Georgia State’s NLA Student Association Captures Two National Awards

Posted On January 11, 2017 by Marcia Jones Cross
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ATLANTA–The Georgia State University Chapter of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) student association captured two of five national awards at the annual NLA Alliance Management Institute (AMI) conference in Denver on January 5, 2017.

The two honors, Student Leader of the Year Award and Mutual of America Nonprofit Partner of the Year Award, were awarded to David Garcia (M.P.A. ‘16, CNP, ‘16) and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta (CFGA), respectively.

ami-2017-with-david-and-laurenThe Student Leader of the Year Award is presented to an NLA student who exemplifies leadership in the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) student experience, as demonstrated by progressive leadership and success as a leader in one’s campus Alliance student association.

“David, a Marine veteran and nontraditional student, exhibited superb leadership skills while serving Georgia State’s NLA executive board as special events chair,” says Marcia Jones Cross, NLA campus executive director. “In his role, David was required to plan the annual spring mini-conference, one of the largest activities for the year.

“David’s strong connections to several organizations through internships and volunteerism, such as The Mission Continues and Team RWB, enabled him to execute a day-long mini-conference that addressed a myriad of issues facing veterans and veteran-serving organizations. Moreover, he converted his peers’ thinking from a tepid embrace to enlightenment and praise for how much they learned; and nonprofit organizations connected and began new conversations about collaboration.”

The Mutual of America Nonprofit Partner of the Year Award is presented to a nonprofit organization that demonstrates leadership and commitment to the preparation of the social sector workforce through its partnership and support of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The award recognizes a nonprofit that has significantly utilized its partnership with one or more Alliance campus partners to further the work of the organization.

“The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta has been a partner to GSU’s NLA chapter for nearly a decade. It was instrumental in re-establishing the NLA Chapter on the Georgia State University campus in cooperation with the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and its Nonprofit Studies Program,” says John O’Kane, NLA faculty advisor.

“Since 2013, the CFGA has provided a total of $25,000 to support 55+ students’ attendance at the Alliance Management Institutes in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Houston and Denver so that they could become eligible to earn their CNP credential.”

Alicia Philipp, president of the CFGA, was instrumental in encouraging NLA to host its 2013 AMI in Atlanta and provided general planning and support for that conference. In addition to its financial support, the CFGA has hosted a student intern annually over the past five years. In 2016-2017, a fellowship was created at the CFGA with a $10,000 annual stipend for Andrew Young School students interested in nonprofit careers.

Accepting the award on CFGA’s behalf was former co-president of Georgia State’s NLA chapter, Lauren Kline Jeong (B.S., Public Policy-Nonprofit Leadership, ‘13, CNP, ‘13), who is currently employed as a program associate at the CFGA.

In addition to the two national awards, six Georgia State NLA students were among the 26 students from universities around the country who received their Certified Nonprofit Professional credentials at AMI 2017: Jalisa Davis (B.S., Public Policy ‘16), Beth Ramirez (M.P.A. ‘17), Kayla Sullivan (M.P.A. ’17), Christabel Ghansah (M.P.A. ’17), Ambra Noble (M.P.H. ’17), and Renaldo Leon (Graduate Certificate, Nonprofit Management and Social Enterprise, ‘17).

“We are very proud of our students in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance,” says Andrew Young School Dean Mary Beth Walker. “These awards not only recognize the ongoing excellence of one of the university’s top programs in student engagement, they are also an endorsement of the larger nonprofit community in Atlanta and its support of our students through internships and other mentoring activities. From every angle, it’s a win-win.”

Winning national awards is not new for GSU’s NLA program. In 2014, the program was recognized with the Campus Program Excellence Award as the top program in the NLA network of 40-plus campuses across the country. In 2016, GSU NLA students won first place for best practices with their poster presentation on a social media clinic they held for local small and mid-size nonprofits.


In addition to this year’s national awards, M.P.A. student Rebecca Sullivan received NLA’s Alliance Career Development Award, which is designed to eliminate the barrier of an unpaid internship by providing a $2,000 internship stipend for students completing their CNP credential. Sullivan, who will graduate in May 2017, is interning with Atlanta’s TechBridge, a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofits.

The mission of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is to strengthen the social sector with a talented and prepared workforce. For more information go to: