RIC, RI Foundation Partner to Develop Pipeline of Diverse Fundraising Professionals

Rhode Island College Impact

The new Fundraising Apprenticeship Program is a collaboration between the RIC School of Social Work, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Rhode Island College (RIC), the Rhode Island College Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP-RI) have partnered to create a Fundraising Apprenticeship Specialization through the Certificate of Graduate Studies program at the School of Social Work (SSW). The specialization is intended to develop a pipeline of diverse fundraising professionals. The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to fund the pilot program.

“The purpose of the program is to provide the Rhode Island nonprofit community with access to professionally trained fundraisers," explains Dr. Jayashree Nimmagadda, Interim Dean of SSW. "The one-year pilot program will support future nonprofit development staffing. We are delighted to announce that three participants have completed their first semester and have now begun their second.”

The pilot group of three participants will complete a one-year Certificate of Graduate Studies in Nonprofit Leadership with a Fundraising Concentration, led by Michael Andrade, program director for the Nonprofit Studies program. The 15-credit curriculum covers skill areas including operations, budgeting, strategic planning, annual giving, planned giving, major gifts and fundraising campaigns. Apprenticeship candidates will work closely with an advisor and as a group towards integrating coursework with apprenticeship opportunities and collective learning. 

Candidates will also complete an apprenticeship at both the Rhode Island Foundation and a local nonprofit organization. Students will spend 10 hours per week on the apprenticeship program and receive a stipend for their apprenticeship.

Finally, candidates will become members of AFP-RI and be required to participate in quarterly events towards building their professional network and industry knowledge. Additionally, they will engage with a mentor from AFP-RI to support their learning and understanding of the fundraising profession. They will also participate in capacity building workshops offered through the Rhode Island Foundation and AFP-RI.  

“It is essential to Rhode Island College’s mission to develop the diverse workforce our state needs to move forward. Rhode Island’s nonprofit community is one of its greatest sources of social and economic strength and creating a pipeline of skilled fundraising professionals will amplify that strength,” said President Frank D. Sánchez. 

“We are proud to partner with the Rhode Island Foundation and AFP-RI to educate and empower the next generation of nonprofit leaders in this state,” added Kimberly Conway Dumpson, vice president for college advancement and executive director of the Rhode Island College Foundation.

“Investing in a well-trained, diverse community of fundraisers is very important to build philanthropy for all in Rhode Island. Doing so will lead to better, more inclusive and equitable outcomes for us all,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “We are thankful for partners like RIC and AFP-RI that join with us to ensure philanthropy is well positioned for the future.”

"AFP-RI has enjoyed a cooperative relationship with RIC and its students for several years; this Fundraising Apprenticeship wonderfully solidifies that partnership, which will be of great benefit to the nonprofit sector across the state,” said AFP-RI Chapter President Amy Gravell. “Even more so, we are thrilled to enrich and expand our community of professional fundraisers here in Rhode Island, particularly with this outstanding inaugural cohort.”