In high school, Amanda Sherman was set on teaching English as a second language in the mission field. But when she discovered the extent of poor education in majority world countries on a mission trip to Honduras, she felt a burden on her heart to explore a different path. That’s when her eyes were opened to the nonprofit world. Suddenly, a Masters in Nonprofit Management seemed like the next best step after graduating high school.
“Grace was one of the last colleges I was considering,” Sherman said. “But after going on visits to Grace, getting to know the student ambassadors, and learning about the accelerated masters degree, I thought, ‘I don’t know why I wouldn’t make this choice.’”
Sherman landed on the entrepreneurial management major and the online Master of Nonprofit Management which Grace allowed her to take simultaneously. She took her master’s classes alongside her undergraduate courses beginning her junior year, allowing her to apply all of her undergraduate scholarships to her master’s degree. Plus, it would enable her to graduate with both degrees in just four years.
As Sherman dove into her accelerated masters degree courses, her perspective of the nonprofit world was transformed.
“It was really cool to get a basic understanding of what was going on in the world. The courses allowed me to take what I was learning in class and apply it to the real world,” said Sherman.
Her accelerated masters degree in Nonprofit Management opened up networking and internship opportunities she wouldn’t have had with only her undergraduate program. And because of the program, she was able to make an impact even before she graduated.
Although Sherman originally wanted to start a nonprofit after graduating, she quickly found that her solution for the global education crisis was not realistic.
“I thought the solution to the education crisis was to bring students to the U.S. for their education,” she said. “But when I came to Grace, I took Global Initiative and other classes and became friends with international students. I realized then what it means to come to the U.S. for an education. It’s ineffective and unsustainable for everyone in the equation, and it’s not culturally humble of us to assume that the best solution is to bring students to the U.S.”
That’s when Sherman questioned what she was going to do with her degrees. Thanks to God’s grace and her Career Institute course, Sherman got into contact with an organization called Edify, which “improves and expands sustainable, Christ-centered education globally.” She was shocked and delighted to discover an organization with the same mission she had had since high school.
Sherman knew she wanted to get involved, so in her sophomore year she started an Edify chapter at Grace. Grace students began to express interest and soon she had a small team working toward the same goal. Her chapter began to read the book, When Helping Hurts, plan fundraisers for the organization, and organize a trip to the Dominican Republic so they could see how their funds had impacted the schools.
Finding Simple Charity
Through Edify, Sherman was introduced to Brian Grasso, the founder of a nonprofit called Simple Charity, which helps Christians practice solidarity with the poor. Sherman and Grasso set up a video chat to connect and encourage one another in their like-minded missions to empower college students.
“It was one of the most encouraging and life-giving conversations I’ve ever had,” Sherman said. It was evident from the beginning of the conversation that they were speaking the same language.
As Sherman approached graduation and started to wrap up her master’s classes, Grasso offered her the Director of Students position where she could oversee Simple Charity’s college chapters.
It was a “too-good-to-be-true” moment.
“I found an organization whose mission is exactly what I’d been praying for, and they were looking for someone to fulfill the exact kind of position I desired.” she said. “It was so crazy.”
Sherman completed her first year as Director of Students on June 1, 2021. She spends her time investing in college students, enhancing the existing college chapters, and helping start new college chapters all over the nation. It’s exactly where God wants her to be, and she loves it.
“Our mission is to help Christians practice solidarity with the poor,” she said. “We believe that solidarity means unity regardless of proximity. For us, that looks like learning from the poor by seeing their abundance, standing with the poor by fighting for justice, and sacrificing for the poor through charitable giving.”
As for her masters in nonprofit, she wouldn’t be where she is today without it.
“Many undergraduates enroll in the master’s programs at Grace for the financial benefits since our undergrad financial aid covers our master’s programs too.” she said. “But it’s not the reason they stay. As a recent grad and a woman in business, having my accelerated master’s degree in Nonprofit Management really sets me apart. The experiences and opportunities I had made a huge impact on me and taught me so much about the field of nonprofit business. Having a MNPM gives me credibility among other professionals and helps me have a voice, and I’ve applied so much of my master’s education to my career. It’s exciting!”