Executive Education

Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact

An intensive program designed to support people with big ideas in the intersection of faith and social impact. 

A collaboration between the Center for Social Impact Strategy and Interfaith Philadelphia, the Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact is an 8-month online certification from the University of Pennsylvania. Combining the Center’s action-oriented Social Impact Strategy curriculum with interfaith learning and networking opportunities, the novel program is for leaders and innovators working on social impact projects in religiously diverse environments (teams, constituents, communities, donors).

Prospective students may include: 

  • Educators in religiously, racially, culturally diverse learning environments.
  • People delivering faith-based solutions in your city/region.
  • Faith leaders who transcend traditional boundaries and/or are looking to end conflict around the world.
  • College and hospital chaplains serving religiously, racially, culturally diverse student/patient populations.
  • Seminarians and recent seminary graduates looking to enhance their education.
  • People leading congregations in religiously, racially, culturally diverse communities.
  • Civil Servants, Human Resource Professionals, and Community Organizers.
  • Lifelong learners wanting to deepen their understanding and skills for interfaith engagement.

Download a viewbook, attend information sessions, and read more below. When you’re ready, apply at Penn’s Online Learning Initiative by clicking the “Apply” button.

*You do not need to identify with a particular faith or spiritual orientation in order to benefit from the increased interfaith knowledge and collaboration explored in this Executive Program.

Students of the Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact will gain:

  • Access to a Diverse Learning Community: As a Social Impact Strategy student, you will have access to a cohort of classmates working across impact areas and sectors while also connecting with a smaller group of interfaith-focused leaders and changemakers.
  • Interfaith Dialogue Sessions: Join us for optional monthly live calls focused on topics related to faith, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Interfaith Readings, Case Studies, and Other Resources: To supplement our SIS readings, case studies, and other resources, Interfaith Philadelphia has identified additional materials to accompany each class.  
  • Mentorship from Social Impact Strategy Alumni: Our Teaching Team includes alumni of the Social Impact Strategy program and leaders from Interfaith Philadelphia who work at the intersection of faith and social impact. The team runs weekly optional video calls to connect and learn with your classmates throughout the program.
  • Peer Accountability Knowledge and Support (PAKS) groups. FSI students will be grouped into a small Peer, Accountability, Knowledge, and Support (P.A.K.S.) group, which is intended as a consistent environment where a small group with shared interests can build trust and support each other’s learning goals and social impact journey. 


Request Program Viewbook

Once you request a program viewbook, you will be automatically signed up to receive email alerts about the 2023 Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact. 

Apply Now

Applications for the 2023 cohort are now open! Apply by October 21, 2022 for the Early Decision deadline, or by November 18, 2022 for Regular Decision. 

Key Details

March 8-10, 2023
Program Duration
January 11, 2023 – August 6, 2023
Early Decision Tuition
Early Decision Application Deadline
October 21, 2022
Regular Decision Tuition
Regular Decision Application Deadline
November 18, 2022

Get Tools You Can Use Immediately

Our 8-month curriculum is designed to help you put your learning into practice right away, educating students in more than 50 strategic tools, frameworks & resources that you can use to build and scale your ideas.

Earn Ivy League Credentials

Upon completing this program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. You’ll also have the opportunity to continue your studies as a master’s student  in Nonprofit Leadership at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice.

Join a Supportive Global Community

Launching and scaling solutions can feel lonely sometimes. You’re not going it alone — the Penn community is made up of global thought leaders and world changers who are ready to support your impact idea. Connect with your teaching team and classmates from across the globe for optional weekly interactive group discussions.

Learn from Wherever You Are

Complete the Executive Program from wherever you are in the world. Whether your impact idea is directly related to your job or you’re building it on the side, you can complete this program at the same time. You’ll attend class on your own schedule, fitting 4-6 hours of coursework into your weekly calendar as you see fit. New material is released weekly, and the core curriculum is recorded and remains available, once released, throughout the program. So you can learn when it’s right for you, and return to material later in the program. Submission deadlines keep you on track to earning your certificate.

Keep Your Day Job and Get New Perspectives

Whether your impact idea is directly related to your job or you’re building it on the side, you can complete this program at the same time. You’ll attend class on your own schedule, fitting 4-6 hours of coursework into your weekly calendar as you see fit.

Complete Your Work at Your Pace

New material is released weekly, the core curriculum recorded, and remains available, once released, throughout the program. So you can learn when it’s right for you, and return to material later in the program. Submission deadlines keep you on track to earning your certificate.

