Innovation in Philanthropy

With more than 1.5 million registered charities in the U.S. alone,1 philanthropy professionals with an advanced degree are in high demand to lead nonprofit and charitable organizations. 

The M.A in Philanthropy and Development program at Saint Mary's is a unique and innovative master’s program — providing an impactful, transformative educational experience. The program is designed for experienced development professionals who, shaped by their ethical values, embrace the opportunity to become catalytic agents of change. As a graduate, you’ll become a part of a vast alumni network that includes some of the industry's leading experts in the field of philanthropy and development.

Virtual Information Sessions

Earn your M.A. in Philanthropy and Development!

There is an urgent need for qualified professionals in the philanthropy and development sector. Learn more about how you can increase your skills with a M.A. in Philanthropy and Development.

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Learn about the profound and influential role a development professional plays in today’s world and how to create and implement innovative fundraising strategies. Grounded by our Lasallian Catholic mission and identity, Saint Mary’s empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. Our mission — lived out every day — will help guide you as you continue to support the common good in your philanthropic role.

What You’ll Learn

In this program, you’ll develop a robust skill set and deepen your knowledge of development, organizational readiness, and successful development planning. Explore the vital importance of building donor relationships and effective communication plans. Plus, gain valuable insights into the complexities of volunteer management and board governance, the role of ethics and values as a philanthropic leader, and legal concepts and principles that regulate nonprofit organizations. 

Program Highlights 

As a leader in philanthropy and development education for over 30 years, Saint Mary’s is recognized for its commitment to educating highly-qualified, ethical development professionals. 

  • Practitioner-led instruction. Nearly 75% of the program’s instructors are working professionals leading their own successful development programs.
  • Certified faculty. Learn industry knowledge from faculty members who hold the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) credential, the top credential of the fundraising profession.
  • Expert faculty. Faculty members have authored chapters or complete texts of best-selling books in fundraising essentials, donor communication, and ethical fundraising.
  • Unique worldwide viewpoint. Gain a global perspective from international students in the program and international guest speakers, enhancing the classroom experience.


Two summer residencies are held on our Winona Campus during this 18-month program. This is an opportunity for you to engage and network with faculty and peers, creating a unique and inspirational experience for professional growth. During the residencies, you’ll develop real-world experience by working with local nonprofits to help strengthen their development operations.

These two-week residencies are a time for building community, growing professionally and personally, and an opportunity for reflection. The residencies are what many graduates describe as a transformative — and memorable — experience.

Career Outlook

The nonprofit sector is the third-fastest growing sector in the U.S. economy,2 and finding qualified candidates can be extremely challenging. In a recent study of nonprofit professionals, 85% of respondents indicated it was challenging to find qualified candidates.3 This urgent need for qualified professionals is critical to provide nonprofits with the resources to grow and thrive, impacting millions of lives each year. 

The M.A. in Philanthropy and Development program is designed for students currently working in development operations or nonprofit organizations. Whether you're a gift officer wanting to advance to a major gift officer or development director — or if you’re inspired to lead a major initiative and need to develop your skill set — this program will help you become the leader your organization needs to fulfill its mission and vision. 

Scholarship Opportunities

Saint Mary’s is pleased to offer four scholarship opportunities available only to students studying in the M.A. in Philanthropy and Development program. 

All scholarship applicants must complete the M.A. in Philanthropy and Development Common Scholarship Form to be considered for one of these scholarships. Scholarship applications are due June 1.

Scholarship Application (pdf)

  • The Philanthropy and Development Alumni Scholarship
  • Tim Burchill Scholarship
  • F. Walter and Mary Ann Riebenack Scholarship
  • Kristen A. Riebenack Memorial Scholarship

1The nonprofit sector in brief at (visited February 25, 2022).

2The 2020 nonprofit employment report: the 3rd largest employer faces the COVID-19 crisis at (visited February 25, 2022).

3Dickerson Bakker, help wanted: a national study of staffing in nonprofit fundraising at (visited February 25, 2022).

Connect With Us


Audrey Kintzi, ACFRE, M.S.

Vice President Emerita and Executive Director

MA in Philanthropy and Development

Brother Louis Hall, BLH 233

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4560

Audrey Kintzi M.S.
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