MPA Students Raise an Estimated $200K in Grants for Area Non-Profits

MPA Students Raise an Estimated $200K in Grants for Area Non-Profits

Students working on grant writing project

Collaborative proposals that originated in the classroom have raised substantial real-world funds for organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the CT Food Bank, the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, and many more.

The coursework for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program’s “Proposal Writing and Fund Development” class, taught since 2015 by Thomas Sobocinski ’72, MA’78, sharpens teamwork, editing, writing, and audience awareness skills by requiring that students engage in collaborative projects with actual non-profit organizations or local government agencies. Since the course’s inception, Sobocinski estimates that over the years his students' efforts have raised a collective $200,000 in grant funds.

“For the grant writing portion," said Sobocinski, "the class serves as a consulting group to advise their classmates. I guide the discussions and assist each writer with their work.”

First, students are required to contact and enlist an organization to write for; they then write a background paper on the agency to better understand its history, capacity, mission, and purpose. After determining the non-profit’s needs, they research grant sources and plan the writing process in preparation for their first draft and workshop critique. Students are then asked to gather everything needed and submit the grant proposal by deadline.

In addition winning grants for non-profits and government agencies, class participants have been able to take the real-world experience acquired from the course and parlay that into internships and job opportunities.

In the case of Megan Zboray, who took the course as a part of the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, she was able to use connections garnered from her coursework to make a career transition and thrive in the non-profit sector.

“The class was great,” said Zboray, who now works as a proposal writer for Coordinated Transportation Solutions, Inc., in Trumbull, Conn. “It taught me how to write grants and letters of inquiry, plan ahead and break things down into steps, and learn how the development process works. The class connected me to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. I worked with them on a grant and submitted it as part of the course. When I graduated, I went back to Hole in the Wall and volunteered with them, writing letters of inquiry and executive summaries as well as conducting research and helping with events. I was hired as a proposal writer a few months after due to that experience.”

Fairfield University’s state-accredited MPA program is designed for professionals working in the public and nonprofit sectors, recent college graduates, or individuals interested in a career change. Throughout their course of study, students obtain the essential skills needed to address pressing public issues including fiscal management, project management, grant writing, data analysis, and human resource management.

Learn more about Fairfield’s MPA program or Nonprofit Management Certificate Program

Master of Public Administration

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