Kelly Moates

Majoring in Nonprofit Leadership

Junior Kelly Moates of Braselton thought he would major in biology and later work for a nonprofit animal welfare organization. When he learned LaGrange College had a new Nonprofit Leadership degree, though, he knew it would fit his calling to serve even better.

“I came to LaGrange College to play football, but in my first year I realized I wanted to change my focus,” he says. “I started making major changes trying to figure out who I wanted to be and where I wanted the rest of my life to go. I realized that I really wanted to serve others.”

He immersed himself with spiritual life and service activities on campus. He went to New York to serve as a summer camp counselor for a month with Young Life, and last year he became a summer missions intern at Summer Hill United Methodist Church in Buford. Kelly also spent this past January serving children in an orphanage as well as the homeless in the Philippines through a LaGrange College study-away trip.

So when Kelly learned about the new Nonprofit Leadership program through a cultural enrichment event at the college, he realized it fit him perfectly.

“I want to be involved in business, but I want it to be service-oriented,” he says. “My roommates kind of good-naturedly make fun of me and say, ‘Oh, so your major is Professional Volunteer?’ And when I tell people I’m interested in nonprofits, they say, ‘Oh, so you don’t want to make any money?’

“Nonprofits make money; they just don’t do it the same way others do it. They do it for a purpose.”

LaGrange College’s Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership is an interdisciplinary program housed in the Business Department.  The degree prepares students for successful careers in leadership roles with nonprofit organizations. Students achieve foundational and professional competencies through coursework, hands-on learning through research and service work in the community, and an internship with a nonprofit organization.

Kelly will be in Flint, Mich., this summer after being chosen by Diplomat, a pharmaceutical sales company, for a community-development internship.

“The application process required sending in a project proposal, and my idea was to bring an urban garden to Flint,” he says. “A lot of times organic farms are out in the middle of nowhere and aren’t easily accessible. This proposal makes it accessible for everyone, and for low-income families it creates opportunities for them.”

Kelly likes the mix of business classes in the major along with other courses that interest him, such as religion and sociology.

“It teaches you how to manage the money aspect of a nonprofit,” he says. “You can get into it and serve, serve, serve, but if you don’t have any financial backing, you’re not going to be able to serve for very long. So it’s helping me understand the financial aspects of how to sustain a nonprofit, not just how to start with a good idea.”

With nearly 1.6 million federally registered nonprofits in the United States and more than 38,000 in Georgia alone, employment and leadership opportunities abound.

In a recent article, 3,000 nonprofit organizations said they were planning to hire more people, primarily in administrative personnel, communications, accounting and finance and technology. Nonprofit positions include chief program officers, directors of marketing and business development, CEOs, donor database managers, senior staff accountants, grant proposal writers, directors of development and managers of community programs and volunteer services.

At the graduate level, LaGrange College also offers a new Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development. The only degree of its kind in the Southeast, the program provides practical knowledge and real-world skills in the fields of major gifts, campaigns, planned giving, annual fund and utilization of new and social media in fundraising. Additional coursework in contemporary and historical philanthropic issues, ethics, research and leadership equips graduate students for advancement within the world of nonprofit fundraising.

For more information about the Nonprofit Leadership bachelor’s program, contact Dr. Lydia Rosencrants, chairman of the Business Department, at or (706) 880-8302. For the master’s program in Philanthropy and Development, contact William Jones, Vice President for External Relations, at or (706) 880-8257.

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.