The M.S. in Fundraising program, offered through the George H. Heyman, Jr. Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies ( graduates this week its first class of professionally-educated fundraisers. The conferring of a M.S. in Fundraising on these students indicates a growing recognition that fundraising is an important profession and an essential component in the nonprofit world. The four graduates came to the program with considerable volunteer and professional experience in the nonprofit world and with deeply-felt commitments to the philanthropic enterprise.

With almost 2 million nonprofit organizations and more than $300 billion annually in charitable giving by Americans, the nonprofit “Third Sector” is a critical component of the U.S. economy. The graduate program in Fundraising is designed to help meet the increasing need for professionals trained to help the nation’s nonprofit institutions meet their critical goals. Started in the fall of 2006, the program provides an indispensable opportunity for fundraising professionals to further their knowledge and skills through a combination of scholarly and practical course work.
“Fundraisers are the essential link between the aspirations of our nonprofit institutions and the achievement of their goals” says Naomi Levine, chair and executive director of the Heyman Center. “Our master’s degree program is designed to train highly sophisticated development professionals who can help ensure their organization’s long-term success. At the same time, we believe that the professionalization of fundraising through master’s degree programs is essential to the recognition of its central importance in the nonprofit world.”
“Our first class represents the kind of commitment, intelligence and energy required for success in the world of fundraising and we are proud to be honoring their hard work and dedication,” Levine added. “This program has helped me grow intellectually and as a professional in the field of fundraising and philanthropy,” says Casey Rotter, flag-bearer for the Heyman Center’s first graduating class. “NYU-SCPS has once again developed a program to better a field and nurture its professionals right in the heart of the industry. What could have been a better city to learn how to effectively manage nonprofits than in the heart of the philanthropic community - New York City?” The four graduates are:

  • Joseph M. Jankoski Jr.: Following a seven-year career as a U.S. Army Military Policeman, Mr. Jankoski enrolled at Michigan State University, where he graduated with a B.A. in Accounting. He’s currently an accountant and active volunteer for New York Cares and hopes to become a development officer for a major university.
  • Casey D. Rotter: Ms. Rotter is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin where, she says, “I truly found a passion for philanthropy while planning fundraisers for the UNICEF Club- UW and as the Philanthropy Chair of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. “While a full-time student in the graduate program, she’s also worked full time as the Estates Coordinator for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and plans to continue after graduation.
  • Lauren Weston: A native of Oregon, the well-traveled Ms. Weston is a graduate of UC Davis and worked for a political consulting firm in California before entering the Heyman Center’s Fundraising program. She’s been a volunteer ever since high school and says “my interest in the non-profit sector” has flourished over time.
  • Alice Zobian: Her master’s degree represents a career change for Ms. Zobian, who has spent almost 25 years in the human resources area, and whose volunteer commitments include The Caring Community, Health Advocates for Older People, ACS Making Strides for Breast Cancer, The ACS Dog Walk, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and a scholarship honoring her father at her old high school. “Our parents are great role models not just in telling us about doing the right thing but showing us how and being philanthropic even when we had little to give”, says Ms. Zobian, who plans to work in fundraising and to start a family foundation of her own.

About the George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising The Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising was established in NYU-SCPS in 1999. Under the direction of founder and executive director Naomi Levine, the Center offers graduate-level and non-degree coursework in fundraising and grantmaking. The new Master’s degree program, established in 2006, provides one of the nation’s most comprehensive academic curricula, including specially-developed courses in fundraising management, ethics and nonprofit law, statistical and research methods, technology, and corporate and foundation philanthropy. This graduate program is one of 14 focused professional Master’s degree programs offered by NYU-SCPS, which are characterized by curricula that address both broad theory and practical knowledge and taught by leading practitioners and subject matter experts in their fields.

About the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies Founded in 1934, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) is among the 14 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private research universities in the United States. Through its faculty, curricula and vibrant professional and academic networks, NYU-SCPS captures the expertise of key sectors where New York leads globally: Real Estate and Construction Management (through the NYU Real Estate Institute); Hospitality, Tourism, Sports Management (through the NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center); Philanthropy (through the NYU George H. Heyman Center);Global Affairs; Communications Media, Publishing, Digital Arts, Design; Business, Leadership and Human Capital Management, Integrated Marketing, Public Relations, Legal Studies, Finance, Taxation, Accounting, Management and Technology (through the Division of Programs in Business); and the Liberal and Applied Arts, among others. Rigorous and timely programs in these and related areas attract full-time undergraduate and graduate students immersed in university life, working professionals in 14 graduate programs, motivated adults earning undergraduate degrees (through the Paul McGhee Division), and New Yorkers of all backgrounds enrolled in approximately 2,500 continuing education courses, certificate programs, conferences, and seminars annually.

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