth study. Students can also pursue the degree on a part-time basis over two years, complemented with internships.

“To support the continued advancement and professionalization of the nonprofit sector, we must ensure that the next generation of nonprofit leaders has the technical, managerial, analytical and leadership skills required to navigate the unique challenges of nonprofit organizations,” said Fred Ali, president and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “The Price School’s new degree will do just that, benefiting not only the nonprofit sector but more importantly, the communities and people that it serves.”

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USC Price to launch new nonprofit leadership and management degree

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