MNA IMPACT: Capstone / Practicum Projects


Nonprofit Sector Data Analyses and Nonprofit Organizations Impact Analyses Reports

The MNA program is proud of its experiential learning and collaborative projects with nonprofit organizations, social enterprises. MNA students work in their practicum courses in collaboration with nonprofit organizations in project analyzing their impact and improving their capacity for designing and reporting their social impact. In their capstone project, students select a topic of their interest relevant to some aspects of the nonprofit / social sector.

These projects represent one element of the integrated experiential learning values of the MNA program evident in every course and emphasized project-based courses such as the Practicum and the Capstone. This gives MNA students the opportunity to positively contribute to nonprofit organizations and social sector initiatives. Here is a partial list of projects assessing social impact or evaluating specific elements of an organization or project to improve its effectiveness.

Organizational Collaborations

If you represent a nonprofit organization (NPO) that would like to partner with the MNA Program in a project of this kind you may request the service of our graduate students and assistance of our expert faculty through this application form: MNA-NPO Collaborative Project Application

MNA Capstone Summit

The presentations of the capstone projects are annual or bi-annual events provided to the public for the benefit of the nonprofit-social sector. The quality and cutting edge topics of these projects demonstrate the MNA student’s capacity to conduct applied action research. They also show the students’ interests and concerns as nonprofit leaders in their current and future careers.  The events are held in person when possible at the University of San Francisco Downtown Campus and/or remotely through Zoom video conference  presentations and posters.

MNA Capstone Projects Library

Presentations, Posters and Reports

Spring 2024

  • Morrow, Sally. “Spatial Justice: the role of community design in shifting power in the United States.” (2024). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1701. Abstract: The built environment influences every moment of every day in modern American life. Community design asserts that the power to shape the built environment should lie within the hands of communities themselves, and particularly those communities historically marginalized by the planning and architecture professions. This work examines evolution of community design organizations, assesses their effectiveness in achieving their goal of shifting power, and positions both their pitfalls and opportunities within the context of a fast-changing society and resource-constrained sector. Open Access: Project Presentation + Capstone Report.
  • Cerrud, Abdiel. “Nonprofit Executive Transitions: Exploring Nonprofit Board Support for CEOs of Color During Onboarding.” (2024). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1702. Abstract:  This capstone investigates the critical role of nonprofit boards of directors in supporting CEOs of color during their onboarding phase. Despite growing diversity efforts in the nonprofit sector, challenges persist for executives of color as they assume leadership roles. Drawing on qualitative research methods, this study delves into the specific forms of support nonprofit boards can offer to facilitate the successful integration and empowerment of CEOs of color. Through interviews and case studies, it examines the dynamics of board-CEO relationships, identifies barriers to effective support, and proposes actionable strategies for fostering inclusive leadership environments. Open Access: Project Presentation + Capstone Report.
  • Logemann, Linda. “AI Nonprofit Corporate Governance:
    How Can Nonprofit Corporate Mechanisms
    Govern Artificial Intelligence?”
    Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1703. Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to rapidly transform economic and societal norms at a pace unseen by previous technologies, resulting in cross-sector discussions about its benefits and utility that also include worrisome discussions about its risks and ethical challenges in a social context. Currently, there is a gap in the literature about the role of nonprofit corporate governance structures and mechanisms in the development of nonprofit AI applications making this study timely and relevant. This paper takes an exploratory approach by asking the question, how can nonprofit corporate mechanisms govern AI? The discussion of technology will remain at a high, abstract level. To frame the discussion, the paper will begin with defining terms and concepts and asking the key questions relevant to the papers subject matter. In the data analysis section, the data are presented in an understandable visual framework to add clarity to the implications and recommendations for this study. Open Access: Project Presentation + Capstone Report.
  • Guerrero, Norma. “Enhancing Ethical Leadership: The Impact of Governance Mechanisms on Nonprofit Organizations.” (2024). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1704. Abstract:  This research is dedicated to uncovering the complex connections between ethics and effective governance within nonprofit organizations. The study focuses on identifying factors that influence ethical behavior, addressing ethical challenges specific to the nonprofit sector, and developing strategies to encourage ethical practices within these entities. By integrating literature reviews, case studies, and expert interviews, the research underscores the vital link between ethical decision-making and organizational efficiency, as well as public trust. The study aims to enrich the ongoing discourse on nonprofit governance, providing key insights and actionable recommendations for board members, executives, professionals, volunteers, and scholars to strengthen governance and ethical conduct. Open Access: Project Presentation + Capstone Report.
  • Ambegia, Christine. “Leveraging Collaboration in Advocacy: An examination of the 501(c)(4) regulatory framework and its utility for advancing immigrant rights.” (2024). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1705. Abstract: The nonprofit sector is uniquely positioned for leading the charge in advocacy through various social justice movements, and their capacity to engage in lobbying work plays a crucial role in advancing policies that contribute to the collective good. The regulations on lobbying that are set forth and enforced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities can limit them from aggressively engaging in policy and advocacy work that holds legislators accountable to their constituents. Nonprofit 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations are governed by a regulatory framework that has the potential to expand on 501(c)(3) charities’ work because they are allowed to engage in unlimited lobbying as well as some restricted amounts of partisan work. This report evaluates the 501(c)(4) social welfare organizational structure and its potential to be a strategic force multiplier in the field that can give advocates the ability to accomplish greater policy advocacy goals that advance immigrant rights. Open Access: Project Presentation + Capstone Report.

