Grand Valley State University's 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 lead and manage philanthropic and nonprofit organizations ethically and effectively, and go beyond traditional boundaries in the pursuit of prosperous, safe, and healthy communities.

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U.S. Job Growth by 2024
West Michigan Job Growth by 2024
GVSU Ranking as West Michigan Talent Provider

Source: EMSI, 2020


According to 2020 EMSI data, job opportunities for philanthropy and nonprofit professionals are expected to grow 8% in West Michigan and 9% in the U.S. by 2024. The median annual wage for nonprofit professionals was $68,411 but varies by region and job title. Graduates are employed in a variety of professions, including; finance; fundraising; grant writing; program development and hold the following positions:

  • Program Directors
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Executive Directors
  • Social Services Managers
  • Fundraising Managers
  • Engagement Managers
  • Community Relations Directors

Source: EMSI, 2020

The 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.

Advanced Skills

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

Common Skills

  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Communications
  • Presentations
  • Research
  • Operations
  • Coordinating
  • Writing
  • Innovation

Source: EMSI, 2020

Other Reasons to Study Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at GVSU

  • Faculty Research Opportunities. Opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research projects.
  • Innovative Curriculum. Innovative curriculum designed to meet diverse educational needs.
  • Real-world Learning. Develop skills in effective, ethical leadership and management.
  • Flexibility. The program meets the needs of part-time and full-time students with evening and weekend courses, workshops, and Web-enhanced learning.
  • Academic Resources. 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.

Course Offerings

The Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program is a minimum of 36 credits. Students will study a variety of topics, including:

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

Visit the online catalog for course offerings and degree requirements for this program.

Course Offerings


The Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership application deadlines are June 30 for the Fall semester and November 15 for the winter semester. The program admission requirements are available here. The $30 application fee is waived if you’ve already applied to Grand Valley. Visit the online catalog to view admission requirements for this program.

Admission Requirements


When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)


For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the costs portion of the GVSU Financial Aid website. For financial support, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU Financial Support website.

Note: Grand Valley does not charge a higher tuition rate based on residency. Tuition is based on the program in which you chose to enroll. 

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