Furthering Your Understanding of Nonprofit Governance

In the fall of 2014, The Gifford Foundation partnered with The Central New York Community Foundation, Leadership Greater Syracuse, the Human Services Leadership Council, and City of Syracuse residents to develop an initiative called Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders (NTL) which focuses on leadership development through board service. 

The goal is to:

  • Increase inclusiveness and diversity on non-profit boards;
  • Increase and enhance the pool of effective board members and new leaders;
  • Educate and inspire those who participate;
  • Provide quality training to individuals in the community.

In total, more than 200 individuals have graduated from the program.

Nourishing Tomorrow's Leaders (NTL) helps train participants to be effective board members by recognizing the importance of diversity.

NTL teaches participants how to become effective board members with the goal of increasing diversity across nonprofit boards.

NTL is a nine week course that explores the role of a nonprofit’s board of directors while teaching skills like conflict resolution, group dynamics, networking, inclusivity best practices, nonprofit lifecycles, and more.

We believe that diversity in a not-for-profit board is vital, and we define diversity as including board members that represent the populations the organization serves. Diversity is not based simply on race and ethnicity, but also socio-economic status, age, gender, geography, sexuality, education, physical and cognitive ability, religious beliefs, etc. In short, diversity of thought and perspective is imperative. Many nonprofits want to diversify their board, but just don’t know how to make connections. At the same time, there are many valuable and potential leaders who are rarely considered for board service and/or have themselves felt they would not be eligible. This is exactly what we hope to change.

Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders has been featured at national conferences as a model for improving diversity, representation, inclusion, and civic participation.
Graduates of the program now sit on a wide variety of nonprofit boards, ranging from grassroots to mature organizations.
Our 2015 NTL graduates from across CNY.

Program Details

Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders is for…

  • Those who have the desire to give back to the community and strive for fair, just and healthy communities.
  • Those who are interested in her/his personal leadership development and growth.
  • Those who have a desire to join a nonprofit board or are new to board service.
  • Those who believe that diversity and inclusiveness is important.
  • Those who are interested in expanding their network.

Once accepted, participants will go through a 9 week course with weekly 2.5 hour sessions running on Thursdays from 5:30 – 8:00 pm. Each week participants learn collaboratively through workshops led by local community experts and leaders. Topics include fiduciary responsibilities, group dynamics, organizational lifecycles, networking, conflict resolution, and more.

During these sessions, dinner and materials will be provided at no cost. However, a $75 fee is required in order to participate in NTL (scholarships are available).

  • Applicants commit to 9 consecutive 2.5 hour sessions (5:30 pm – 8:00 pm). The 9th session is a graduation celebration.
  • The sessions will take place on Thursdays in a conference space at 126 N. Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13202
  • Cost is $75.00 total (scholarships are available).
  • Do NOT submit payment with application. You will be notified about how to pay if you are accepted into the program.
  • Dinner & materials included during each session.
  • Each session will be facilitated by local leaders and professionals.
  • Graduates will receive a Board Certification Diploma.
  • Applications due by August 12, 2024.

*By submitting an application, you consent to receive communications from The Gifford Foundation.

Our Program Partners

Feedback from past NTL participants:

“I learned so much and I am excited to begin deciding where I should dedicate my time to give back to the community.”

“The class was informative and helpful and a great way to meet other professionals.”

 “I feel more confident to sit on a board. I was asked to sit on a board years ago and felt that I didn’t have the knowledge/skill set.”

 “With each topic, speakers brought a unique perspective from their experience.”

Sheena, Sheria and Pam did an outstanding job preparing, orchestrating and executing the program. Each session built upon the other and we had awesome guest speakers and interactive sessions. I would definitely take it again if it was an option. This program was one that I was not happy to see end but grateful for the time dedicated to it.”

“The program helped me to understand the dynamics of board membership, the responsibilities of being on the board and/or committee of an organization as well as ensuring I am an active member with a voice. I went in knowing very little and came out feeling empowered to be an effective member of a board.”

“I was able to get a deeper knowledge of Board procedures as well as form a solid understanding of the path I wish to take with my current board and any future board opportunities. I have developed a deeper appreciation and understanding that will allow me to serve in a more meaningful way. Specific to diversity: I cannot yet put into words how deeply my classmates and their experiences have impacted me but I know it was profound and I am a better person for it. I am more aware.”

If you are an organization seeking a connection with one of our NTL graduates, you can explore our graduate directory by clicking the button above:

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