Spring 2023

  • Scott, Alison, “An Examination of Contemporary Fundraising Trends and Support for a Sustainable Shift to Full-Cost Funding” (2024). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1623. Abstract: For decades, nonprofit organizations have faced immense challenges securing adequate funding that will not only run their programs, but cover all operational and overhead costs. Traditional funding models often restrict funds to specific projects or services, leaving nonprofits with financial instability, and potentially hindering their ability to fully deliver on their missions. Recently, there has been a shift in the philanthropic landscape that challenges these more restrictive fundraising models. As this conversation has grown, the concept of “Full Cost Funding” has gained traction, which calls for a more comprehensive funding approach that covers the full costs of running an organization, including indirect costs such as overhead, infrastructure, and fundraising costs. This study seeks to provide an in-depth examination of the challenges and influences that affect nonprofit fundraising. A comprehensive understanding of these issues is crucial for nonprofits to enhance their fundraising strategies, and for funders to better align their funds with the real needs of the organizations they support. Further, this study aims to contribute a recommendation to the Full Cost funding discussion by proposing a Sustainable Full-Cost Coalition Philanthropy Framework. This framework envisions a collaborative approach to Full Cost Funding, involving a coalition of major funders working collaboratively with nonprofit organizations. This analysis and framework are presented in hopes of offering a potential recommendation to enhance Full Cost funding support and strengthen the sustainability of the nonprofit sector. Open Access:
  • Salman, Sannia, “Harmony in Purpose: The Key Role of Organizational Values in Nonprofit Collaboration and Cross-Sector Partnerships” (2023). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1595. Abstract: This research paper aims to evaluate the role of organizational values in partner selection for nonprofit collaboration and cross-sector partnerships. In today’s complex social landscape, organizations increasingly recognize the need to collaborate across sectors to address multifaceted challenges effectively. Partner selection is a critical process in establishing successful collaborations, as it determines the alignment of values, goals, and working approaches between participating organizations. Drawing upon existing literature on collaboration and organizational values, this study seeks to investigate whether organizational values influence the partner selection process in nonprofit collaboration and cross-sector partnerships. The research will employ a single method approach to gather comprehensive data and insights. The qualitative interviews will be conducted with a select group of participants to gain deeper insights into their experiences and decision-making processes related to partner selection. By analyzing the interview transcripts, this research aims to uncover patterns, themes, and trends regarding the role of organizational values in partner selection. The findings of this research will provide valuable insights into the factors influencing partner selection decisions and shed light on the importance of organizational values in fostering successful and sustainable collaborations. It will contribute to the existing knowledge and understanding of effective partnership formation in the nonprofit and crosssector contexts. Ultimately, this research aims to contribute to the advancement of crosssector collaboration theory and practice by highlighting the significance of organizational values as a key determinant in partner selection.
  • Smith, Mark W., “IRS-sanctioned Secrecy for Religious Nonprofits: Stepstone or Stumbling Block?” (2023). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1553. Abstract: Internal Revenue Service code automatically confers 501(c)3 nonprofit charity status on religious nonprofits which appear to be “A church, convention of churches, or association of churches described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(i),” as labeled in the IRS Form 990. Additionally, religious charities functioning as a part of a church have no requirement to report any financial information or policies to the IRS or anyone else. This acquiescence to secrecy keeps most of the data on these nonprofit organizations unavailable for research or to inform legislative action or agency policies. This automatic status may also lead to complacency in organizations in financial accountability, use of recent research and tools to help nonprofits be more effective, and the development of policies which protect vulnerable people. A small survey of a niche category of “church” nonprofits which endorse ministers to the federal government to serve as chaplains demonstrates this concern. Literature reviewed affirms the value of transparency and nonprofit improvement tool use, as well as raises concern about possible changes to legal and agency standards. Both transparency and legal standing also affect the ability of these nonprofit organizations to raise money, particularly at a time when religious donations are flat or constrained, and church affiliation is falling. Substantive recommendations are offered to better place religious nonprofits in these arenas and contribute to balanced societal progress. Open Access: 
  • Talbot, Peter, “Improving the Land Trust Model’s Impact on Environmental Conservation in Northern California” (2023). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1550. Abstract: For years, the land trust sector of California and much of the United States has operated with a dollars and acres mentality that has prioritized fundraising as a result of acreage protected. Within California, nearly 5.8 million acres of land have been protected by 132 land trusts throughout the state. To accommodate for the diverse cross-section of land and the many needs of the population, land trusts take on numerous shapes and sizes. A unique aspect of this diversity is the rich agricultural and natural spaces found throughout the state. This mix of land and variety of land uses has led to some differences in the purpose and operation of trusts throughout the state. With this large range of land trusts, the goals remain the same: to protect and preserve lands across the state. To accomplish this and further impact the environmental conservation movement, trusts have been forced to move past the dollars and acres mentality and into a larger stewardship and education role. As organizations continue to transition into this role, they must look further and examine the sustainability of their work. Who are we conserving this land for if it continues a cycle of inequity and inaccessibility? The land trust model must continue its transition from dollars and acres but more importantly, it needs to ensure it is taking an active role in the various diversity, equity, and inclusion practices that are readily available in the sector. Examples that were highlighted from organizations in Northern California include the rematriation of land to native tribes and providing opportunities for under-resourced communities to utilize the open spaces protected by the trusts. Without a bigger tent of supporters, funders, and users, land trusts will grow unsustainably into the role of educator and steward. The greatest way to impact environmental conservation and climate change is to mobilize the greatest number of people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Open Access:
  • Uzoeghelu, Ugochukwu C., “Facilitators and Barriers to Effective Scale-up of Evidence-Based Nonprofit-Level HIV Prevention and Treatment Interventions Among Black Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)” (2023). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1535. Abstract: Since the scale-up of HIV/AIDS prevention evidence-based interventions (EBIs) has not been simple in nonprofit settings, it is crucial to examine processes that occur in the translation of the EBIs into practice that affect successful implementation through the lens of nonprofit principles and practices. This paper examines the facilitators and barriers to effective scale-up of evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment services for nonprofit health organizations that serve Black men who have sex with men (MSM). I interviewed nonprofit health organizations (n = 4) engaged in the global response to end the HIV epidemic, specifically those who provide HIV prevention and treatment services for Black MSM between the ages of 18 and 50. The expert interviews assessed facilitators and barriers to HIV prevention and the perceived importance of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Black community as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goal. Open Access:
  • Webb, Ebony, “Burnout: An examination of how human services’ cultures impact person-centered care and job satisfaction” (2023). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1549. Abstract: In a world that demands the constant requirement of adaptability and technology, the need for ‘hands on the ground’ continues to persist, and perhaps even grow. This research project explores burnout in the healthcare and nonprofit settings, as a pre-existing and ongoing issue, that was brought to centre-stage during the Covid-19 pandemic. The researcher explores the intersections of burnout with workplace culture, person-centered care (PCC), sweat equity and duty-of-care, through expert interviews and literature reviews. Data collected provides an immediate understanding of current workplace cultures and environments for human service providers, in both healthcare and nonprofit sectors. While the data provides unequivocally clear insight into the negative impacts of burnout, further research is required to gain a more detailed, wide-scale analysis of the true extent of burnout. The lack of information available regarding the management and prevention of burnout in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors, suggests a need for further research into current guidelines, protocols, and support services that advocate for healthy and sustainable workplace cultures. The intersection between human service providers and a culture of burnout became glaringly obvious throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, as demonstrated in the following research, numerous factors contribute to enable and normalise the persistence of burnout within human services. Download it at:
  • Zaldivar Kunstmann, Isabel Margarita, “It Takes More Than Good Intentions: Human Resources Management Efforts to Address Turnover in Nonprofit Organizations” (2023). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 1561.  Abstract: The business model of nonprofit organizations differs from the for-profit sector, often relying on subsidies to sustain operations. One of the parties that often subsidies the operations is called “sweat equity,” overworking and underpaid employees. This research study aims to understand whether nonprofit organizations prioritize employee satisfaction and well-being through human resources management practices to reduce turnover. The study includes a literature review and data collection through Nonprofit HR survey reports and semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that nonprofit organizations are progressing in prioritizing employee well-being through practices related to learning and development, organizational culture, and total rewards. However, few organizations have formal talent management and retention strategies in place, raising questions about the realization of these priorities. The study provides recommendations to small nonprofit organizations to enhance talent retention: fostering a positive work culture, emphasizing learning and development, and providing competitive compensation and benefits. Organizations should leverage capacity-building support and explore strategic human resources management development initiatives to sustain these practices. Implementing these recommendations can contribute to attracting, retaining, and developing talent within nonprofit organizations, ultimately enhancing the organization’s mission and impact. Download it at:

