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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Nonprofit Leadership Certificate and Minor

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What is the Nonprofit Leadership Program?


The Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) Program prepares students for careers in the ever-growing nonprofit sector. In Minnesota, as of 2012, over 14% of employment was attributed to the nonprofit sector. The largest employers in the nonprofit sector nationally are educational services, healthcare and social assistance, and arts, entertainment, and recreation.


The NPL Program at MSU is an interdisciplinary program with five participating departments: Sociology, Social Work, Urban and Regional Studies, Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services, and Gender and Women’s Studies. Students have the opportunity to earn a stand-alone NPL Certificate for 18 credits and an NPL minor for 21 credits (you can earn both!). An NPL Graduate Certificate is also available for 15 credits.


Students in the NPL Program gain hands-on experience through service learning and supervised internships at many nonprofit agencies including the American Red Cross, Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA), Mankato Sympony Orchestra, YWCA Mankato, YMCA Mankato, Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society (BENCHS), Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, Open Door Health Center, Feeding Our Communities Partners, Mankato Rehabilitation Center Inc. (MRCI), ACLU-MN, Habitat for Humanity of South Central Minnesota, United Way of Mankato, and Mahkato Mdewakanton Association’s Annual Pow Wow, among many others.


Here’s what some of our students and alumni have to say about the NPL Program!


“I picked up the NPL certificate near the end of my time at MSU and truly enjoyed every class I took. The internship experience was priceless, and the 473 research project gave me an insight to a whole new side of the nonprofit sector. This program prepared me for a worthwhile career. I was hired right before graduation by St. Olaf College working in their annual giving department. Fundraising has been a major interest of mine since I was 15 and was hired at an NPO in my hometown. With the help of the program at MSU I was equipped with the proper tools and knowledge to excel in my field.”


Nick Raverty
NPL graduate
St. Olaf College


“I found the NPL program when searching to better understand how to apply my public relations coursework to the nonprofit sector. After my first course, I quickly fell in love with the program and everything it had to offer. The NPL program gave me the opportunity to explore various aspects of the nonprofit sector such as development, grant writing, fundraising, and management. It surprised me how relative it all was to my PR background. I am currently employed by a nonprofit and could not fathom completing the work I do without the knowledge I absorbed from my NPL classes. I look forward to continuing to use my Certificate in NPL to help nonprofits succeed in their missions.”


Elise Pawlak
NPL graduate
Mankato Symphony Orchestra


“I think of the NPL program as a hidden gem on this campus. It can be used in so many different ways which is what drew me to this program. With this minor my dream is to be able to implement and lead programs for a nonprofit organization whether it is for women that went through domestic violence, saving animals, or to help educate children in developing countries. The goal is to use my knowledge to organize programs to impact as many lives as possible.”


Sidhhi Bhakta, NPL minor
Current student




NPL Program Contact:
Dr. Kristi Rendahl, Director & Assistant Professor

Nonprofit Leadership Program
Minnesota State University, Mankato
113 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: 507-389-5215