A year and a half after finishing his Master of Arts degree in Philanthropy and Development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Michael Chatman M’12 has been recognized for his professional reputation by being named to The NonProfit Times (NPT) Power and Influence Top 50.
Chatman is the senior vice president of philanthropy at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri. His main duties entail training board members how to fundraise and build community endowments, or in his words, “helping build more generous communities.”
“I have a grassroots approach to cultivating generosity and innovative philanthropy,” Chatman said. “I represent the everyday philanthropist. Whether you have large or small amounts of dollars to contribute, you can be a philanthropist.”
For three summers, Chatman spent three weeks on the Winona Campus studying in a residency program. This blended delivery method worked best for Chatman, who was living with his family in Florida at the time. He wanted to study at Saint Mary’s, but he couldn’t move his family. The online component paired with a summer residency made perfect sense.
Then, between his second and third summers in the program, Chatman was selected for his position with the Community Foundation. After working out the details, his new employers agreed to let him finish his master’s degree with a third summer of residency. “The schedule made it very feasible and possible,” Chatman said. “That was very attractive. I wouldn’t be able to have done it otherwise.”
Chatman’s most valuable takeaway from the Philanthropy and Development program was the identification of his own specialties within the field.
“I thought a master’s in this field was just fundraising,” Chatman said. “In the Saint Mary’s program, I learned that there was a broad spectrum of things you can do. I describe myself as more of a social entrepreneur, and the program helped me find where my gifts were.”
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks where Chatman now serves as senior vice president is one of 800 Community Foundations throughout the country. Chatman’s branch is the 59th largest, managing around $260 million in assets for the Springfield community.