Spring 2022

  • Daugherty, Connor (2022). Transparency in Pay: How Nonprofit Organizations and Leaders can Support Employees Through A Culture of Openness (Project No. 2022051201) MNA Capstone Project,  University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: As we slowly move on from the pandemic calls for changes in workplaces have never been louder. From the pandemic workers are now more aware of issues surrounding pay, equity, bias and workplace culture than they ever had before. From this, demands for pay transparency were born, not just to support minorities who remain underpaid, but to support all job seekers in their quest to advocate for themselves. This project focusses on how well nonprofit organizations are doing at showing pay and benefits as well as looking at how ready normal employees are for this change. A review of current literature combined with this data paints a picture of how nonprofit leaders can be prepared for this change and what pay transparency may look like in the Third Sector. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Hofacker, Whitney (2022). Private School, Public Purpose: Service-Learning & Social Responsibility in
    Independent Schools (Project No. 2022051202) MNA Capstone Project,  University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: Independent schools in the San Francisco Bay Area are exclusive for students and families who have access, and hold a wealth of resources. This study examines the impact that service programs and service-learning curriculum have on private secondary school students. It reviews the notion of “private school with a public purpose”, a common phrase for private schools cauterizing their missions to impact the communities around them in a positive and sustained way. The analysis emerges from an inside-out approach looking at data collected at Athenian School and reflected in the Round Square Consortium of 240 schools around the world on how community  stakeholders of these schools view service.  The study shows different views between secular and religious private schools’ and how their values-based practices impact students’ motivation and experience. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Jarvis, Emma (2022). The Golden Gate Greenway: Coalition-Building for Greenspace Equity.  (Project No. 2022051203) MNA Capstone Project,  University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: San Francisco is spoiled for parks – no resident lives more than a ten-minute walk from one. But these parks range in size and quality, from the 1,017 acre, 150 year-old Golden Gate Park, to the blink-and-you’ll miss it 0.11 acre Turk & Hyde Mini Park in the Tenderloin. This study follows the real-world example of a coalition of nonprofits advocating for a new park in the Tenderloin, leveraging a street closure granted by the city’s COVID-19 response. [Presentation] + [Capstone Report].
  • Zepponi, Colette (2022). How America’s Largest Nonprofit and For-Profit Companies Are Prioritizing CSR and DEI in their External Communications. (Project No. 2022051204) MNA Capstone Project,  University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: This is  an analysis of how the wealthiest for-profit and nonprofit companies are integrating CSR and DEI practices into their external (public-facing) communications and overall business strategies. It centers around a content analysis of DEI and CSR external communications strategies from a selection of companies pulled from the Fortune 500 and Nonprofit Times 100 lists. It looks closely at some of the wealthiest for-profit corporations and nonprofit organizations to analyze how they are incorporating sustainable, ethical, and inclusive initiatives into their communications programming and reporting processes to determine what the best practices are and how each of the sectors could learn from one another. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].