More About Interfaith Philadelphia

Interfaith Philadelphia is a non-sectarian, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 2004.  In order to promote social harmony and inter-religious understanding, Interfaith Philadelphia equips individuals and communities for interfaith engagement, builds collaborative relationships and stands in solidarity with our diverse neighbors. Their vision is to reflect the vibrancy of a religiously diverse democracy, one in which all people are valued, distinctive traditions are welcomed, and people of diverse backgrounds collaborate to shape a just and compassionate society.

With a focus on long term, enduring impact, all of their initiatives incorporate the following critical components: equipping individuals with competencies for interfaith engagement, building relationships of mutual trust and solidarity, and advancing interfaith understanding in the public sphere. You can learn more about their work and sign up to stay connected to their other programs here

Program Instructors

Program Team

Ariel Schwartz
Managing Director
Profile pic
Bronwen Mayer Henry
Director of Curricular Innovation, Interfaith Philadelphia
Liz Royer Johnson
Program Coordinator
Abby Stamelman Hocky
Executive Director, Interfaith Philadelphia
Mandisa Thomas
Program Coordinator
Asheq Fazlullah
Director, Leadership Institute of Interfaith Philadelphia

How 8 Months of Learning Unfold


Set intentions, meet classmates and the teaching team, and get comfortable with the learning platform.

Social Impact Strategy

In this core class, you’ll gain access to the tools and training you need to articulate your mission, understand and convene stakeholders, and develop a strategy to build a successful social enterprise or initiative.


Cultivate empathetic and human-centered practices to develop new ideas.  Make connections with fellow classmates.

Community & Collaboration

In this core class, you’ll learn techniques for understanding communities, mapping the abundant resources we have around us and cultivating partnerships.

Marketing for Social Impact

In this core class, you’ll understand how to identify what clients and customers need– and build a marketing platform to share your idea successfully.

Business Models for Social Enterprise

In this core class, you’ll gain the knowledge to build something that lasts via an innovative funding model.

Program Electives

To complete your certificate requirements, choose and complete two electives. Upon completing all certificate requirements, students will then have the opportunity to access any additional elective content that you choose.  Electives include: Impact Management, Research Design, Digital Media for Social Movements, Data Science for Social Innovation, Ethical Decision-Making in Social Organizations, Volunteer Management, and Unleashing Large Scale Social Movements


Once you complete your coursework, and it is certified by the teaching team, you will have earned a Certificate of Completion. Although the CSIS Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact Strategy is a non-credit program, alumni are eligible to complete the Master of Science (MS) in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated format.   

Download a Program Viewbook

See the program in action and read about the Executive Program’s faculty, curriculum, and how alumni have put their learnings to use. Once you submit your download request, you will be automatically signed up to receive email alerts about the 2023 Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact.  

Upcoming Info Sessions

Join us for a conversation with the teaching team and other interested applicants to answer questions and explore the program.

Information Session 2: September 8, 2022 at 4pm ET

Information Session 3 & Master Class: October 11, 2022 at 4pm ET

All sessions will be recorded. 

Recorded Info Sessions

2023 Executive Program: Information Session #1

2022 Executive Program: Information Session #1

Schedule a call with a member of the teaching team:

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by "faith?" If I don’t align with a specific faith, will that impact my participation?

We define ‘faith’ broadly, speaking to both formal and informal structures of community, practice, worldview, belief, and spirituality, including those individuals and communities who self-identify as spiritual, atheist, agnostic, secular, or non-practicing. For us, “interfaith” includes the exchange between people of differing religions, and between people who are religious and non-religious. In a world where religious and cultural groups are often siloed from one another, interfaith engagement provides a way to encounter and better understand different beliefs and worldviews without proselytizing. We believe that everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual orientation, benefits from self-knowledge, shared vulnerability, and community learning with people from religions, cultures, and worldviews different from their own.

How will my application be evaluated?

We want to hear your story, your goals for society, and what you want to accomplish in your career. We are looking to learn about you, what you’re passionate about, what you want to learn and why. We hope that the application process might serve as a reflective practice for you to step back and articulate what you’re hoping to accomplish.


The essays are short but extremely important. This is where we learn your goals for the world and the program, and the best way we can assess whether you are at a stage in your venture or career to benefit from participating. We encourage concise, detailed responses.


In the first essay, tell us about the social impact issue area or initiative that you are most passionate about contributing to, and why. Each week of the Executive Program is designed for students to articulate some aspect of this issue, even if they are still ideating. We need to see that you can try ideas out, on paper, concisely and with specifics. You don’t have to pretend that everything is already figured out — actually, we hope you won’t. Instead, share your assumptions about this issue and the things you need to learn in order to take the next step in this work. 


In the second essay, help us understand why you think this program is right for you. What aspects do you most look forward to? What do you hope to accomplish professionally or organizationally in the 8 months of the Executive Program? Why is 2022 the right time for you to undertake our program? 


