Fall 2022 Newsletter

Letter from the Director

Fall 2022 Nonprofit Leadership Newsletter

picture of NoreenThere are many things I love about the fall...The start of a new school year, the beautiful fall colors as the leaves change, and advising meetings. I love meeting one on one with students because I get the opportunity to put Seattle University’s commitment to “educating the whole person” into action. It is a true joy of mine. When I meet with each student, I ask a few key questions:  

  1. How are you doing? This question is important for two reasons, it gives an opportunity for connection and support. So often in our busy world, we ask this question without regard to the real answer. I am interested in hearing about the students’ challenges and what is filling their lives with joy. Listening is important and I strive to provide care, understanding and encouragement in every interaction. 
  2. How are classes going? This is the traditional advising question. I am interested in hearing what the student likes about their classes? What is challenging? What are they learning? And how are they maintaining a sense of balance in their lives? I am listening for themes and often hear feedback that leads to improving the curriculum. 
  3. What can I do to support you in your professional formation? From the very first advising meeting, we start mapping out how the program can help the student achieve their goals. Whether it is expanding their professional network, doing assignments that expands their skill set, or talking about how to integrate learning about social justice into their leadership practice. 

The conversations are always rich. The opportunity to get to know each student and support their academic and professional growth is truly rewarding. Hearing from a student after they graduate and learning about the good works they are doing is why I belief in the Nonprofit Leadership program. Please reach out anytime to me at elbertn@seattleu.edu or share with Program Coordinator cgerman@seattleu.edu 

Meet new student, Reheal Mariam

A picture of Reheal Mariam next to text in front of red backgroundReheal is a nonprofit leader who is passionate about aiding children and women facing houselessness both locally, and globally. This passion is rooted in her faith; and experiences witnessing poverty in the U.S and Ethiopia. Reheal, graduated from the University of Washington with an undergraduate degree in Global Studies, Law Economics, and Public Policy. Her work to reduce poverty internationally is evident through her work with Children of the Nations; an organization that exists to provide care for orphaned and destitute children in poverty-stricken areas of the world. These experience serve as motivation for Reheal as an Entry Specialist at Vision House, a Christian nonprofit serving families experiencing homelessness in Washington state 

The namesake of this scholarship, Mary Stewart Hall was the founding Director of the Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program at Seattle University. This scholarship honors her legacy by investing in a student’s academic excellence and courageous commitment to influence change within the nonprofit sector. Reheal Mariam ('24) exemplifies being a purposeful leader with a track record of organizing, mobilizing, and inspiring others.  

Congratulations Reheal, and thank you for your community service.   



Putting Theory to Practice 

Nonprofit Leadership graduate Cilia Jurdy (2020), shares about her new role, and fundraising for collective liberation

Woman wearing blue shirt leaning against glassCilia works for FEEST, a BIPOC and youth-led organization “that trains youth of color and working-class youth to build collective power and organize for transformative and systemic change in their schools”. Cilia highlights the influence of the organization's mission and how it helps center her approach to fundraising, operations, and finances.  She shares, “As an organization focused on building collective power for systemic change, at FEEST fundraising is not only raising money, it’s raising power in our community. It’s engaging and involving our community in our work to build a base of supporters who will give resources such as money, but also support our youth-led campaigns with their time, voice, and vote.”    

When describing her role, Cilia shares that “Fundraising is what I do most days, but that does not mean I am asking for money all day, every day. I spend my time setting and implementing strategies that include staff, board, and youth, in order to build relationships and bring resources to my organization. Really, what I spend most of my time doing is building and deepening relationships with our community members and partners.”    

Although Cilia came to the program with a background in development and fundraising, she relates that MNPL challenged her to explore her own leadership style and ways of navigating community work. She relates a concept from Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership, “I never complete the task of becoming a leader, it’s an ongoing process”. As a fundraiser, Cilia is often looking at racial equity and social justice within philanthropy and fundraising. Cilia and her team integrates social justice by using grassroots, community-centric fundraising practices. Cilia is especially focused on fundraising in ways that reduce and/or repair harm and further social justice.  

Currently Cilia is working with her team to develop and implement a donor organizing strategy inspired by Social Justice Fund NW’s Giving Projects. This project requires centering the community, and working in deep relationships to build an ideologically aligned donor base. Reflecting on her time in the program, Cilia is grounding her team by asking the following questions:  

  • How can our fundraising more strongly align with our community's culture and institutions?   
  • Am I thinking creatively about soliciting fundraising contributions from many parts of my community, as opposed to a few?   

Committed to continuous learning and growth Cilia attests that, “Social justice is something we will forever be learning and growing in, both personally and professionally. There are spaces where I can be a leader on social justice, and spaces where I need to be the listener, and co-collaborator.” Cilia loves fundraising, and she wants to help them see the fun in fundraising. Her belief is that “Grassroots, community-centered fundraising is exciting, energizing, relationship building to move resources and work together to transform our futures and move us closer to collective liberation! 