Fall 2021

  • Hamilton, Stephen N. (2021). Mainstreaming Standardized Sustainability Reporting: A Brief Overview During Covid-19 Pandemic. (Project No. 2021121501). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: Standardized Sustainability Reporting (SR) can positively influence organizational accountability and transparency. The research aimed to determine the rigor of SR during the year of shelter- in-place at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It reviews a selection of existing publications on SR trends, mandates, and implications. It provides a content analysis on the sustainability reports published in 2020 by the samples (N = 100), a combination of the Top 50 Fortune 500 companies and Top 50 US News and World Report global higher education institutions (HEIs) to examine the compliance with the standard reporting frameworks and how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) were referenced and presented. [Presentation & Poster] [Capstone Report].

Summer 2021

  • Andrews, Trish (2021). Mindful Women’s Leadership: Empowering women leaders through mindfulness practice to make confident, ethical decisions in our mission-driven organizations. (Project No. 2021081010). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: Looking for ways to empower existing and future women leaders lead to an exploration of mindfulness as a practice to improve self-awareness and increase empathy allowing leaders to arrive at each situation with a balanced, present mind. This project proposes a Mindful Leadership Model which begins by looking inward, then shifts outward to the situation with an adapted situational leadership model that helps assess the appropriate response for different situations depending on the leaders response and the contributors readiness.  [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Brown, Gabriela (2021). “We Have to See What We Can Be ”: The importance of Latinx Leadership Representation in Nonprofit Fundraising and Development and How These Leaders Thrive Despite Systemic Barriers in the Sector. (Project No. 202108109). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: It’s easy to see what is lacking in the nonprofit sector when it comes to diverse leadership representation. Research shows that Latinx leaders are under-invited in the sector and latinx organizations only receive 1% of philanthropic dollars. While this is problematic and needs to be changed, there is power in recognizing that what these studies are also showing is these leaders’ ability to overcome despite internal and external challenges, not only do they overcome; they thrive. This project explores the power of representation for up and coming latinx leaders, the methods current latinx leaders use to navigate and overcome challenges that come with implicit bias in nonprofit and development, and what organizations can do to better support them. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Cheung, Wesley (2021). Growth Begins from Within: How Internal Transparency Influences Organizational Learning. (Project No. 202108107). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: Ample research exists that focuses on organizational learning in the context of program efficiency and outcomes, and organizational transparency in the context of governance and compliance. The purpose of this research is to further explore the relationship between organizational learning culture and the commitment to internal transparency. Additionally, the research provides recommendations on how to imbed internal transparency practices into promoting organizational learning culture. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Diaw, Joseph M. P. (2021). The Double Bottom Line for West African NPOs: Exploring Its Relevance For a More Successful Funding and Sustainability. (Project No 202108106). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: The lack of financial support from donors and governments compels NPOs to adopt new approaches in terms of financial income-generating activities that support the organization’s social mission. As a result, many researchers are proposing a paradigm shift to include those methods that are similar to traditional entrepreneurship. This project therefore aims to examine the range of points that academics and experts have put forward to shed light on the subject. From the implications that will emerge, recommendations will be developed to propose ways and means of diversifying and strengthening local capacity to mobilize resources and thus enable organizations to be better financially positioned. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Hanshaw, Charis (2021). Channeling (Com)passion: Exploring the Strategic Potential of Internal Communications in Member-Serving Community Nonprofit Organizations. (Project No. 202108105). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: The Village Movement is a unique nonprofit organization model that was born nearly 20 years ago to facilitate peer support, offer healthier aging resources and activities, improve health, and reduce isolation among older people at the neighborhood level. This grassroots approach to aging in community is the member-serving nonprofit organization model on which this research is centered. Specifically, the project explores internal communications processes among high-value member leaders; investigates the level of member-leader awareness of organizational strategic goals; identifies opportunities where a more formal internal communication framework could be applied to better align strategically relevant program teams; and provides a strategic internal communication model that channels the efforts of high-value member leaders to help achieve its mission. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Heraldo, Sarah (2021). Nonprofit Approach to Asset-Based Language: The Power of Intentional Communication. (Project No. 202108104). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: Language matters. Nonprofit organizations have historically created a story that begins with a “challenge” or “problem” to engage donors, as well as the public. This capstone project addresses how strengths-based frameworks and asset-based language, particularly through the lens of education and youth within historically marginalized communities, can positively impact the outcome of nonprofit organizations and its primary stakeholders. Through expert interviews and literature reviews, asset-framing is explored to uncover the implications of how positive language affects nonprofit organizations at a macro level. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Ohaneson, Michael (2021). Servant Leadership Impact: Practical insights for the nonprofit sector. (Project No. 202108103). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: In an environment often focused on sustainability and doing more with less, this project examines the effectiveness of servant leadership on organizations and individuals in the nonprofit sector. This capstone focuses on a comparative analysis of information collected via literature review and incorporates responses from interviews conducted with experts in the field of servant leadership. The project includes practical implications for the nonprofit sector. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Rehder, Matthew (2021). Nursing Education – A Cultural Reform. (Project No. 202108102). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: Amidst increasing healthcare inequities for a population that continues to grow multiculturally diverse, this project explores national US standards for patient care within nursing education to assess the need to reform standards which are more deeply rooted in concepts of culturally competent patient care. Data analysis consists of a systematic review of the standards in nursing curriculum, as well as a content analysis of seven documents which discuss the standards within building nursing curriculum. Concepts in this project include implications for teaching models in academia and healthcare both through the lens of increasing the presence of culturally intelligent practices. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Seeman, Rebecca, P. N. (2021). Lift Every Voice: Creating Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Performing Arts Organizations. (Project No. 202108101). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Abstract: This study seeks to answer the primary research question: “What factors influence performing arts organizations to engage in ADEI practices and initiatives?” Using choral organizations as the lens from which to apply findings and recommendations to all cultural organizations, this project recommends effective organizational and programmatic practices for addressing ADEI and social justice issues and details approaches to develop cultural relevance, community engagement, and meet the needs of the increasingly diverse communities in which performing arts organizations operate. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].