In the third essay, describe your prior actions to support a social mission. Volunteer work, sitting on a board, acting as an engaged funder, working in an organization that did good work either as its main business or on the side…there are many ways to help make the world a better place. 


If you have questions about admissions, please don’t hesitate to reach out at admissions@csis.upenn.edu so we can discuss.

Are financial aid or scholarships available?

No. Our program is designed to have the lowest tuition possible without losing the integrity of the educational experience. We’re proud to say it is the most affordable comparable executive program that we are aware of. Since the program tuition is already being offered at a discounted rate relative to similar programs, we’re unfortunately unable to offer scholarships. We can, however, offer students who would like additional time to complete their payment the option of an interest-free payment plan over the course of 3 months. Some students have received partial or full tuition from their employers or a donor. Feel free to use this template to calculate the program cost for you and to share with your employer if it is useful in your funding applications.  


If you have questions about finances, please don’t hesitate to reach out at admissions@csis.upenn.edu so we can discuss.

What is the refund policy for the Executive Program?

The $950 tuition deposit is not refundable. Refunds on balances paid will be made consistent with  the School of Social Policy and Practice OpenSP2* refund policy.


Refund requests must occur within 14 days of the start of the class or program (the first materials-release date, for on-demand classes or programs, or the orientation date, for structured programs). Programs that include live class sessions require cancellation and refund requests to be made at least 14 days in advance of the course start date. 


The school  may provide a transfer option to individuals who cancel beyond the limits of this policy, at the discretion of the program leader. 


Refund requests will be honored only if less than 25% of course materials have been engaged with (based on course data analytics). 


*OpenSP2 is a division of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) which reserves the right to change, alter, adjust this policy. OpenSP2 reserves the right to cancel any program for low enrollment or other extenuating circumstances at any time, before the start of the program. If SP2 cancels a program, all participants will receive a full refund. Please also note programs offered on 3rd party platforms (edX or Coursera) are subject to the policies of that platform.


Official communications may be sent to admissions@csis.upenn.edu.


Are there any prerequisites to apply?

There are no educational prerequisites to apply for this program — we are looking for leaders across all industries with a variety of perspectives. Applicants should be comfortable learning in the English language, and have the capacity to stream video.  


If you have questions, or if you think you might need a learning accommodation, please don’t hesitate to reach out at admissions@csis.upenn.edu so we can discuss your questions.

What courses will I take during the program?

You will complete a total of six online courses and attend an in-person convening at the University of Pennsylvania. Required courses include: Social Impact Strategy, Business Models for Social Enterprise, Community and Collaboration, and Marketing for Social Impact. Students select two additional electives from among that year’s choices. In the past, we have offered: Impact Management, Research Design, Digital Media for Social Movements, Data Science for Social Innovation, Ethical Decision-Making in Social Organizations, Volunteer Management, and Unleashing Large Scale Social Movements. Download the viewbook for course descriptions.

What opportunities do you provide alumni?

Alumni are a critical part of the CSIS family, and they receive lifelong access to the CSIS community. We have a private Facebook group dedicated to conversations online for anyone in our network to share resources and support one another. Most years, we also host a free summit in Philadelphia to bring our diverse community together and offer one another a deep sense of community and connection. In 2020 and 2021, these summits have been virtual, and while we like welcoming alumni on campus each year, they have been wonderful opportunities to reconnect with curriculum and classmates. We expect to be back on campus in 2023! 

What did the Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact look like in 2022?

The Executive Program in Faith and Social Impact launched a soft pilot last year as an affinity group within the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy. Students completed the Social Impact Strategy program as part of the larger cohort, and participated in monthly facilitated discussions from interfaith professionals, featuring guest speakers on key issues at the intersection of faith and social innovation. Topics included Religious Literacy, Interrupting Harm, Exploring Faith & Race, and Raising Funds in a Faith-Based Context. Throughout the program, students developed their social impact projects that were rooted in and/or designed for serving people from diverse faith backgrounds. In 2023, we are pleased to offer the Faith and Social Impact Executive Program as a stand-alone cohort, with a fully online Convening and robust faith and interfaith-oriented dialogues.

I understand that the virtual March convening is a required component of the certificate program. What happens if I’m unable to participate?

We strongly encourage all students to attend the online Convening during the live sessions. Please set aside the same time and attention as you would if you were learning in person. This will not be an online session during which time you can sit on your couch, do other professional work, take side calls, or fold laundry. 


Depending on your time zone, it might be challenging for you to attend our live sessions synchronously. Participants will have an opportunity to view recorded sessions and submit their work by the end of the week. 


To facilitate this opportunity, we will also ask you when you enroll the time zone from which you will learn.  Learning sessions will remain synchronous with the in-person event.





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via the Penn Online Learning Platform