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Capstone Project

Capstone Description

The Nonprofit Management master’s degree Capstone Projects afford a group of students the opportunity to undertake complex, real-world, client-based projects for nonprofit organizations, supervised by a faculty member. Through the semester-long capstone project, students will experience the process of organizational assimilation and integration as they tackle a discrete management project of long or short-term benefit to the client organization. The larger theoretical issues that affect nonprofit managers and their relationships with other stakeholders, both internal and external, will also be discussed within the context of this project-based course.

Course Format and Learning Objectives

The capstone is a collaborative project that is intended to integrate the various competencies and interests of the students. It is an intensive experience that results in a major presentation and report that will be part of the students’ portfolios.

In class, students will work as one team in order to solve multidimensional challenges faced by an established nonprofit that has been chosen by the program director and faculty. During this one-semester time frame, they will be guided by faculty with real-world experience and expertise on issues faced by nonprofit organizations.

At the end of the semester, students will give a presentation and submit a report. Subsequently, students will be asked to self-reflect on their capacities and expectations coming into the capstone experience.

Potential Capstone partner organizations, can find more information about this opportunity here.

If you would like your organization to be considered for Columbia University’s M.S. in Nonprofit Management Capstone Project, please email: SPS-Nonprofit [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.

Capstone Clients have included the following organizations:

  • Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: Mission is to provide support, services and education to individuals, families and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias nationwide, and fund research for better treatment and a cure.
  • American Ballet Theater: Mission is to create, to present, to preserve and to extend the great repertoire of classical dancing, through exciting performances and educational programming of the highest quality, presented to the widest possible audience.
  • Artistic Noise: Mission is to bring the freedom and power of artistic practice to young people who are incarcerated, on probation, or otherwise involved in the justice system. 
  • Groundwork: Mission is to to encourage active living and healthy eating,  improve quality of life, and achieve better health outcomes for all residents, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, age, gender, or ZIP code.
  • Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council: Mission is to promote and preserveequal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications, and broadband industries.
  • Museum of Mathematics: Mission is to strive to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council:  Mission is to safeguard the Earth, its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.  
  • NY Immigration Coalition: Mission is to advocate for the rights of all immigrants in New York State.
  • Operation BBQ Relief: Mission is to respond to natural disasters and other situations to help feed displaced residents and emergency personnel. 
  • Peace Innovation Foundation: Mission is to be dedicated to fostering peace, stability and prosperity in developing regions of the world through the promotion of innovation and technology, focusing on education, entrepreneurship, opportunity, security, and sustainable development.
  • Riverside Language Program: Mission is to help new immigrants successfully integrate into life in the U.S. by rapidly improving their English language skills, providing wrap-around case management and counseling, and incorporating workforce development skills, digital literacy, and civics into daily instruction. 
  • Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum: Mission is to, together with local communities, illuminate and amplifie their collective power. As our neighborhoods undergo social, economic, and environmental changes that individuals alone cannot address, there is a need for communities to bring together their combined knowledge and strengths.
  • Tuesday’s Children:  Mission is to serve and support our nation’s military Families of the Fallen; builds resilience and common bonds in communities worldwide recovering from tragedies; and keeps the promise to support all those impacted by Tuesday, September 11th.
  • Urban Justice Center: Safety Net Project: Mission is to provide a platform for dynamic advocates to fuel social change, leading the way for a just, fair, and decent society.
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights:  Mission is to champion for the rights and best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children, making sure that wherever they land, whether here in the U.S. or in their home country, they are safe.