Nonprofit Capstone Summit – SPRING 2021 

Spring 2021

  • Abdel, Sara (2021). Implementation of CRM strategy in the Nonprofit Sector: Toolkit focused on change management to enhance adoption. (Project No. 202105131). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be the tool that leapfrogs organizations or a waste of time and resources. This capstone is a model that focuses on the people management of a CRM  strategy to enhance adoption. The project includes ethical and management considerations that are equally important as the adoption process. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report]
  • Amai, Aki (2021). Reimagining the Nonprofit Sector: Nonprofit + Cooperatives = Solution to Inequality? (Project No. 202105132). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. This research aims to explore how co-operative business models can enhance nonprofit organizations’ mission and performances. Nonprofit organizations work to create a more just, equitable, and co-operative world. Co-operatives’ model of shared power and equity aligns with the mission of many nonprofit organizations.  The purpose of my research is to determine whether transitioning to a co-operative model is the right path for Grace Notes Community Music School. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Bailey, Jessi (2021). Missed Connections: Exploring the Interconnection of Food Insecurity and Housing Instability in the Bay Area and the Role of NPOs. (Project No. 202105133). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The purpose of this research is to better understand how food insecurity and housing instability are related and how these issues are currently being addressed by NPOs. The research explores the ways Bay Area NPOs can build on already existent efforts to address these issues together in order to create a larger safety net and keep more people from experiencing good insecurity and housing instability. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Jones, Brittany (2021). DEAI In Nonprofits: Through the Lens of Museums and Public Gardens. (Project No. 202105136). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The purpose of this research is to determine how nonprofit cultural institutions, such as museums and public gardens, are implementing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) in operations and identifying what the barriers are that may prevent the work from happening. The research examines how museums and public gardens can push through barriers to begin DEAI work, through recommendations provided. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • McCormick, John (2021). Exploring empowerment in food security and food sovereignty programs.(Project No. 202105137). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The purpose of this research is to see if non-profit food security or non-profit food sovereignty programs are better at empowering their participants. The research is carried out through a content analysis of mission statements from food security-based and food sovereignty-based organizations. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Ramirez, Moises (2021). It’s about Capacity, not Ability: Minority CEOs. (Project No. 202105138). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The upper echelons of business, such as the CEO position, have predominantly belonged to White males. This has been true for the S&P 500 where there currently are less than 1% Black CEOs and 3% Latino CEOs. However, one would imagine that in the nonprofit sector things would be much different, a sector that strives for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Yet, if a closer look is taken we would realize that the nonprofit sector is not leaps and bounds ahead of the business sector. Why? Well, it isn’t because there is a lack of professional, competent minorities to lead big nonprofits, it is because many nonprofits do not operate in a way that creates space for minorities to become CEOs. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Rudman, Zoe (2021). Walking the Walk: The Role of Impact Investing in Foundation Mission Fulfillment. (Project No. 202105139). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The purpose of this research is to gain a better understanding of how various types of foundations are utilizing impact investing activities, such as program-related investments and mission-related investments, and determine how these organizations view these activities as a part of their mission fulfillment alongside their traditional grant-making portfolios. Through expert interviews, several different foundation types are explored as case studies, including their motivations for and potential barriers to engaging in the impact investing space, as well as how these investing activities are communicated to stakeholders. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Sheehan, Stephanie (2021). Moving Towards Dignity: Using Inclusive and Equitable Fundraising Language to Dismantle Philanthropy’s White Savior Narrative. (Project No. 2021051310). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The purpose of this research is to better understand how using inclusive, equitable and dignity-focused fundraising language can ultimately contribute to dismantling philanthropy’s white savior narrative and how frontline fundraisers can play a critical role in shifting power dynamics. The research explores the ways in which fundraisers can thoughtfully abandon all notions of white saviorism and fully embrace language that honors our beneficiaries with dignity and respect without compromising revenue or quality donor relationships. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Shen, Jiefang (2021). VR for Social Impact: Integrating Virtual Reality into the Nonprofit Space.  (Project No. 2021051311). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Three-dimensional virtual environments have been at the forefront of the advancement of technology. With the evolution of society and recent events, virtual reality (VR) is now at a new peak in its untapped potential. This study explores the place of virtual reality in the nonprofit space. A review of literature indicates evidence for the effective use of VR across all major parts of nonprofits. Primary research is conducted via expert interviews from various perspectives. Interviews were conducted with nonprofit leaders both using and not using VR, as well as a VR content creator. Thematic analysis is used to find various challenges and perspectives regarding the use of VR in the nonprofit space. In conjunction to the literature, partnership co-creation models are developed as research implications and recommendations. Models are presented that both connect to literature reviews, as well as address primary research findings. As shown in the primary model, nonprofits should seek partnerships with VR content creator and funders. Together, the three co-creators can build a VR program that can fulfill more than the sum of its parts. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Shepard, Brandon (2021). Communicating on the Countryside: Challenges and Lessons Learned From Rural Nonprofit Marketing. (Project No. 2021051312). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. This research is exploring the challenges facing rural nonprofits on how they market and communicate themselves for clients, funders, volunteers, and staff.  This research is also exploring how urban and suburban nonprofits can learn from rural nonprofits on their marketing strategies and practices. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Tait, Anna (2021). Thrive, Survive or Die: The Crossroads of Nonprofit Crisis Management and Organizational Resilience.(Project No. 2021051313). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The events of recent years have highlighted the increased need for nonprofit organizations to develop competencies in crisis management and engage in activities to promote resilient responses when crises occur. Through the examination of existing literature on organizational resilience and crisis management, and the qualitative analysis of interviews with experts in the field, this project provides a model for NPO resilience to aid the development of resilience capacity and capabilities to aid the prevention and effective handling of the various reputational and operational crisis typologies that NPOs may face. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Thompson-Lastad, Owen (2021). The Personal is the Professional: Applying the Trauma-Informed Approach to Nonprofit Staff (Project No. 2021051314). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The trauma-informed approach (TIA), in which organizations strive to modify their services reflect the widespread and profound impact of trauma on the communities they serve, has made great inroads in the nonprofit sector. However, existing research suggests nonprofit leaders too often leave staff wellness out of the TIA equation, even as staff exposure to trauma leads to burnout and low retention. For this project, I interviewed nonprofit leaders to learn more about how they did, and did not, incorporate staff wellness into their thinking as they strove to make their organizations trauma-informed. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].
  • Witwer, Rakiya (2021). DEI and Belonging: Changing the Narrative and Creating a Culture of Belonging In Nonprofit Organizations. (Project No. 2021051315). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. The purpose of this research is to explore the concept of belonging as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nonprofit organizational context. The research project focuses on identifying barriers that nonprofit organizations face in implementing diversity equity and inclusion policies. The research highlights the impact that belonging has on the workplace culture and overall performance of nonprofit organizations and lastly, outlines a roadmap for achieving belonging by expanding inclusive practices in nonprofit organizations. [Presentation & Poster] + [Capstone Report].

