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Learning. Leading. Acting. Responding to COVID-19, racial injustice and economic hardship.

The Richard M. DeVos Center at Grand Valley State University.

Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, M.P.N.L.

The Master of philanthropy and nonprofit leadership prepares students for careers or advancement in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector through classroom study, applied research, professional development, and field experience. Students will learn to act ethically and effectively in leading and managing philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, and to transcend traditional boundaries in the pursuit of prosperous, safe, and healthy communities.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The M.P.N.L. degree is for professionals with at least three years of full-time experience in management, and/or employment within the nonprofit sector. It consists of 36 credit hours of coursework. Students can pursue the following emphases:

  • Community impact
  • Mission advancement
  • Nonprofit healthcare
  • Customized with approval of advisor

Why Study Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Grand Valley?

  • Grand Valley is actively involved with the community.
  • The program meets the needs of part-time and full-time students with evening and weekend courses, workshops, and Web-enhanced learning.
  • Grand Valley library's endowed Johnson Collection for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership is one of the country's most comprehensive collections of books, journals, and audiovisuals on the nonprofit sector.

Location & Format

Classes for graduate students in this major meet downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

  • Face To Face


Students will study a variety of topics, including:

  • Financial management
  • Fund development
  • Grantmaking
  • Marketing
  • Nonprofit management
  • Program evaluation
  • Social entrepreneurship

Career Options

Graduates are typically employed in a variety of professions, including:

  • Finance
  • Fundraising
  • Grantmaking
  • Program development

Skills Employers Want

The M.P.N.L degree at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings in the nonprofit leadership area.

  • Fundraising
  • Public Relations
  • Philanthropy
  • Budgeting
  • Strategic Planning
  • Social Work
  • Fund Development
  • Planned Giving
  • Program Development

Application Deadline

Application deadline for fall is June 30; winter semester deadline is November 15. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Admission Requirements

A complete application to the M.P.N.L. program requires the following:

  1. A completed graduate application.
  2. A nonrefundable application fee unless the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University and has paid this fee.
  3. An official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution.
  4. Three letters of reference from informed sources.
  5. An essay on career and educational objectives (250 to 750 words).
  6. A resume.
  7. Submission of an official TOEFL or IELTS score report is required of applicants whose native language is not English.

Visit the online catalog for details.

For More Information

School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration
288C DeVos Center
(616) 331-6575

Graduate Admissions Office


“Every time I go to class, I come back to work the next day with five more things I want to incorporate into my job.”



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