BIPOC Cohort for Nonprofit Leadership


The BIPOC Cohort for Nonprofit Leadership is an exciting opportunity to be a part of building the next generation of leadership in Greater New Haven’s nonprofit sector. The Community Foundation is excited to offer this opportunity to diversify the voices and perspectives of our sector by building a pipeline of BIPOC professionals with the confidence and skills needed to step into leadership positions in our local nonprofits.

Currently employed nonprofit staff who are people of color, work for organizations serving Greater New Haven, and who aspire to senior management positions in the local nonprofit sector are encouraged to apply.


  • Applications open May 3, 2021
  • Applications due by June 4, 2021
  • By July 16, 2021, 10 people are chosen for the cohort, based on career goals in nonprofit management in Greater New Haven

Participant Expectations:

Year One:

  • Beginning in September 2021, you will participate in bi-weekly, three-hour training sessions (including three full-day sessions at the beginning, mid-year and closing; remote or on-site in New Haven)
  • In September 2021, a first year General Operating Support grant of $15,000 is made to the organization where you are currently employed
  • In May 2022, with guidance from The Community Foundation, you will lead your organization (or another designated organization) through the administration of the TCC Group’s Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT).
  • You will assume a leadership role within your organization to facilitate discussion to prioritize the CCAT recommendations and to implement organizational initiatives based on the prioritized CCAT recommendations. Implementation programs should be completed within six months.

Year Two:

  • A second year grant of $15,000 is made to your organization in June 2022, with at least $5,000 set aside for CCAT implementation and the balance for General Operating Support.
  • In September 2022, you and your cohort members begin monthly networking meetings.
  • During the second year, you may be engaged with a mentor/coach for continuing professional development.
  • Under consideration is a group project in service to a local nonprofit (not one of the participating organizations) which will be supported by the UConn instructors and The Foundation.

Training Program:


The program frame is being designed by co-leads; Dr. David Garvey, Director of the University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy’s Nonprofit Leadership Program and Yolanda Caldera-Durant, along with adjunct instructor topic experts and seasoned practitioners. However, gathering input and ideas from the leadership program cohort participants themselves will be critical to inform the co-design of the program model. Understanding the participants’ perspectives and priorities for what they seek to gain from the program will support their commitment and buy-in for this experience.


Seasoned practitioners in their fields will be teaching the topical areas. The teaching staff will be racially and ethnically diverse. There is a deliberate focus that the majority of instructors will be people of color.

Reflections on Racial Equity

The program will not have a specific session on racial equity. Rather we encourage the issues and ramifications of race, equity and inclusion to be baked in, embedded, in every topic. Because it matters in every topic (from governing boards to philanthropy, fund development, human resources to leadership).

Monthly topics:

Introduction and the Power of Community

September (Full Day)

Welcome to the program kick-off day! The morning will be a time for you to get to know your fellow learning partners, who will join you on this learning and growth journey. In the afternoon, we will discuss the change that we seek to develop within our communities, the theories behind change, and how the key lever to change is the community itself. We will explore the foundational themes of racial equity and systems change in ensuring nonprofits are effective and impactful.

The Importance of Governance


A nonprofit’s volunteer board of directors are the community owners of the nonprofit. The CEO/Executive Director reports to the governing board and carries out the mission and vision articulated by the board. In our two October sessions, we will examine the key roles and responsibilities of the governing board. We will examine approaches to governance, the power and importance of equity and inclusion, and the dynamic relationship between the board and the CEO/Executive Director.

Leadership and You


In this session, we will reflect and examine leadership from a self, team and community perspective. Leadership is a personal mode. We will reflect on your skillsets and natural preferences. In addition, we will examine cultivating leadership within individual organizations, within the context of strategic partnerships and your larger communities. We will also reflect on the importance of self-care for you as a leader and balancing that with your other life roles.

Human Resources – People are Your Most Important Asset


We will examine key practices in creating an organizational culture that promotes a healthy work environment that attracts, cultivates, and retains the people that move your mission forward—from paid staff to volunteers. We will also examine essential legal aspects of human resources.

Strategy—How We Get There

January (Full Day)

Strategy is the means you use to implement your organization’s mission. We will examine proven strategic tools that assist you in assessing your organization’s environment and to navigate your organization’s course in those waters. We will look specifically at the theory of change and the larger context of systems change to address systemic barriers that can impede your organizations progress, and methods to bring about systemic change.

Understanding Financials


To be an effective manager, it is important to understand the key concepts and tools of nonprofit budgeting, accounting, and finance. Having a solid understanding of how to use financial tools will inform your decision making to guide your programs and organization in a healthy direction. This session will provide you with that core essential knowledge.

Program Evaluation – Essential and Sometimes Elusive


How do you know if your organization is having an impact in your community? How do you communicate your impact to stakeholders? To answer these essential questions, you need to devote time and resources to evaluating the impact of your nonprofit’s programs. We will examine effective practices in helping you decide what to measure, how and why. Remember measurement creates a voice: whose voice(s) are you presenting?

Raising Funds to Propel Your Mission


Attracting funding to move your mission and operations forward is essential. We will examine methods for creating a fund development plan (from self-supporting income to philanthropy) to accomplish your financial objectives. We will also dig into the core essentials of grant writing and friend-raising (philanthropy).

Reach Out and Tell It to the World

May (Full Day)

Our last day will focus on your nonprofit’s voice—communications. How do you tell your nonprofit’s story to the world? Are you telling the right story to the right people? It is critical to pair the stories of your nonprofit’s impact with your data. We will examine who your stakeholders are (internal and external) and how to reach them. We will dive into social media and examine the key role of nonprofits and their leaders in advocacy and lobbying.

Beyond Year 1 of the BIPOC Cohort for Nonprofit Leadership

Once you have completed the first year of the program, in September 2022 your cohort will meet for monthly networking meetings. These gatherings will provide you with the opportunity to deepen your relationships and opportunities for partnerships with your cohort members.

Cohort Reflection

Reflection (individual and peer) is an important part of the program design. For each session, we will allocate time for reflection. Cohort members will be asked to write down their reflections on the content and how it relates to them and their nonprofit. Then participants will form breakout groups to share these reflections with their peers. Additionally, cohort peers will work together to problem solve and serve as accountability partners for specific changes and strategies that the leaders want to experiment with individually and within their organizations. The program co-leads and adjunct faculty will check in with all the breakout groups to listen in on participant reflections and action steps and will share guidance and input as needed. (Total reflection time possibly 30-45 minutes.)

Graduation Celebration

University of Connecticut Academic Credit

Upon completion of the nine-month education program, all students will receive a certificate of completion. In addition, depending on the academic standing and needs of the student determined at the beginning of the program, three UConn undergraduate or graduate credits will be awarded to each student which may be applied towards any University of Connecticut degree or graduate certificate program, including the Department of Public Policy’s (DPP) Online Nonprofit Management Graduate Certificate or the Executive Track Master of Public Administration Fellows Program.

Scholarship Towards Future Academics

To support the continued professional development of the emerging leader cohort, along with academic credit, a scholarship of up to $1000 will be awarded, by the UConn DPP, to qualifying students towards the graduate level the UConn Online Nonprofit Management Certificate or the Executive Track Master of Public Administration Fellows Program.

Please direct questions about this grant program to Jackie Downing or Kara Straun.