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University of Memphis to Launch Online Master of Nonprofit Management in Fall 2021

ALSAC helped design curriculum to reflect rapidly changing nonprofit, philanthropic workforce

Memphis, Tennessee, June 14, 2021

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission recently approved a new online Master of Nonprofit Management (MNM) at the University of Memphis. The program, which will launch this fall, is the first of its kind in the State of Tennessee and the Mid-South region, giving students the option to specialize in social justice or fundraising and philanthropy. The Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration (DPNA) will begin accepting applications immediately.  

“We are very excited to offer this program, which grew out of our already popular nonprofit concentration in the existing Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership programs,” said Dr. Sharon Wrobel, chair of the DPNA. “As the demand for nonprofit education increased among our students and the sector more broadly, we saw the need to create a standalone program that provides the tools and knowledge necessary to lead and transform nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.”

Of the 4,300 postsecondary institutions in the United States, there are just 41 graduate degrees in nonprofit management and fundraising. Only 18 of those programs are online.

The curriculum, designed in collaboration with ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, and other area nonprofits, reflects the needs of the rapidly expanding nonprofit workforce in Memphis and the Mid-South. ALSAC will join University of Memphis’s nonprofit partners to guest lecture as subject matter experts. This will give students the opportunity to hear unique perspectives from different leadership roles across a variety of organizations, including CEOs, development directors, board members and more. 

“The creation of the online Master of Nonprofit Management in partnership with the fantastic leaders and academic environment at the University of Memphis is a powerful reflection of the increased demand and opportunity for careers that focus on purpose, particularly as the world has recognized need for philanthropy that drives change from tremendous social justice needs to global healthcare,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC. “As the world’s largest healthcare charity and one of the largest employers in the region, we believe in making Memphis a center of excellence for the knowledge and practice of philanthropy to transform nonprofits locally, nationally and around the globe.”

University of Memphis Admissions Building

University of Memphis

According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, nonprofits generate the third largest payroll income and constitute 8.1% of private employment in Tennessee and 10% in Shelby County. From 2007-16, nonprofit employment in Tennessee grew 14.3% compared to 5.5% in the private sector. This mirrors national trends at 16.7% and 4.6%, respectively.

“When it comes to hiring and retention, it is critical for purpose-driven organizations like ours to support the professional growth of top talent who desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves. This education program ensures the nonprofit leaders of tomorrow are equipped to change the world,” said Shadyac.

Wrobel echoed this sentiment, adding many of the University’s external partners employ departmental alumni and look to hire graduates from its programs.

“Our faculty and students are a valued resource to the community, providing capacity-building services and timely research for local nonprofits. Through a Master in Nonprofit Management, the Department will leverage these assets and activities to attract the best and brightest students in the field, and further the University mission by providing the highest quality education focused on research and service benefiting local and global communities.” 

This program also will serve as a destination program for students around the world who want to pursue a career in nonprofit work while also enhancing the University’s role as a catalyst for community and economic development in the Greater Memphis area.

About The Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration
The University of Memphis Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration promotes responsive, responsible and professional public service through teaching, research and community engagement using a practice-based curriculum centered on nonprofit and urban management. Current academic programs include a nationally ranked and accredited Master of Public Administration, Master of Nonprofit Management and graduate certificates in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and Local Government Management.

About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Media Contacts:
Chuck Gallina
University of Memphis
(901) 678-1756

Nancy Newton
ALSAC/ST. Jude Children's Research Hospital
(901) 275-2580