Program Delivery Model

The Valdry Center is guided by focusing on its six strands of work: degree programs, social entrepreneurship, customized nonprofit capacity building, seminar and certificate programs, educational initiatives, and research. The Valdry Center will address issues that have historically been left undiscussed in minority communities around the world.

With steady, substantial growth in philanthropic and nonprofit industries, degree programs in nonprofit management and philanthropic studies have proliferated. The field is becoming more professionalized, and greater numbers of young people are intentionally pursing formal training to prepare for careers in various aspects of the nonprofit sector. In conjunction with the Nelson Mandela School of Government at Southern University, the Valdry Center will offer a bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD program.

The degree-granting dimension of the Center was not created as an entirely new academic unit. Instead, the Center partnered with the Nelson Mandela School of Government at Southern University, which had previously granted a master’s degree with a concentration in nonprofit management. The Southern University System Foundation and the Nelson Mandela School of Government have partnered to create an agreement to co-brand the existing concentration in nonprofit management as the Valdry Center and Mandela School concentration in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropic Studies.

The market for this degree will be cultivated through a university and community wide effort to ultimately create a new culture of philanthropy. Southern University is primed for this venture since we are the only HBCU with its own system. Courses will also be offered through the Southern University Law Center to train future leaders on the legal aspects of non-profit management.

Much like the degree granting program, the social entrepreneur aspect is developed from existing resources made available on the Baton Rouge campus. The Southern University Innovation Center (SUIC) is the newest addition to the Southern University System. The SUIC serves as a business incubator for growing businesses focusing on healthcare, education, technology, manufacturing, and the service industry. A Social Entrepreneur Fellowship will provide space and support for local social entrepreneurs in the existing incubator. An open application will be launched and disseminated, encouraging young social entrepreneurs to propose creating initiatives and/or organizations that will be designed to work on issues that are not being adequately addressed by existing nonprofits in the local community.

Over a 24-month period, a cohort of four social entrepreneurs will receive training, coaching, mentorship, and various forms of capital support to help shape their ideas and turn them into viable efforts. This will be known as the pilot cohort. No additional cohorts will be added until lessons and outcomes have been evaluated from the pilot cohort. These fellows will live on campus, attend Valdry Center seminars, take courses, and receive targeted assistance. They will receive a modest stipend in addition to having their living expenses and tuition and fees covered. Eventually, cohorts will grow in size though new cohorts would only be admitted every two years. The Center will also pursue financial capital to invest in those graduating from the program with a viable idea that would live well beyond the experience.

The Valdry Center will hold various seminars and lectures as well as establish certificate programs. Like other programming for the Valdry Center, both seminars and lectures will be demand driven. In an effort to bring experts from across the world to discuss various aspects of philanthropy and nonprofit management, the Center will use lectures and seminars as an opportunity to share information and collaborate on innovative ideas.

After a feasibility study and several conversations with our constituents, the Center was able to develop a plan for seminars based on the particular needs articulated by those interviews. While the degree program focuses on matriculating students, the certificate programs will target professionals seeking a next set of skills in their particular area. As philanthropy and the nonprofit sector continue to evolve with the emergence of impact investing and other new angles on how to invest in efforts for public benefit, there will be an increased demand for learning. These programs will continue to build the capacity and will be a critical factor in shaping the content and markets for certificate programs offered at the Valdry Center.

To meet the needs of nonprofit organizations, the Valdry Center for Philanthropy will offer consulting services for capacity building. Local and regional nonprofit organizations have expressed an interest in securing technical assistance for their grantees as well as other organizations that may not have been able to secure sizeable grants. The Valdry Center will launch customized capacity building for particular nonprofit organizations when formal arrangements are developed.

Private philanthropy has been a significant engine in the growth of higher education. For larger public and private universities, private philanthropy has enabled significant stability and room for exploration and innovation. Traditionally, most HBCUs have not been as fortunate. The Valdry Center will develop services with specific intent of expanding philanthropy at HBCUs. Most universities that have been able to raise significant private dollars, alumni have been central to providing these resources. Alumni participation and giving are the lifeblood of private giving at wealthier universities.

However, at many HBCUs almuni giving could be greater. The Valdry Center will integrate philanthropic education into freshman orientation and gradually into the curriculum for all undergraduate students, with the idea that giving back is a learned behavior. The earlier the seed is planted, the more likely the University can establish a high rate of alumni participation and giving. With continually expanded knowledge of effective philanthropic practices and systems, the VCP will develop ongoing lines of communication with other HBCU leaders and development/advancement professionals, and will develop one-to-one and group capacity building for HBCUs on building and strengthening philanthropy.

The Valdry Center will develop a research initiative to publish and disseminate knowledge and lessons learned from the experiences of the Center’s programming. Initially, the VCP will focus on evaluation and documentation. Over time, the Center will develop a more purposeful effort to create formal research projects with the intent of publication. Research on philanthropy in communities of color and on the role of nonprofit organizations in strengthening communities of color is limited. Through the process of engaging a range of local constituents, leveraging existing resources, and tracking the progress of Valdry Center students and participants, a wealth of useful knowledge will emerge.

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