During his educational career at Coppin State University, Quincy Pettis met many individuals whom he says contributed to his success. However, for the Criminal Justice major who enjoyed a minor in psychology and non- profit leadership, Dr. Tenyo Pearl stood out.
“I will not forget when I first enrolled in a non-profit course, Dr. Pearl advised that it was rare being able to accomplish everything that I wanted to accomplish without the right support and mentor,” said Pettis, who graduated in May.
“She reminded me of my mother, which I was able to have a supportive and proud mom at college and home.”
“My first conversation was about the different requirements that I must do to obtain and be a part of something bigger than myself as a Certified Nonprofit Professional or CNP. I am truly blessed and honored that I will be able to help others as a certified professional due to the help with Dr. Pearl pushing me.”
Directed by Dr. Pearl, Coppin is the only school in the University System of Maryland to offer an undergraduate degree in non-profit leadership.
The program allows students to select non-profit leadership as a major or minor and prepares them with high-impact practices to mobilize social change.
“My role as the campus director is to work with students who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others,” Dr. Pearl said.
The CSU Non-profit Leadership program began as an affiliation with the National American Humanics program to prepare future leaders of non-profit organizations. Students receive opportunities to gain first-hand experience working in nonprofit organizations and agencies and building leadership skills and perspectives.
“This assured that students entering the field were well prepared and had answered for themselves whether nonprofit work would be their chosen career path,” Dr. Pearl stated in an email.
“Non-profit work, while extremely rewarding, also can be quite challenging for the uninitiated.”
The CSU program also serves the goal of preparing more African Americans for non-profit leadership. While there is an abundance of non-profit organizations and agencies serving African American communities, especially in urban environments, Dr. Pearl said a significant shortage of African Americans in leadership positions remains.
While many HBCU graduates work in non-profit settings, the program’s goal is to prepare them to move from entry-level positions into leadership positions as their careers evolve.
“I learned many skills that afforded me the opportunity to start a non-profit or two of my own and coach others in their journeys to acquire a non-profit and live out their dreams,” said LaKesha Davis.
“My two ventures include a mentorship and life enrichment program for teens. The goal is to eradicate teen pregnancy, promote intergenerational parenting, and decrease juvenile delinquency in male, female, gender non-conforming and LGBT youth ages 12 to 19 in Baltimore City and County.
“The second project is a resource and event center for LGBT people in Baltimore City and County. This organization is in its infancy, but we have a group of people ready and willing to be change agents in creating safe event spaces and forging the resources of the two neighboring jurisdictions.”
Dr. Pearl noted that many Coppin State University Nonprofit Leadership graduates assume leadership positions in local non-profit organizations.
“As a secondary major or minor, the program prepares students to assume leadership responsibilities regardless of their primary major or focus,” Dr. Pearl said.
“Leadership skills enhance the student’s career and life possibilities in whatever direction they may pursue professionally or personally.”