MNA Profiles


“The key to her success? Access. Ultimately, it was because of the scholarship she received that Brandy was able to enroll and thrive at USF. I strongly believe that education is the essential link in creating pathways for folks to rise out of poverty and build successful lives. I’m a role model to my children […]. Showing them that through resilience, perseverance, and hard work, dreams become realities. […] Access to funding is essential for marginalized populations that generally lack access to institutions of higher education due to high costs of tuition,” Read more >>


“I’ve always been passionate about nonprofit work and I was interested in getting an advanced degree, most particularly drawn to the fact that this was the first MNA program in the country, and that [it] really focused on professionalizing the nonprofit sector. […] I was taking things that I was learning in class and utilizing them in the office. Conversely, my practical experience at work really informed what I was learning at school. […] It was really nice to be in a room full of other nonprofit professionals, managers, and see that they were all having their own unique experiences. I think what was surprising was for me to sit in that room and to see all the similarities and differences we were experiencing. […] In the MNA program, I felt welcomed, and safe, and appreciated. [I was] valued in the classroom, both as a woman of color, [as well] as a member of the LGBT community.” [My professional experience and input were] valued and respected, [which reflects the community of San Francisco as] a wonderfully diverse place.” Read more >> 


“I spent about 11 months in the transitional housing program at Swords to Plowshares, and got another job in finance to get back on my feet. I realized I really hated that, and I needed to do something that had some meaning for me if I was to maintain my recovery. I gave my resume to the man who was housing director at Swords to Plowshares, and I was hired as an administrative assistant. […] After seven years at Swords to Plowshares, I was promoted to deputy director of the agency. Most of our funding was through government grants. I thought I could really add value to the agency by earning my bachelor’s degree in public administration, and then studying nonprofit administration after that. USF’s School of Management had a bachelor’s completion program in public administration and the only Master of Nonprofit Administration program in the Bay Area.” Read more >>


“I started to think about how I could make a bigger impact on the people that I want to serve and how I could make a bigger impact on the lives of youth. Learning more, not just about the direct service part of nonprofits but also about how they can be made more efficient, were the answers I needed. […] School and work being physically so close together helps me think about my work when I’m in class and vice versa. When I’m at work, I think about what I’ve been learning in class and how I can immediately apply it. […] I’m just awed almost every single time I get off BART by how beautiful the downtown campus is. I feel like oh, wow, I’m in a big city doing big things, and learning a ton. […] Everyone wants to learn from each other, not just the marketing but the networking, the exchange of ideas.  Pretty much everyone is working in the field, so just getting all those different perspectives is a valuable part of the program. […] I’m able to see the bigger picture now and how I can keep changing, growing and developing the skills that I’m going to need in the future. The program helped me focus on where I want to be in years, which is at the head of a nonprofit organization where I get to really influence all the parts of an organization that really helps the people who need it. […] In class, we’ve been discussing collective impact, and it has profoundly influenced my outlook on the nonprofit sector. The idea is that through collaboration, through the exchange of ideas we can bring about change and really have a big, big impact on the lives of people.” Read more >>


“I want to use my passion and what I have learned through the MNA program to be a leader and key decision maker within the nonprofit sector, and to help museums create stronger, more resilient, and connected communities. […] Museums of all types are uniquely positioned to build community, connect, educate, and drive social change. I have found my passion and my niche in helping museums achieve their fundraising and programmatic goals,” she said. Being in the program has helped me to grow, test my knowledge, and stretch myself professionally, academically, and personally. The investment in the MNA has proven to be a good decision time and again. What I have learned has already assisted me in realizing incremental career goals. […] Because this program is built for working professionals, I have been able to use the skills I am learning and directly apply them to what’s happening in my office,” she said. “It really opened my eyes to the myriad of ways organizations can be run. It has helped me more objectively and strategically analyze the state of nonprofit organization. […] I learn just as much from my classmates as I do from the texts and professors. It has offered me opportunities for great reflection and hard work, as well as fun and flexibility. I am forever grateful for my cohort. We have developed deep friendships, and we encourage each other to achieve at the highest levels.” Read more >>


“Originally I am from Santiago, Chile but have lived in the U.S. off and on all of my life. I live and work in the East Bay, and now this is home. I pursued the Master of Nonprofit Administration degree at USF because it was flexible in terms of allowing me to continue to work full time. As a manager in the nonprofit sector, I realized I needed to deepen my management skills in order to succeed. Getting a master’s degree has been a lifelong dream for me [and I value] the practical applications of this degree in terms of really understanding the ins and outs of leadership. […] I have been pleasantly surprised to see that USF’s Jesuit values show up at every level of our course work. Social equity has been highlighted in all of our classes so far in our readings, during lectures and within our assignments. It is awesome to see and feel that the greater good is an emphasis for the school. Justice, equity and respect are values within the nonprofit sector, so seeing these values play out in the coursework makes me realize that I am in the right place for my higher education.” Read more >>


The MNA program is designed for working professionals. We have the opportunity to use what we are learning immediately on the job and use our developing skill sets to improve the organizations we work with. Everything we learn is immediately applicable. […] I feel much more knowledgeable about leadership and management issues at my organization. My coursework at USF has provided me with tools and research-based knowledge to support my conversations with my organization’s senior leaders, my board members, and my donors to help my organization develop the resources and infrastructure we need to bring our transformational program to more students than ever before. […] The nonprofit sector inspires me daily and speaks to my deeply embedded commitment to social change and value-driven work. […] San Francisco has all the energy and vibrancy of a world-class metropolis, but is small enough that you can build a close-knit community. Walking down the street of my neighborhood feels like being in a small town, with familiar, friendly faces all around.” Read more >>


“When I was researching different graduate programs, the top nonprofit program was right in my local backyard at USF.  My advice to MNA students is when doing your research, be prepared to do the work. Through my two years of researching and thesis, I discovered the change I wanted to make through my business model. From USF, I learned that our job is to find social injustices and empower those who might not empower themselves.” Read more >>


“I realize that when I was in school I was very fortunate to be given the privilege of having permission to take a very critical lens to the information I was getting from the school and to then say how that content matched or mismatched reality. I feel that I really I need to create this reality on the ground. […] Choosing to pursue USF’s MNA program was an easy decision as “there [are] not a lot of programs that are specifically built for enriching public sector, nonprofit sector work. […] I’m very interested in how we can eliminate hierarchy in work. I am passionate for worker justice and helping others create collectivized systems with no bosses or management by creating more just system with horizontal accountability and interpersonal worker relations.” Read more >>

– Educating Social Sector Leaders Since 1983 –

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