Neal Hegarty (MPA ’97) has dedicated his career to philanthropy and achieving meaningful social change. Since graduating with his MPA, Hegarty has worked in the nonprofit sector and currently is the Vice President of Programs at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan.
When Hegarty entered the MPA program, he was focused on nonprofit management. He was drawn to social policy and potential impact in the nonprofit sector could make on the world. Hegarty focused his coursework on nonprofit management and statistics. He specifically valued interacting with practitioners as guest speakers in class and the quantitative training. Going through the program allowed him to develop skills across a broad set of policy areas and solidified his career path. While in the program, Hegarty interned with MSU in development. This experience gave him key knowledge of fundraising. He also worked for the Michigan Historical Center Foundation and learned about how a nonprofit operates.
After graduation, Hegarty worked for a Lansing literacy nonprofit. From there, he became a Program Officer in both local grantmaking and national workforce development for the C.S. Mott Foundation. He was promoted to Program Director and then Vice President of Programs and currently oversees all grantmaking. The C.S. Mott Foundation awards grants in its home community of Flint, throughout the United States, and in select international areas through four program areas: Flint Area; Pathways Out of Poverty; Environment; and Civil Society. Hegarty’s position involves developing the overall strategy for directing resources to make the most impact. He is optimistic that philanthropic work is increasing in pace and accelerating change.
Hegarty has stayed involved with the program. This past spring, he came in as a guest speaker to talk about his career with current MPP students and attended the Capstone Research Forum. This year, he is graciously supporting the Capstone Forum in order help the program offer students a valuable opportunity to present and communicate their research. Hegarty also recognizes the large amount international students in the program as highly beneficial. From his work with international organizations, Hegarty has learned that the ability to communicate effectively with people from various backgrounds is an essential job skill. He believes that the MPP program is moving in the correct direction with the renewed focus on evaluation, since program evaluation is particularly important in his field.