Director of After School Arts Program for Children at LA's BEST is Winner of Abramson – Muscarolas Scholarship in Nonprofit Management

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Mario Davila is awarded full-tuition scholarship to Antioch University Los Angeles’ Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management Program.

Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) has awarded Mario Davila the Abramson-Muscarolas Scholarship in Nonprofit Management. Davila is a dedicated and passionate arts educator, Director of LA’s BEST After School Arts Program, the founder of LAartlab, and a contributor to many community arts programs. He will receive full tuition to the Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management degree, the newest program at AULA. The first cohort began in fall 2013.

The scholarship was made possible by a generous gift from AULA Board of Trustee member Grant Abramson and his wife Miriam Muscarolas. They established the Grant Abramson and Miriam Muscarolas Scholarship Fund at AULA in 2012 to support graduate management education for students of diverse backgrounds who show leadership promise.

“We are so pleased to have met Mario and have developed a deeper appreciation of how he can leverage his newly acquired knowledge from the Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management program in both his current work and his future endeavors,” said Abramson and Muscarolas. “We were deeply impressed with his passion for his role at LA’s BEST and LAartlab. His articulation of the importance of a solid business foundation to support the mission and vision of his non-profit work is extremely gratifying. Mario is an exceptional ambassador for the MANM program with his spirit of creativity, his ability to articulate the range of ideas that keep him ticking, his engagement of others and his seemingly boundless energy to try and do even more for our communities. We are proud that he is the first recipient of our scholarship.”

Mario Davila has been the Director of the LA’s BEST After School Arts Program (ASAP) since 2004. He is responsible for development and operation of ASAP, an LA’s BEST program which serves over 28,000 children in grades K-6 at 194 LA’s BEST public elementary school sites located throughout the city of Los Angeles. The LA’s BEST arts education department (ASAP) provides hand-on visual art, music, dance, and drama classes to children enrolled in LA’s BEST facilitated by artist-educators. Each 10-week residency concludes with a special culminating event which brings the community together to celebrate the talent and accomplishments of the children.

Born in Chile, Davila works and volunteers in many LA cultural organizations, using his bilingual skills. In addition to his contributions to LA’s BEST, he is a founder of the LAartlab program in which city teenagers conceive and produce free public art events. He has worked as a program developer as well speaker and arts educator for a number of organizations and institutions including the Los Angeles County Art Museum, The Getty Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Watts Tower Arts Center, and USC Fisher Museum of Art.

“This wonderful scholarship comes with a responsibility to make the most of this opportunity and use what I learn to better serve nonprofit organizations,” says Davila. “I feel my calling is to support, and advocate for, increased access to quality arts education programming. I believe that everyone is an artist and providing access to these programs will make for a more creative, healthy, and fulfilled society.”

Nominations for the Abramson-Muscarolas Scholarship in Nonprofit Management were open to employees, trustees, and volunteers in nonprofit organizations that serve the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. Qualified nominees must have been active in the nonprofit sector for a minimum of two years, have demonstrated a strong commitment to the nonprofit sector, and have shown significant leadership potential within their nonprofit organizations and/or the broader nonprofit sector.

“With the knowledge I am gaining from participating in Antioch’s Nonprofit Management program, I would like to help design advocacy plans to support and create needed changes in public policy,” added Davila. “With a more informed understanding of nonprofits in fields other than mine, I would also be better prepared to facilitate collaborations between organizations.

The nonprofit sector is the third largest labor force in the U.S., employing one in ten workers. The MA in Nonprofit Management degree was established to respond to the need to prepare an increasing number of professionals for greater success as program and development directors, financial administrators, executive directors and board trustees leading sustainable, mission-driven organizations. Each 10-week quarter of the18-month program is devoted to the in-depth study of an essential aspect of nonprofit management. Students attend class one evening each week, and on the occasional Saturday morning, with online coursework between on-campus meetings.

Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) provides a rigorous progressive education to prepare students for the complexities of today's diverse societies. AULA, a nonprofit institution and part of the Antioch University system, has served the greater Los Angeles area for 40 years. The core values of social justice, service to the community and lifelong learning lie at the heart of the BA degree completion program and master’s degree programs in Organizational Management, Nonprofit Management, Education and Teacher Credentialing, Psychology, Creative Writing, and Urban Sustainability.

Inspired by the work of pioneering educator Horace Mann, Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. With campuses in Keene, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Yellow Springs, Ohio, Antioch University is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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