Public Affairs

Nonprofits Transforming Lives

December 6, 2012
By Stephanie Thara

Through programs that teach students how to build successful nonprofit agencies, CSU campuses are producing individuals who are essential to tackling issues such as managing climate change, supplying food and water to developing communities, redeveloping urban areas, and providing quality education and health care to underserved populations. Most CSU campuses offer public administration degrees that allow students to gain an in-depth view of the nonprofit sector.

Students are able to learn how to craft an innovative marketing plan, explore fundraising options, create an efficient budget, select a board of directors, and other key concepts in starting a nonprofit. Scholars also learn effective, practical, and easy-to-implement strategies by directly working on nonprofit campaigns and interacting with professionals in the field.

In addition to covering core concepts about nonprofit management, most programs also offer courses to help students identify the focus of their nonprofit agency. Below are alumni who have applied their knowledge to work at nonprofits:

Lois Lee (CSU Dominguez Hills, ’77) founded Children of the Night—a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting children between the ages of 11 and 17 who are forced into prostitution on the streets for food to eat and a place to sleep.

Before retiring as chief executive officer of Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation, Duane Hill (Sonoma State, ’78) established a campaign of community awareness and public education about the overwhelming need for affordable housing in rural areas.

Jen Cordaro at a Refugee Camp in 2005As the community organizer of Burmese refugees in San Diego with the Alliance for African Assistance, Jen Cordaro (Humboldt State, ’06) assists refugees, immigrants and the underserved become self-sufficient, productive members of their communities.

Through Global Green USA, Matt Petersen (CSU Chico, ’90) is an advocate for eliminating weapons of mass destruction, fighting climate change, promoting green building and renewable energy, and ensuring access to clean water for all of humanity as the nonprofit’s president and chief executive officer.

Sheryl Chalupa (CSU Bakersfield, ’95, ’05) is president and chief executive officer for Goodwill Industries of South Central California—a nonprofit that helps people with disadvantages obtain employment and training services.