Although the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) was designed as an online program well before the pandemic, the program usually begins with a two-week, intensive in-person summer institute in July where students really get to know each other before online classes start.
“I was really excited about the prospect of connecting face-to-face with folks,” says Amy Gorecki, who is graduating from the program this fall.
“My colleagues in the program were amazing though. People were engaged and did everything they could to make sure we were all still learning from each other despite the circumstances. I really enjoyed the connections I made and I hope to have the opportunity to meet my classmates in person in the near future.”
The PNL programs have been based online since 2013, so instructors in the program have experience with online courses. “My favourite course was Globalization of Philanthropy,” Gorecki says. “We covered a broad range of topics and were encouraged by Professor Paloma Raggo to consider perspectives that we might not have had before.”
“I took my greatest learning from Indigenous guest speakers such as Kris Archie from The Circle. I am grateful for the exposure to new perspectives that helped me understand how I can help build more equitable nonprofit organizations and relationships with groups that have been historically marginalized. I have a lot more to learn in this space, but aspects of the program helped me become more aware of my knowledge gaps and where I need to focus my personal learner. I believe this has already made me a stronger leader.”
Gorecki is currently the Executive Director at the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario, an organization that provides professional learning opportunities and resources to Ontario’s science teachers. Because of her accumulated experience in the sector, she was able to apply to the MPNL Professional Entry, which reduces the length of the program by one course and the final capstone.
The challenges she faced as a young professional in the nonprofit sector have helped her see some of the gaps in education and opportunity that exist for future leaders.
“When I started the program my goal was to head towards a career in consulting to train nonprofit leaders of the future. In our sector, we don’t see the emphasis put on training our brightest stars, and that is really something that I think we need to do more of. I’m not sure if this will still be my path, but I am excited to see what my future holds.”