Important policy change to certificate program

Important Notice: Applications for the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate are not currently being accepted for students graduating later than May 2015 as policy changes affecting certificate requirements are being discussed with the UNC Graduate School. We anticipate re-opening applications well before the end of the fall 2014 semester. Please email Mat Despard ( to receive an email once applications are re-opened.  Applications will continue to be accepted for students graduating in December 2014 or  May 2015,  yet please be aware that UNC graduate students can apply no greater than 40% of certificate credits (6 credits for most students) toward fulfilling their graduate degree requirements; the other 9 credits (7.5 for MBA students)  must be completed above and beyond credits required for your degree. This change is being instituted to comply with UNC Graduate School policies.

Is Growth Capital Aggregation the way to scale effective programs?

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is piloting an innovative approach to scaling up effective programs of nonprofit organizations called the Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot. The basic idea is to pool the resources of multiple foundations to provide longer-term (up to 5 years), large, unrestricted grants to a select group of nonprofit organizations that are recognized as offering promising, best, or evidence-based practices. This different approach to grant making is intended to help nonprofit organizations scale up or grow effective programs to benefit more people and communities.

Similar approaches are reflected in the federal government’s Social Innovation Fund and in pay-for-performance schemes such as Social Impact Bonds.

How much profit?

Can a nonprofit make a profit? Yes – as long as surplus is re-invested into the organization to support its mission. Should a nonprofit make a profit. Yes – otherwise, it can’t build unrestricted net assets to cushion financial shocks, expand programs, or invest in infrastructure. Here’s an interesting piece in the Nonprofit Quarterly by Woods Bowman, a leading researcher on nonprofit financial sustainability at Depaul University.


MatDespard-smWelcome to the UNC Nonprofit Leadership Certificate program site. I am a faculty member in the School of Social Work at UNC and I coordinate the certificate program. The purpose of this site is to let you know about certificate requirements, and to offer a set of articles and websites related to nonprofit leadership. If you are interested in or have questions about the certificate, email me or call me at (919) 962-6467.

- Mat Despard