Sherlyn Assam, MPNLI was fortunate to spend my time in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) completing my Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership degree. We learned about trust-based philanthropy practices. We strategized about different ways nonprofits and foundations could interact with the public and private sector to fulfill their charitable missions. Most importantly, we challenged the impact of the philanthropic sector, which I think will help make the sector stronger in the future as we all continue to work in our respective organizations.

My cohort was full of brilliant and dedicated professionals who I loved learning from. They elevated the topics we were assigned, because they each had unique experiences about theories, policies, and practices. We were taught by professors who were knowledgeable and passionate, who were critical yet optimistic. Whether profs taught us about improving organizations’ cultures and structures to better serve their communities or led us through community-centered work, such as learning how to launch a community social enterprise, the MPNL program made me rethink the potential of the philanthropic sector.

Since completing my master’s, I work at Future of Good, a digital publication that covers news, trends and research in the social impact sector and philanthropic institutions. My role is to research and write stories about women and gender diverse people’s economic resilience, especially given the impact of the pandemic. The education that SPPA provided me has helped ground my understanding of the sector. It also contextualized how equity-deserving groups receive — or fail to receive — support, which has helped me develop an eye for stories where people are being marginalized, and search for solutions to alleviate such inequalities.

Sherlyn Assam was one of the first recipients of the Black Canadian Fundraisers’ Collective Award in 2021. The award supports Black students aspiring to pursue a career in professional fundraising and promotes Black leadership within the philanthropic and nonprofit sector to make professional education more accessible, equitable and inclusive by reducing financial barriers. BCFC is investing in the aspirations of future Black fundraisers and ensuring their access to financial support as they pursue higher learning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 in
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