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Transcontinental boosts nonprofit education

April 06, 2007

Recognizing the growing need for global leaders to efficiently manage nonprofit organizations, the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) announced that the ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management will be part of a consortium supported by a $65,000, two-year grant to address these issues here and abroad.

The grant, “Benchmarking Nonprofit Organizations and Philanthropy Educational Programs,” will assess existing degree and non-degree programs in nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship and philanthropic studies in the United States and Europe. A database of educational programs, qualitative analysis of educational programs, and standard requirements for internships will be developed. The consortium also will design curriculum templates for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management was selected based on its more than 20-year track record in offering nonprofit education, including its new undergraduate degree in the field – a first in the nation. The center will work with overseas experts at the Università di Bologna (Italy), Ersta Sköndal högskola (Sweden) and Oxford Brookes University (United Kingdom), which are hoping to develop programs of similar caliber.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is the consortium's leading partner, and also is joined by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Grand Valley State University. All three universities already are part of the Arizona-Indiana-Michigan (AIM) Partnership, which was funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support nonprofit organizational development.

“I am most pleased with the opportunity provided by the FIPSE grant to develop collaboration with our European partners and the AIM Partnership in the development of education in the nonprofit and philanthropic studies field for our next generation of leaders of the global civil society sector,” says Dwight Burlingame, associate executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The grant is part of the European Union-United States Atlantis Program, conducted cooperatively by the U.S. Department of Education's FIPSE, and the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), who will fund the European institutions. Federal funds account for the $65,000, comprising 70 percent of the total grant.

The remaining 30 percent is financed by nongovernmental sources.

The purpose of the European Union-United States Atlantis Program is to promote a student-centered, transAtlantic dimension to higher education and training in a wide range of academic and professional disciplines.

“We are one world when it comes to our desire for civil society and quality-of-life issues,” says Robert Ashcraft, director of ASU's Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management and local project director for the FIPSE grant. “The United States, Arizona and ASU have been ahead of the curve in development of our nonprofit sector. This international opportunity not only extends our research and educational reach, but offers us the expertise of European colleagues who are on the same trajectory towards fast-track response to the need for exceptional nonprofit leaders.”