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Nonprofit Management Center: Collaboration with the Ross School of Business and the Ford School of Public Policy

Participation in the Nonprofit and Public Management Center (NPM) and its activities are open to University of Michigan students from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, School of Social Work, and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, each of which is regularly among the top-ranked schools in its field. NPM’s mission is to equip future leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors with interdisciplinary insight, which can help them operate more effectively when working for or collaborating with nonprofit and public institutions.

The NPM provides student programs, internship grants, general services and a rigorous academic curriculum. The process to participate in the program is competitive at best.

“The converging of schools creates great conversation,” said Rishi Moudgil, Managing Director of the U-M Nonprofit and Public Management Center. “NPM is a bridge between the three schools and brings together the different perspectives each school offers. Our Student Advisory Board members say it’s the best part of the program, because it helps them break out of the silos of thinking.” 

The Student Advisory Board (SAB) supports a number of activities across the three graduate schools, including assisting NPM staff with designing programs, services and key activities. The SAB also identifies and collaborates on additional programs to enhance the educational experience, including special topic panels, faculty course planning, and student mixers.

During the year-end NPM ceremony, Mike Davis MSW ’12 who was a member of the Student Advisory Board was honored as the first recipient of the NPM Outstanding Student Leader Award.

“When I think about leadership, I think about people who go above and beyond…and Mike Davis is one of those people,” Moudgil said. “Mike is the one who would work overtime to get people together.” 

According to SSW Professor John Tropman, this collaboration came about through the initial work of SSW Associate Professor Diane Kaplan Vinokur and Dean of Rackham Graduate School Janet Weiss. After Ross Business School Dean Alison Davis-Blake was appointed in 2011, the collaboration was reinvigorated and the program flourished.

The BFP places graduate students from NPM’s three participating schools as non-voting board members of nonprofits in Southeast Michigan for an academic year. It provides students with firsthand insight into the workings and procedures of an actual board, as well as opportunities to contribute to the board’s governance and success.

“Students love the collaboration,” Tropman said. “They especially like and value meeting students from other professional schools.” 

Yasmin Mazloomdoost, a dual degree student working on her MSW and her MPH, is participating with the Board Fellowship Program as a non-voting board member for the HIV/AIDS Resource Center. She is working on the marketing and development committee to help identify key messages and target audiences.

I’m learning that the key to a successful board is to have passion for the mission and dedication to making it happen.

“I’m learning that the key to a successful board is to have passion for the mission and dedication to making it happen,” Mazloomdoost said. “This opportunity is so helpful because it exposes me to a new approach to tackling an issue, and it leads us to thinking critically from a variety of perspectives for the best solutions.” 

Dan Kelly MSW ’12 also has been placed by the BFP with Neighborhood Service Organization where he is developing policies and procedures to restore the Historic Michigan Bell Building in Detroit; re-dedicating it to permanent supportive housing.

“The Bell Building Project is based on the housing first philosophy, which is a social justice concept based on empirical research that if you help homeless people with housing first, then they can focus on their other needs,” Kelly explained. “The collaboration with the B-school has helped greatly with the process of re-opening this structure; it has helped us understand cost benefit analysis and taught us how to apply ethical principles to a 21st century business.” 

“Our students follow their passions and carve out their opportunities,” Moudgil said. “We develop change makers.” 

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