Nonprofit Executive Education

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Notre Dame’s nonprofit business program offers scholarships to Peace Corps volunteers

by Carol Elliott

July 1, 2010

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The University of Notre Dame’s nonprofit business degree program is partnering with the Peace Corps to offer financial help to volunteers newly returned from service fields. The Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA), housed in the Mendoza College of Business, will provide a scholarship of $10,500 to one returning Peace Corps volunteer accepted into the program beginning with the summer 2011 class.  

The partnership is part of the Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program, which offers financial benefits such as scholarships, reduced tuition and university credit in advanced degree programs at more than 50 participating colleges and universities. In addition to their academic studies, Coverdell Fellows participants apply the experience they acquired as volunteers abroad to programs that benefit underserved U.S. communities.

Notre Dame’s MNA is the first business school that offers a master’s degree to participate in the Coverdell Fellow program.

“The MNA program has been designed to provide graduate business education to full-time employees of nonprofit, altruistic organizations,” said Tom Harvey, Notre Dame University’s Luke McGuinness director of nonprofit professional development. “This means that returned Peace Corps volunteers will be immersed in classes with established leaders from organizations that share the values typically espoused by the Peace Corps, namely, commitment to community and service to others.”

“I am pleased to welcome the University of Notre Dame to the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow family,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. “So many of our volunteers feel a continuing commitment to serve when they return to the United States, and Notre Dame’s degree program in nonprofit administration will help prepare newly returned Peace Corps volunteers to be leaders in the nonprofit community.”

The deadline for application to the Coverdell Fellow program is Oct. 1. More information is available at www.peacecorps/gov/fellows.

The Mendoza College of Business – ranked as one of the top business schools in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine – has a long history of supporting nonprofit leadership through its MNA degree as well as its non-degree executive development programs. The MNA educates future leaders serving the nonprofit and public sectors in the essential areas of philanthropy, information technology, administrative effectiveness, accountability, revenue generation, as well as the core disciplines of business. MNA students may work full time while pursuing their degree. For more information about the Notre Dame Peace Corps partnership or the MNA program, visit the MNA website at http://business.nd.edu/mna/.

The Mendoza College also offers an annual weeklong career training session for returning Peace Corps and other service volunteers transitioning to employment through its non-degree executive development program. “Leaders in Transition,” held on the Notre Dame campus each summer, helps participants with their job-seeking skills and making career decisions, especially in finding career paths that integrate service with traditional business roles.

The Coverdell Fellow partnership is part of a historical relationship between the University of Notre Dame and the Peace Corps. The Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of Notre Dame, provided advice and support in the 1960s to Sargent Shriver, the first Peace Corps Director. Since then, the university has become one of the country’s top Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools, currently ranking 13th among medium-sized schools. 

The Peace Corps, now approaching its 50th anniversary, is an American volunteer organization dedicated to promoting peace and cultural understanding through service projects around the world. Currently, more than 7,670 volunteers serve in 77 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

For more information about the Master of Nonprofit Administration degree or its participation in the Peace Corps Fellows/USA program, contact Kimberly Brennan, MNA Program Manager, at (574) 631-3639 or Kimberly.M.Brennan.53@nd.edu.