Community Leadership Academy for the Social Sector - CLASS

A one year leadership experience for community leaders

Take Your Leadership to the Next Level

Leading efforts for social good can be challenging , especially with limited budgets, minimal training, a changing political climate and reduced support for social progress. Community Leaders need additional training in managing change, embracing innovation and strategic thinking to help them reach their goals. The Community Leadership Academy for the Social Sector is a year long leadership program for community leaders that includes networking with other nonprofit professionals, training and professional development on core skills in social change leadership, and a chance to apply the lessons in real world program management experiences.

Learn more at an upcoming online Information Session


10:30 am Pacific

1:30 pm Eastern


5:00 pm Pacific

8:00 pm Eastern


7:00 am Pacific

10:00 am Eastern

Why leadership development is crucial for the social sector

 Nonprofits employ 10.5 million people in the US, making the nonprofit workforce the third largest of all US industries and the fastest growing sector. Despite the large numbers of nonprofit professionals, access to leadership development and training is often limited due to budget constraints and high turnover rates in entry level and early management positions. 

640,000 new nonprofit executives will be needed in the next 10 years

While for-profits average 60 to 65 percent of senior managers hired through internal promotions, the average is only 30 to 40 percent in nonprofits. This is due to high turnover and lack of preparation for executive roles in most organizations. A stronger leadership pipeline is required to meet the growing need for executive talent. 

Nonprofits invest fewer resources in management training than other sectors 

 In research conducted by Opportunity Knocks only 39% of nonprofit staff indicated they had access to professional development and management training. Compared to the $1000 dollars per employee spent by corporations, nonprofits are investing an average of $600 when they do include training in their budget.  

55% of nonprofit employees indicate they don't receive access to ongoing training to do their job

Society changes and innovation is required to tackle tough challenges in communities across the country. Those on the front lines of this work need the training and support to succeed at their mission. Ongoing and advanced professional development and leadership training is crucial to preparing future leaders for the challenges of tomorrow.

We are building a strong network of nonprofit professionals who are dedicated to creating lasting change that transforms organizations, local communities, and the greater society.

Ready to take the next step in your career?

Program Description

The Community Leadership Academy for the Social Sector (CLASS) is the ideal program for community leaders who are looking to enhance the impact of their work in the social sector. This year long leadership program connects you with a strong network of individuals that are passionate about making lasting change in their communties. Program participants will design a project to address an issue in their community and have access to extraordinary training and professional development focused on social change leadership. By the end of the program, fellows will have tackled many of the challenges often faced by nonprofit executives including board development, fundraising, and partnership development through the process of leading their community project. They will also have a cohort network of similar participants to build on their perspective, ideas and experience. Fellows are selected through an open application process and a small group of finalists are chosen to participate in each cohort.

Your Investment Includes:

  • A year long program full of interactive learning, peer discussions, and real-time coaching as you lead a project in your community
  • The opportunity to connect with and learn alongside a cohort of other nonprofit professionals and community leaders
  • A chance to think about your professional development, career goals and yourself as a leader, who is equipped and empowered to create real and lasting change

Tuition $250*

Tuition covers program costs and includes access to all courses, coaching, and program materials. Participants that successfully complete the program receive a program certificate, digital qualifications badge and access to an exclusive networking community. 

*Does not include travel expenses for participants to the Leadership Instiute. Participants are responsible for booking their own lodging and travel expenses for the event. A discounted room block at the host property will be provided for attendees. 

Leadership Institute

Participants will gather at the start of the program to attend a learning and network event to kick off their leadership experience.

Quarterly Meeting

Participants will join interactive discussions with program leaders and cohort members focused on solutions, and strategies to overcome project challenges.  

Community Project 

Participants will design and launch a one year project in their community around a local issue that connects to their personal passions and professional goals.

Training / Support  

Over the course of the year, participats will engage with other fellows through online forums and have access to online courses specifically for nonprofit and community leaders. 

Application Process

Eligibilty Requirements

Minimum 3 years professional experience in the nonprofit sector or 2 years experience and current graduate student.

Interest in leading a nonprofit organization, community group or social venture as career goal. 

Professional recommendation by a nonprofit professional, professor or community leader with 5+ years experience in the social sector.

Bachelor's degree or life experience specific to the social issue or commuity of focus. 

Personal and professional interest in one of the following focus areas:

  • Human Rights, Equality and Social Justice
  • Poverty Alleviation and Society Change
  • Youth Development and Education
  • Environment and Conservation
  • Health and Wellness 

Application Deadlines

Application Release: January 1, 2018

Scholarship Applications: January 19, 2018

Scholarships Awarded: January 22, 2018

Application Deadline: January 31, 2018

Acceptance Announcements: February 5, 2018

Early Bird Payment Deadline: February 23, 2018

Payment Deadline: March 16, 2018

You will be required to submit a resume, purpose statement and references as part of your application. 


Limited scholarships are available for each cohort. Applications for scholarships must be received by January 19, 2017. 

Leadership Institute Date and Location

  •  Convene

1800 Tysons Blvd, McLean, VA 22102

Spring 2018 - East Coast 

The CLASS program starts with an in person Leadership Institute where participants will engage and connect with their cohort as they begin their leadership journey as well as receive an intensive day of workshops and training. The kickoff event will end with fellows presenting their project plan and early stage strategy. After participants complete the full day leadership institute they are invited to celebrate and network with their cohort for a closing reception. 

Providing strategic resources for mission driven work

About the SISGI Group

We provide strategic resources to increase the effectiveness, knowledge and capacity of those leading mission driven work and entrepreneurial ventures.

We empower individuals to change global social problems and lead strong organizations. We equip groups and organizations with the tools they need to not only make a difference but to make a lasting and sustainable impact through their efforts.

Learn more about our consulting and training work at