YEAR 2020

Video recording of Capstone Project Presentations ( August 7, 2020).

Summer 2020

  • Bartell, Megan Clare (2020). Community Foundation Donor-Advised Funds: Analyzing Efficiency and Effectiveness. (Project No. 202008071). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Megan Bartell Capstone Presentation – V2 | Megan Bartell Capstone Report This research is an analysis of California-based community foundations and their approaches to working with DAF donors.
  • Lee, Jieun (2020). Designing Sustainable Economic Models For Impact Investing Organizations. (Project No. 202008072). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Lee JieunCapstone Presentation and Poster | Jieun Capstone Report SU2020  The purpose of this project is to contribute to the newcomers in the impact investing sector to guide how to build a sustainable economic model.
  • Gray, Raymond (2020). Homeless Veterans in San Francisco / Housing our Heroes. (Project No. 202008073). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Gray Presentation and Poster | Gray – Report This capstone research reviews the homeless population, including homeless veterans, in San Francisco and the ways the city has tried to handle the situations with the homeless and project a path forward with ideas to help end homelessness for good.
  • Sansern, Oak Suradet (2020). Nonprofit Succession Plan: Essential Practices to Overcome Barriers. (Project No. 202008074). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Sansern Presentation and Poster This study on HR in nonprofits considers the challenges and best approaches in organizational readiness for developing executive transitions and finding new leaders for nonprofit administration.  
  • Ashley, Amelia (2020). Learning From The Past: Building a Model for Sustainable International Development Poverty Reduction Programs in the Central African Region. (Project No. 202008075). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Ashley – Presentation | Ashley – Poster | Ashley – Report This study aims at understanding what factors makes international development programs implemented by foreign organizations effective in ensuring participants maintain self sufficiency.