Value-Aligned Leadership

Catching up with Melissa Minato, MNPL, HR Director of Learning and Development at YMCA of Greater Seattle

Melissa picture at graduation with her parents.At our recent NPL Connects event for alumni, students, faculty and community partnerships we had the distinct pleasure of catching up with Melissa Minato. Melissa is a graduate of our 2020 cohort of the Master of Nonprofit Leadership program, and recently started a job as HR Director of Learning and Development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle.  

This position is aligned with Melissa’s belief in the power of community, and practice of  relationships as a driving force in implementing justice, anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. These core values are the foundation of Melissa’s practice of providing access and opportunity. She is driven by her personal mission to, “provide people with the resources they need to enact their goals, and meet their own definitions of success.” Melissa is excited to put her human resources, recruiting, program directing, and education in the MNPL program to work for the YMCA.  

For Melissa this opportunity is truly full-circle, as her first job out of college was with the YMCA of Grays Harbor’s Youth and Teen programs. Here is where she learned the importance of community, champions, and mentors. The gratitude she feels for the Y staff, and being welcomed into a new community made her feel like her potential was valued as a recent college graduate. Like many graduates of our Master of Nonprofit Leadership program Melissa used her leadership skills to return to an organization whose mission-aligned with her core values.  

When Melissa feels challenges she often reflects on, “what my grandmothers would think about me, and what I’ve done. I hope they would be proud. Everytime I face the difficulties in life, mental health, career, navigating education, I think about all those in my community behind me and I know [that] I cannot fail and living my values means I cannot fail them.”Melissa is an example of one of our program’s tenet values of preparing leaders for a just-, and humane-world. The faculty and staff are proud to be one of the communities supporting Melissa’s ambition to bring about positive change through her new position as HR Director.

Virtual Event: Women of Color in Nonprofit Leadership

flyer advertising Women of Color in leadership panel.Join us for a virtual presentation and discussion on: How can we collectively create a more equitable pathway for women of color to lead and make lasting social change?  We anticipate a very impactful discussion; and look forward to your presence. At the end of the program, stick around to learn more about Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University. Register now.

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network's 10-year Anniversary 

flyer for YNPN 10-year anniversarySeattle University Nonprofit Leadership is offering free tickets to YPN Seattle's 10-year anniversary. Don't miss this chance to connect with other nonprofit professionals, and hear presentations from our alum Mikala Lain, and faculty Amy Michael. Email cgerman@seattleu.edu for free tickets. 

Congratulate Pathwaves Fellows: Shaterra Overton, and Zana Crites. 

MNPL grads Shaterra Overton (‘19), and Zana Crites (‘22) have been selected as fellows by Pathwaves WA. Founded by a collective of women and non-binary people of color in 2021, Pathwaves is a Washington-based non-profit that advocates for policy reform in early childhood. Their fellowship program is designed to create more pathways for leaders of color to impact the early childhood sector. This work is motivated by Pathwaves value that communities who are most impacted by systemic injustices must be represented in positions of power within policy development processes. 

Shaterra will serve as an Early Childhood Policy Fellow placed with Council for a Strong America. A national, bipartisan nonprofit that engages law enforcement, military, and business leaders to promote policies that enable “kids to be healthy, well-educated, and prepared for productive lives.”  

Zana will serve an Early Learning Policy Fellow and work directly with OneAmerica to support their state-based policy agenda. OneAmerica organizes immigrant and refugee leaders  to build power and run campaigns to create a more just, “immigration system, inclusive education for all, and a truly representative democracy.” 

Alumni Council Update

Group of MNPL Alumni at EventThe Master of Nonprofit Leadership Alumni Council continues to thrive and grow; adding new members; Casey Davis ‘22, Emily Feicht ‘16, Melanie Hetherington-Mayo ‘20, Katie Wojke ‘06. Stay involved with MNPL by attending an event, joining the council, or donating to SU Gives Email cgerman@seattleu.edu for more information.  

Introducing Our New Alumni Council Co-chairs: Tracy Brown and Nathan Box

Picture of Tracy.

Tracy Brown,  Principal Consultant, Equity Leadership Collaborative is a graduate of the Executive Master for Not-For-Profit Program class of 2000 and served as Class President. Currently, she is co-chair of the MNPL Alumni Leadership Council. She leads the recruitment committee and is looking forward to identifying future council members and individuals to apply for and obtain admittance into the Master Nonprofit Leadership Program (MNPL). 

picture of Nathan.

Nathan BoxCommunications and Engagement Manager, Mercy Housing Northwest is a 2013 graduate of the Nonprofit Leadership Program. He currently serves as the co-chair of the NPL Alumni Leadership Council and chair of the fundraising committee. The fundraising committee is hard at work raising critical funds to ensure no student is turned away or must leave the program due to a financial hardship. 

Get Involved

Are you interested in further supporting MNPL?  There are several ways to get involved: 

  • Connect with us on Facebook. 
  • Alumni and current students may join and post job opportunities to our MNPL LinkedIn group. 
  • What's new with you? We would love to celebrate your good news, and job updates. Click here to share. 
  • Want to stay engaged? Join the fundraising, outreach, or events committees of the alumni council. Email cgerman@seattleu.edu to learn more.
  • Spread the word:  Do you know any emerging leaderships looking to develop their skills? Please encourage them to apply by the priority deadline May 15th to be considered for the Master of Nonprofit Leadership program.