Internships and Capstone projects in the MPNL and DPNL programs offer practical experiences that assist students in their professional careers and add value to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.


The Professional Development Internship is an elective course (PANL 5009) that spans one semester — and is an unpaid internship with a community partner in the sector. The internship gives students an opportunity for hands-on, supervised professional development experience, for seven to 10 hours a week, spanning over ten weeks (one semester) — work that helps to address partner organizations’ needs and makes advances in the philanthropic and/or nonprofit field. An internship culminates in a 20-30 page (or equivalent) analytical paper to be assessed by the academic supervisor.

Before the semester in which they wish to undertake an internship, students should contact the MPNL Graduate Administrator (, who will help with placement possibilities using a list of our community partners.


The Capstone Project is a mandatory course (PANL 5010) completed in the final term of the MPNL program. It provides valuable professional experience for students and contributions for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Students work in teams, under the guidance of a faculty supervisor, during the final fall term. Students work on projects nominated by Community Partners. At the end of the term, students present their findings and submit a report to the organization and the faculty supervisor.

Examples of previous Capstone Projects

Leadership Practices of Emerging Community Foundations in Manitoba” (2022) is by Courtney Feldman, a Capacity Building Consultant with The Winnipeg Foundation. A key initiative in her portfolio is the Endow Manitoba program, which works to advance the sustainability, growth and impact of the province’s 57 community foundations. Her Capstone highlights a shift in how community foundations are creating community impact, a shift from what was historically a financial institution for the community to, now, a vehicle for change and impact through coordinated efforts, long-term relationships and a holistic look at community wellbeing. Read more in this article with Courtney Feldman.

“How to Start a Nonprofit in Canada: Everything You Need to Know” (2023) is a Capstone Project by MPNL students Kira McDermid and Emma Wood and was released by the Muttart Foundation. The report outlines how to start a nonprofit organization in Canada, with specifics for each province and territory and at the federal level. Additionally, the authors explain the steps required during the first year of an organization’s existence. Their sources include government and academic research, as well as interviews with four recent founders of organizations.

“Follow the Money: A Study of Gift Acceptance Policies and Practices at Canadian Universities” (2023) is a Capstone project by Tanya Rumble, Bill Mintram and Ellen Doty, graduate students of the MPNL program. It provides key findings about if and how gift acceptance policies and practices account for: ethics; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI); and reconciliation, decolonization and Indigenization. It also provides practical considerations for advancement professionals to consider when creating or revising gift acceptance policies in the short-, medium- and long-term. A free, one-hour video webinar also summarizes some of “Follow the Money.”

“It’s Time to Go: A Self-Guided Workbook to Assist with Nonprofit Organizational Closure” (2021) is a Capstone project by Uzma Gilani, Praan Misir, Shane Norris and Ellie Sabourin for the Muttart Foundation. Using findings and lessons from Canadian nonprofit leaders who faced difficult decisions, this workbook provides information to help groups to end a program or to close down an entire organization.

“Time to lead: Empowering women in nonprofit leadership” (2019), by Christina Labarca, Lauren Phillips and Ray Eskritt, is a Capstone with the Ontario Nonprofit Network. Please see the authors’ blog summarizing the findings.

A note for organizations

Every spring, the program accepts applications from sector organizations to host a team of students on a Capstone Project in the fall term. Organizations that wish to be involved in Internships or Capstones — or who require further information — should contact us at

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