Spring 2020

  • Alcaraz-Minnick, Katya (2020). The Nonprofit Gender Leadership Gap: Data-Driven Systemic and Inclusive Solutions. (Project No. 202005151). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Alkaraz-Minnick – Presentation | Alcaraz-Minnick – Report This project proposes that the nonprofit sector can be the influencing force to uplift women into positions of power, including C-suite, executive director, and general manager positions. It suggests that data-driven systemic and inclusive solutions can be formulated to support nonprofit organizations to take innovative steps to lean in and close the gender leadership gap.
  • Byrd, David (2020). Tools For Success:An Assessment of Capacity Building in The Nonprofit Sector. (Project No. 202005152). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Byrd – Presentation and Poster |  Byrd – Report This study examines the elements of capacity building in nonprofit organizations and aims at identifying needs, challenges, and gaps in order to provide guidance on enhancing capacity building efforts.
  • Chavez, Cristina (2020). Activating the Power of the Latino Community: Engaging the Latino Community Through Volunteerism and Philanthropy. (Project No. 202005153). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Chavez – Presentation  | Chavez – Poster  |  Chavez – Report This research considers the growing and potentials of Latino population in the U.S. for the nonprofit sector through volunteerism and philanthropy. It reviews the gaps, opportunities, trends, and support the community needs to engage Latino communities and diversify volunteerism and philanthropy.
  • Cousin, Kelly Rose (2020). Nonprofits Doing It All: An Examination of Nonprofit Social Responsibility.  (Project No. 202005154). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Cousins – Presentation | Kelly – Report This research examines how social responsibility can expand nonprofit  impact and better align their mission with coherent practices. Nonprofit Social Responsibility is here defined as “anything an organization does, beyond the scope of their direct mission, that integrates social and environmental concerns in their operation and in their interactions on a voluntary basis.”
  • Czarnik, Shannon (2020). Equity in Nonprofit Compensation Negotiation: Uncovering Influential Biases and Patterns. (Project No. 202005155). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Czarnik – Presentation | Czarnik – Report This research examines how  gender, ethnicity and other implicit biases affect nonprofit executive compensation negotiations. The analysis results in practical recommendations for HR executives, hiring managers, and prospective employees.
  • Edelman, Andrea (2020). How Much is 1%?: ​Two Paths to Shareholder Benefits and Community Investment.  (Project No. 202005156). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Edelman – Presentation | Edelman – Report This study compares the efforts of two organizations – Pledge 1% and 1% For the Planet to assess the effectiveness of their respective models. By focusing on stakeholder benefits, relationships, intention and perception, the study uncovers the epicenter of what drives a company to choose one pledge or another
  • Murray, Shana (2020). Shared Space Across Sectors: Using Space As A Platform For Shared Value And Social Impact. (Project No. 202005157). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Murray – Presentation | Murray – Report This research investigates the challenges and opportunities of adopting a shared space model for nonprofit-corporate partnerships.  The analysis offers suggests a new shared values model in which nonprofit can utilize shared physical space as a useful resource for engagement for social good and organizational growth.
  • Sanchez-Cruz, Cristina (2020). Diversity, Inclusion and Authenticity: How To Make a Lasting Impact on Organizational Culture. (Project No. 202005158). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Sanchez – Presentation Diversity and inclusion has become of popular interest. Almost, making diversity and inclusion sound and feel superficial. As often as those terms are being used today, there are organization that are not making an intentional change for diverse and inclusive environments. Often, the voices of those impacted by the lack of diversity and inclusion are generally dismissed and having to overcompensate to feel comfortable, and advance in their careers.
  • Smith, Lilly (2020). Navigating Implicit Bias within Corporate Volunteer Programs: Empowering Nonprofits to Raise Awareness and Set Expectations. (Project No. 202005159). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Smith – Presentation | Smith – Report This study explores how nonprofits can navigate implicit bias within corporate volunteer programs to raise awareness and ensure positive programmatic experiences and outcomes.
  • Thompson-Echevarría, Yvette (2020). Latina Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector: What can organizations do to foster an equitable and inclusive workplace?(Project No. 2020051510). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Thompson-Echevarria Presentation | Thompson-Echevarria – Poster | Thompson-Echevarria Report This research examines the obstacles that Latinas face when pursuing leadership positions in the nonprofit sector and offers concrete strategies for organizations to create a culture that embraces Latina leadership.

Summer 2019

  • Aguina, Marisela (2019). Understanding the factors of retention to help create an effective retention plan in social service organizations(Project No. 2019080501). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Aguina Report | Aguina Presentation | Aguina Poster This research explores the factors that impact retention rates in social service organizations to achieve their mission, positively and negatively.
  • Burt, Alicia (2019). Life After Foster Care: Strategies for a Successful Transition to Adulthood. (Project No. 2019080502). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Burt Report | Burt Presentation | Burt Poster This project analyses the types of services that exist to support youth as they age out of foster care.
  • Chan, Gyra (2019). Giving and Getting Involved: A Guide to New Parent Philanthropy at Independent Schools.(Project No. 2019080503). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Chan Report | Chan Presentation | Chan Poster This study analyses parent’s involvement in independent schools’s philanthropic efforts. It considers how to best capture and build relationships with new parents as they enter the school to facilitate long- term giving and community involvement.
  • Downing, Jackie (2019). Preventing Homelessness in Oakland, California. (Project No. 2019080504). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Downing Report  | Downing Presentation | Downing Poster This project contributes to the development of solutions to the growing homelessness crisis in cities like Oakland, California. Its research, analysis and recommendations center on prevention as a strategy for decreasing the number of people becoming newly homeless.
  • Hasbum, Valerie (2019). Analyzing the Narratives of Support Across the Sector: Comparing Storytelling Practices Between Stakeholders. (Project No. 2019080505). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Hasbum Report | Hasbum Presentation | Hasbum Poster This research considers how storytelling is an essential component of non-profit stakeholder and offers practical recommendations for way to create more compelling stories.
  • Komarek-Meyer, Grace (2019). Gentrification, Displacement & Creative Placemaking: Evaluation Methods for Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations. (Project No. 2019080506). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Komarekmeyer Report  | Komarek Presentation | Komarekmeyer Poster . This capstone research examines the role of nonprofit organizations in combating gentrification and displacement. It considers how the task of evaluation and measurement program impact creative placemaking projects.
  • Kristova, Barbora (2019). Destroying Coercion by Expansion: Finding Value in Unconventional Growth of International Faith-based Organizations.(Project No. 2019080507). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Krisova Report | Krisova Presentation | Krisova Poster . This project explores how international nonprofit organizations expand in their services and territories. Specifically, it considers the unique expansion of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in. its unique approach to humanitarian interventions for creating long-lasting and sustainable change.
  • Justice, Greg Gilgen (2019). Nonprofit Organizations and the Sustainable Development Goals: Social Sector Partnerships for Transforming the World. (Project No. 2019080509). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Capstone Final – Greg Justice This research explores why many American nonprofit organizations do not know about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and advances a “Three-Tiered Model” for increased Goal integration, funding and implementation.
  • Nee, Michaela (2019). Pooling Power: Engaging Nonprofits in Coalitions for Social Change. (Project No. 2019080508). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Nee Report | Nee Presentation | Nee Poster . The purpose of this research is to explore the nonprofit sector’s role in social movements and systemic change, the benefits of operating in a coalition, and how nonprofits can leverage and effectively participate in coalitions for systemic social change.

