Frequently Asked Questions - Nonprofit Portfolio Certificate Program

How significant is the nonprofit sector in the United States?

The U.S. nonprofit sector engages more than 64 million adults in volunteer activity, employs 10% of the U.S. workforce and attracts $390 billion in annual giving by individuals.

How do I start a nonprofit organization in Texas?

The Texas Secretary of State information is available online including a link to Internal Revenue Service filing instructions for charities. Helpful pre-incorporation considerations and toolkits are available in the online legal resource library of Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources.

What does RGK stand for?

The 'RGK' in our name refers to Mrs. Ronya and Dr. George Kozmetsky, founders of the RGK Foundation, whose initial $5 million grant established the Center in January 2000.

What is the relationship of the RGK Center to the LBJ School?

The RGK Center is an endowed academic center of The University of Texas at Austin, whose administrative and financial operations are based at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.  The RGK Center mission, activities, and events seek to serve the entire university campus, as well as to foster community-academic collaboration.

Who is eligible to participate in the Nonprofit Portfolio?

Any graduate-level student at the University of Texas at Austin is eligible. The program cohort commonly includes students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, School of Social Work, McCombs School of Business, Education and Communication.  As long as applications include a reasonable course of study, all academic disciplines are accepted.

What is the application deadline?

Students may apply and join the program at any time. Students planning international placements or semesters abroad should apply sooner and discuss plans with the Program Coordinator. 

What are the benefits of the Nonprofit Portfolio?

  • Community: students attend social events with graduate colleagues and alumni who share a passion for the nonprofit sector.

  • Professional development: lectures, networking, internships, and opportunities for additional training and skill development. 

  • Cross-disciplinary learning: students can take courses outside their home department.

  • Academic recognition: completion of the Nonprofit Portfolio Program appears on official UT transcripts.

  • Career advancement: receiving notice of internship and jobs, as well as opportunities to meet nonprofit professionals in the area.

Do I need to take additional credits or extend the amount of time I’m enrolled at UT?

Not usually. The program is designed so most students can complete the Portfolio during their regular degree program.  By carefully mapping one’s academic schedule and use of electives, the majority of students finish on time. Some departments may have fewer electives and less flexibility in scheduling, in which case it may be necessary to take extra classes in order to complete the Portfolio.

Does my internship count toward the Portfolio course requirement?

Yes, typically. Students completing an academic internship or field placement may receive up to 3 credit hours toward Portfolio completion. The internship must receive academic credit and be with a non-profit or public service organization. It does NOT matter whether it is paid or unpaid.

How do I meet the 40-hour volunteer service requirement? Does my internship count?

Volunteer opportunities are shared and publicized throughout the year. It's the student’s responsibility to track hours using this form. An internship can count toward volunteer hours if it is unpaid and not being used toward the Portfolio course requirements, i.e. no “double dipping.” An unpaid internship at a nonprofit organization can count either toward the Portfolio course requirement or the volunteer service requirement, but not both.

How do I register for Portfolio-approved classes outside of my home department?

Each school/department has its own system for out-of-department students to register for courses listed on their departmental website.  Usually, available space in courses opens to out-of-department students a few days after the registration period opens.  The Program Coordinator is available to provide guidance and suggestions. 

How do I petition for a course not on the approved list to count? 

Students may submit a petition for a substitute course to the Program Coordinator at any time.  Course petitions must include a copy of the course syllabus, a copy of the final project, presentation or paper and a cover note (or email) from the student explaining why this particular course supports their interest in the nonprofit sector. The RGK Center reserves the right to accept or decline any such waiver request. 

How many events am I required to attend?

Portfolio students are expected to four events related to professional development and networking in the nonprofit sector.  Exceptions may be granted for extenuating circumstances, e.g. personal or family illness, conflicting class time, or a job interview.  Substitute events may be approved by the Program Coordinator.

May I take another portfolio program with this one at the same time?