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The Burnham Leadership Experience

 Burnham Leadership experience student team photo

“Community Before Self”- Malin and Roberta Burnham

Thanks to a generous gift from Malin and Roberta Burnham through the Burnham Foundation, nonprofits with limited funds may apply to participate in the College of Business Administration’s Senior Experience Program.

A hallmark of the College of Business Administration for over 25 years, the Senior Experience Program is a requirement for all CSUSM undergraduate business students. Teams of students are matched with projects submitted by a variety of businesses and organizations. Students gain valuable work experience as consultants on rigorous real-world projects while businesses gain concentrated attention from teams of students who provide a fresh, independent perspective. Organizations pay $1,500 to participate in the Senior Experience Program.

BLE student project
BLE students

 While nearly half of the Senior Experience Program projects completed by CSUSM students have been for nonprofit organizations, the Burnham Leadership Experience will open the door for additional nonprofits that may not otherwise be able to afford the Senior Experience Program fee.

 “Philanthropy provides satisfaction in seeing something done that might not otherwise have been accomplished,” Malin Burnham said. “But it takes teamwork to get it done. Cal State San Marcos has a great tradition of collaborating with leaders, businesses and community members to make our region better for all. I’m pleased that the Burnham Leadership Experience will help CSUSM continue to fulfill that mission.”

 The Burnham Leadership Experience allows nonprofits with limited funds to benefit from the Senior Experience Program at no cost to them, while it provides students the opportunity to serve and strengthen our community, built on the Burnhams’ principle of Community Before Self.

View past BLE success stories

Eligibility, Selection Criteria & Application Process

Burnham Leadership Experience projects are one semester in duration, and are conducted in the Fall and Spring semesters. Up to a maximum of three Burnham Leadership Experience projects will be selected to participate each semester.

  • Burnham Leadership Experience applicants must have current 501 (c)3 tax-exempt status in order to be eligible for funding
  • Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to the principle of Community Before Self
  • Projects will provide analytical, comprehensive and implementable solutions to defined challenges facing community-based nonprofit organizations

To apply, please fill out the application form at Sponsor Application webpage.

Please briefly address the following in your application:

(In field marked  "Any additional comments")

  • How will your project put Community Before Self?
  • What types of experience will our students gain in working with your community-based nonprofit organization?
  • How will your project help expand community services?
  • Describe your organization’s need for financial assistance with the $1,500 project fee 

Application Deadline Dates:

  • For Fall semester projects: July 31st
  • For Spring semester projects: November 30th

Nonprofit organizations that are not selected for the Burnham Leadership Experience will have the option to submit their application to the Senior Experience Program and pay the $1,500 fee (fees due October 31 for Fall semester and March 31 for Spring semester). Organizations not selected may also reapply in following semesters.

Apply Now  View past BLE success stories