Spring 2019

  • Campbell, Karen (2019). Climate Change and Philanthropy: Implications for Fundraisers. (Project No. 2019051501). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Campbell ReportCampbell Poster. This study examines the influence of philanthropy on the fundraising efforts of nonprofit organizations working to address climate change. Results of the findings indicated a need for nonprofit organizations to embrace collaboration in the form of more partnerships among large and small nonprofits to increase social impact and gain more access to foundations and wealth managers, as well as, the need to leverage the youth movement and technology to innovate fundraising.
  • Davidson, Alexa (2019). Developing a Nonprofit Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: An effective tool for measuring a Boards vulnerability, integrity, and readiness. (Project No. 2019051502). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Davidson Report | Davidson Presentation | Davidson Poster This study examines nonprofit boards’ policies, practices, and procedures in relation to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and identifies how they lack adequate tools to effectively asses themselves for DEI. This research culminates in the development of a survey-based DEI self-assessment tool that measures Board readiness, vulnerabilities, integrity, and personal biases.
  • Lee, Wendy (2019). Cross Sector Partnerships (CSPs) for Social Change: Unique opportunities and challenges of transformational collaborations. (Project No. 2019051503). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Lee Report | Lee Presentation  | Lee Poster This research considers the growing interest in cross-­sector partnerships (CSPs) that nonprofit organizations seek to address complex social issues and achieve greater impact through collaborative efforts. The project captures the motivations of each sector and provides nonprofit organizations with multiple perspectives to think about how to engage with each traditional sector.
  • Lewis, Claire (2019). “Next Generation” Givers: Implications for Nonprofit Engagement. (Project No. 2019051504). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management.Lewis ReportLewis Poster | Lewis Presentation This project considers “Next Generation” philanthropy which typically include Gen Y, and some or all of Gen X and Gen Z.. It considers their values, characteristics, and philanthropic habits. calls for understanding and investing in specific tools and models to meet these individuals where they are at— online.
  • Luna, Kathryn (2019). Breaking Barriers and Building a Pipeline for Women’s Leadership Success in Nonprofit Organizations. (Project No. 2019051505). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Luna Report | Luna Presentation | Luna Poster.  This research examined women in leadership positions, with a specific focus on minority women and nonprofit organizations. The findings in this research project add to the existing literature on women in leadership, particularly minorities, and endorsed the need for organizations to build and commit to a sustainable pipeline model which includes personal, internal, and external resources and factors that will most effectively contribute to women’s advancement in the workplace.
  • McNally, Stephanie (2019). 2020 Census Trusted Messengers: Community Based Organizations Challenged to Make the Marginalized Matter. (Project No. 2019051506). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. McNally Report | McnNally Presentation | McNally Poster This report reviews research on past census outreach efforts as well as current studies on messaging for hard-to-count communities that are considered at risk in the upcoming decennial census. This capstone research is based on the belief that community-based organizations (CBOs) have earned the trust of residents from historically hard-to-count communities and therefore have the potential to meaningfully increase census participation in a challenging environment if provided an effective outreach model.
  • Pate, Kyle (2019). Mission Engagement: A Nonprofit Employee Survey. (Project No. 2019051507). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Pate Report | Pate Presentation | Pate Poster This study evaluates how organizations in the social sector, as those in the private sector, might increase employee engagement through surveys. This project has developed and tested an employee engagement survey tailored to purpose-driven organizations.
  • Rosemond, Sascha (2019). Inside Out: Internal Equity Within Community Foundations. (Project No. 2019051508). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Rosemond Report | Rosemond Presentation | Rosemond Poster The purpose of this research is to understand how equity- focused community foundations are looking inward to pursue internal equity as they pursue equity externally and produce a set of recommendations for other community foundations. The recommendations put forth by this research add to what is available for community foundations and other nonprofit organizations to begin the process becoming a more equitable organization.
  • Schappert, Sonja (2019). Transformational Relationships: Reframing Impact in Faith-Based Social Service Organizations. (Project No. 2019051509). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Schappert Report | Schappert Presentation This Capstone examines the influence of relationship theory on a faith-based organization’s impact. While the context of the research is faith-based, the models are general enough to be applied to a diverse number of organizations. The findings demonstrate that relationship theory does have implications for how their theory of change and logic models are formed and how impact is subsequently evaluated.
  • Walker, Hayley (2019). Major League Impact: A Comparative Analysis of Youth Programs within Major League Baseball Club Charities. (Project No. 2019051510). MNA Capstone Project, University of San Francisco, School of Management. Walker Report | Walker Presentation | Walker Poster This study focuses on the methods of youth programming utilized by the charitable affiliates of five professional sport teams. Through in- depth interviews with program leaders and thematic analysis of collected data, this research identifies definitions of success and key elements of effective sport-based youth development programs in underserved communities.

Summer 2018

Spring 2018

Summer 2017

Spring 2017

Spring 2016

Spring 2015

Spring 2014

– Educating Social Sector Leaders Since 1983 –

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