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Indiana University
Swanson Credits SPEA with Instilling a Sense of Public Purpose

Nina Swanson earned a BSPA in Environmental Management from SPEA Bloomington in 2007. As the Grants Administrator for the McKesson Foundation and Corporate Citizenship team, Swanson is charged with helping to coordinate the Foundation’s grant program, which supports employee volunteerism, environmental sustainability and philanthropic giving.

When discussing her job she said, “A lot of my role is helping employees support causes that are important to them.”

Only five years out from completing her undergraduate work at SPEA, Swanson makes monthly gifts to SPEA via an automatic funds deduction (AFD) and has been for nearly two years. In so doing, she has made it clear that SPEA is a cause that is important to her.

When discussing what motivates her, as a young alumna, to give back she said, “I work in the nonprofit sector, so I know how important both monetary and voluntary support are to nonprofits. So, I decided to practice what I preach. For me, doing an AFD is a palatable way to make a contribution that matches my lifestyle as a young person who does not yet make a lot of money.”

Swanson wanted to highlight another point that she felt needed emphasis: her gift would be $250 per year but because of her employer’s matching program it becomes $500, doubling the impact. She said, “Everyone should take advantage of that not just here at McKesson but at every company.”

“As I’ve gotten older, which I know is relative since I’m only 27, I have realized how formative my years were at IU and SPEA,” Swanson continued. “I also realized that I’m fortunate that my parents were able to pay for my entire education, but know that is not the case for other students. I also know that tuition continues to rise while state contributions to higher education decline. Because of that, universities have to look for other sources of funding. It is my role as an alumna to support the school so that other students can enjoy it and, particularly for SPEA, its national reputation.”

While continuing to reflect on her SPEA experience and how it prepared her professionally, she said, “I can point to specific courses that prepared me for my role today. The interdisciplinary curriculum prepared me well to collaborate across departments and business units here at McKesson. For example, I work with accounting, finance, public affairs, legal on different projects at McKesson. SPEA and IU courses in Accounting, Economics and Finance taught me how to work with these groups at a Fortune 500 Company. When collaborating with these other business units, I think I have a better understanding of their stake in our projects. As a result, we work together more effectively.”

Swanson also credits SPEA with instilling in her a greater sense of public purpose and a spirit of wanting to give back not only professionally but through community involvement as well. She is an active member of the Junior League of San Francisco, having recently wrapped up the 2011-12 year as chair of the Community and Arts Outreach committee, which was honored with the organization’s Committee of the Year Award. She and her committee members worked to provide arts related programming to Junior League partner organizations and local nonprofits.

Prior to joining McKesson, Swanson worked in corporate development at the American Red Cross Bay Area where she managed the chapter’s Ready When the Time Comes corporate volunteer program. She was deployed to San Diego in the fall of 2007 to manage emergency sheltering during the San Diego Wildfires.

Swanson lives in San Francisco, California. Her roommate is friend and fellow SPEA alumna Rachel Danielson, BSPA ‘07.

To learn more about automatic funds deductions (AFD), please visit: