Mendoza School of Business

Transforming Communities with the MNA

MNA grad uses degree to catalyze positive change for Chicago-area nonprofits

Author: Angela Sienko and Bryan Fields

Share to:

Lydia Schwerin (MNA ’22) isn’t the only one who has been impacted by her Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) degree from the University of Notre Dame; so, too, are the Chicago area nonprofits she serves as a client services associate at Latz & Company, a fundraising consulting firm that partners with nonprofits to help them prepare for and implement major gift programs and capital campaigns.

Lydia Schwerin MNA ’22

Even before she joined Latz & Company, Schwerin was passionate about nonprofit work. In 2021, she decided to earn her master’s degree and add solid business skills to her passion to increase her impact, something she was able to do right off the bat.

“I was able to immediately apply the skills I learned in the classroom directly to the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County, Indiana (BGCSJC), where I worked as a project specialist,” Schwerin said. “I directly applied my skills from accounting, statistics, and strategic management to the challenges we were having at the BGCSJC and began putting new processes in place.”

As she progressed through the MNA program, Schwerin leveraged her classroom skills to improve BGCSJC at every step. During her practicum, Schwerin worked with Mendoza’s Kristen Collett-Schmitt, associate dean for innovation and inclusion and associate teaching professor in finance, to develop a financial literacy curriculum to help underserved women. The project won her grant-writing class competition and the $1,000 prize, which she used to implement the curriculum at the BGCSJC.

Upon earning her MNA degree, Schwerin was promoted to director of the Before Care program, which provides care for elementary school children from 6:00 a.m. until school starts. Schwerin accomplished a lot in that role, tackling issues such as low staff morale. Employing lessons about the importance of recognition, she engaged with the staff, soliciting their feedback and input. Before leaving that position, she won them a much-needed raise.

Since January 2023, Schwerin has served the Chicago community through her role at Latz & Company, where she not only enjoys having the opportunity to help nonprofits but also the chance to work with another Notre Dame graduate, CEO Leo Latz (ND ’80).

“I went to Latz because it’s so mission-driven,” she said. “Finding a place where nonprofits are the focus and making them better is the perfect opportunity to grow the good in business.”

See how Mendoza’s Master of Nonprofit Administration degree can give you the business skills to help your nonprofit succeed.

Mendoza School of Business