National University, a nonprofit institution of higher education, recently announced the grand opening of the Sanford Education Center and the national expansion of research-based initiatives aimed at empowering nonprofit leaders, educators and others serving the public good, the university said.

The new center, at the National University’s La Jolla headquarters, features a lecture hall space, with capacity for 150-plus people and integrated video technology. The center will have educational offerings being developed through the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, which will be showcased during a Nov. 19 symposium.

The center is made possible through the support of philanthropist and businessman Denny Sanford.

National University, the second largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California, also announced three milestones. The university is collaborating with Long Island University to expand to the East Coast the Sanford Harmony Program, which encourages positive relationships between girls and boys at the pre-K through sixth grade. In addition, elements of the Sanford Inspire Program have been incorporated into National University’s own teacher programs, and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is expected to launch a Master of Arts degree in cause leadership in spring 2015, the university said.

All three initiatives are overseen at National University by Sanford Education Center Executive Director Allyson Handley.

“This is a momentous occasion for National University, for the city of San Diego, and for communities around the country as we oversee the national expansion of the Sanford Education Center’s initiatives that address needs in the education and nonprofit sector through research-based practices and innovative approaches,” said National University President Michael Cunningham.

The collaboration with educators at Long Island University in New York marks a major expansion of the Sanford Harmony Program, the university said.

Sanford Harmony Program is one of two education-focused programs at the center based on the work of researchers at Arizona State University. The other program, Sanford Inspire Program, helps teachers create inspiring learning experiences aimed at increasing student learning at the K- 12th grade level.

The third center initiative, the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, provides training in nonprofit leadership with an emphasis on fundraising techniques, cause selling and relationship building, through programs being developed by National University's School of Business and Management. Joining the institute recently as an executive-in-residence is philanthropic organizational leader Bob Kelly, who served for 20 years as president of the San Diego Foundation.