Degree type(s): Master's
Degree field(s): Business & Finance
Location(s): Online; Bismarck, ND;
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

Catholic Philanthropy Specialization

Customize your graduate business degree from the University of Mary with our Catholic Philanthropy Specialization. Through the efforts of the Institute for Catholic Philanthropy—a one-of-a-kind partnership between FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and the University of Mary—we offer a unique three-course concentration, which can be added to any of the graduate business programs. The program can also be utilized as a standalone graduate certificate.

This curriculum is designed specifically for those who are currently serving in or soon entering the field of philanthropy, particularly those serving the Church. The program is designed for working professionals, allowing you to achieve advanced education while continuing your employment. This curriculum is designed to prepare students to sit for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) exam.

Focus and UMary logos for their partnership together.

Catholic Philanthropy Program Highlights

The Catholic Philanthropy program specialization and certificate will train you in the essential skills for a successful career in fundraising in service of the Church.


  1. Flexible Learning

    In addition to one week of concentrated study in July at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, all courses are completed in a convenient online setting that combines all the benefits of classroom learning with the flexibility needed for working professionals.

  2. Expert Faculty

    Learn and study with instructors who are experts in their field, who bring hands-on experience to the classroom and course lessons. Experienced and successful fundraising professionals from both FOCUS and the University of Mary will assist in your education.

  3. Specialized Focus

    Throughout their coursework students are prepared to achieve the prestigious Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification. Yet by drawing upon a variety of early and modern Church writings and contemporary sources, including sacred Scripture, participants explore the nature and meaning of the “theology of gift” and its implications in the profession of charitable giving and fundraising.
  4. Accelerated and Affordable 

    Students in the University of Mary's online MBA program or other master's programs typically take 15 months to complete their degree. Additionally, many of our programs start at just $18,000, making them among the most affordable in the country. Contact the graduate admissions office today to learn more!

The Institute of Catholic Philanthropy has equipped me with a better understanding of giving and very practical principles to put into place when working with benefactors. This program will help the Catholic church in tremendous ways going forward as the Church continues to grow and philanthropy becomes vital to its future.”

Andy Day, Catholic Philanthropy Graduate
Andy Day

Required Courses

There are three courses needed to complete the specialization in Catholic Philanthropy:

  1. Foundations in Catholic Philanthropy
  2. Transformational Giving: Activating the Gift
  3. Principles and Practice

Learn more about how a Catholic MBA compares to your typical online MBA program. There is a difference, and it’s a big one.

The MBA with a specialization in Catholic Philanthropy is ideal for professionals in or desiring to enter the field of fundraising. In addition to being steeped in a curriculum of sound business leadership and management principles and practices, the Catholic Philanthropy concentration enables participants to deeply explore the foundations of charitable giving in the context of the Catholic Church’s rich tradition of scholarship, understanding and experience.

The specialization is designed to be added to Mary’s affordable online MBA programs or other online master’s degree programs in business–including MS in BusinessMaster of Project Management, and Master of Public Administration. These programs are all respected for quality, flexibility, and affordability. When combined with the Catholic Philanthropy specialization, students can receive a respected graduate degree providing a recognized credential combined with philanthropy curriculum focused on fundraising and the foundations of charitable giving.

For their MBA or other graduate business coursework, students can select the online option or choose to study at one of our satellite locations across the region, in evening coursework specifically designed for the working adult.

With projected employment growth of 9 percent between 2014 to 2024*, the demand for degreed professionals in the field of Catholic philanthropy is projected to grow as well.

In addition to earning an MBA, graduates of the MBA with the Catholic Philanthropy specialization are prepared to sit for the CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) exam and careers in a variety of faith-based fundraising enterprises.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Institute for Catholic Philanthropy was founded to serve a critical need in the Church. In a time of extravagant consumerism, the world produces more wealth than ever before; however, the universal call to charitable giving is poorly understood and poorly fulfilled. The Church desperately needs properly trained professionals who can assist the Church in meeting the needs of our time. Through their shared project in the Institute for Catholic Philanthropy, FOCUS and the University of Mary have worked to design graduate-level courses to address this core need in the Church.

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) was founded in 1998 and invites college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendships in which they lead others to do the same. 

The University of Mary is a Catholic University based in Bismarck, North Dakota. Respected for its MBA and other accredited master’s degree programs in business, Mary proudly brings Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine values into its leadership development programs. Moreover, the University of Mary is the most affordable, serious, Catholic university in the nation. Focus and UMary logos for their partnership together.

Catholic Philanthropy Concentration

The following courses are required to complete the Catholic Philantropy Specialization (in addition to the curriculum for your graduate business degree program):

  • Foundations in Catholic Philanthropy
  • Transformational Giving: Activating the Gift
  • Principles and Practice