Project LEAD

Ready to Take a Seat in the Boardroom?

Only 6% of nonprofit board chairs identified as Black, 5% as Latino and 2% as Asian or Pacific Islander, according to a recent study by BoardSource. This lack of representation on boards and board leadership throws challenges in the work that nonprofits do, and their influence in the communities they serve. We must change who’s at the table to achieve racial equity in our community. For over 30 years, United Way has been doing something to change that.

Project LEAD—Leadership Effectiveness and Diversity—is a nonprofit board training program open to skilled, passionate, and equity-centered Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. It empowers them to take the first step toward board leadership.

The 1,200+ Project LEAD graduates are a testament to our community’s commitment to service and diversity. It’s crucial that we take a stand to make sure our community’s boards are representative of the communities they serve and that all voices have an equal seat at the table. You can be a part of that change.

For more information, email

2024 Class Schedule

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Issues Facing Nonprofit Organizations/
Program Orientation
Stephan Blandford –
Children’s Alliance
Regina Malveaux and Kayce Richardson – United Way of King County
Saturday, March 2, 2024
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Board Operations and Protocol (8:30-12)
Collaboration and Conflict Resolution (12:30-4:30)
Jessica Salvador
Anh Vo–
Collective Leadership
Wednesday, March 6, 2024
6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Stand by Your Mission: The Board’s Role in AdvocacyPaola Maranan –
ArcBend Consulting
Saturday, March 9, 2024
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Fiscal Management: What Board Members Must Know (8:30-12)
Strategic Fundraising with a Racial Equity Lens (12:30-4:30)
Kari Moore – Accountability Services
Nell Brewer – United Way of King County
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Managing Risk: The Legal Implications of Board ServiceJeffery Liang –
Banyan Legal Counsel LLP
Saturday, March 16, 2024
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Building the Airplane as You Fly it: Creating Bold Strategy in Your Organization (8:30-12)
Equity Leadership ~ How to Get your Board to Do the Right Thing (12:30-4:30)
Ruel Olanday Jr –
Equitable Recovery & Reconciliation Alliance
Dr. Haydee Lavariega –
Collective Liberation in Practice
Wednesday, March 20, 2024
6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Location: Fourth & Madison
Making the Connection: Learning from ExperienceDamien Sevilla –
First Western Properties
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: Town Hall Seattle
GraduationTown Hall Seattle

“Project Lead was a profound experience for me. This experience shaped my viewpoint on how Seattle leads in Philanthropic efforts from various perspectives and highlighted that although new, I was already a necessary and powerful voice in the space. I gained practical skills that I’ve been able to integrate as I serve on the board of a non-profit, started my own, and continue to actively engage and support causes that I deeply believe in. “

—Shanell Powell

“United Way’s Project LEAD Board training was an important certification that I needed to take as the next step in getting involved with nonprofits that I cared about. As a BIPOC community member, this training also gave me much-needed information to take the journey of becoming a nonprofit co-founder.”

—Sunita Shastri

“Project LEAD is an amazing opportunity to grow my knowledge of how to be a responsible and effective leader in my community. It is also a great way to meet like-minded people that want to help their communities as much as I do.”

—Vanessa Villa

“Project LEAD has been so instrumental in my personal journey on so many levels from connecting with someone with whom I share my nationality, a rarity for me, to connecting with some brilliant people from all spectrums of the profit, nonprofit and public sectors. The coursework we completed was challenging, thought-provoking, methodical and especially informative. I can honestly say I left with much more than I brought.”

—Chisulo Mulenga

“I hope to see more collective organizing and power building in our community than just organizations working in silos. I hope to see more intentional intergenerational leadership and mentorship.”

—Thanh Nguyen

“Project LEAD is a must for every BIPOC community leader, whether they have been serving their community for a few months or 20 years, because it isn’t just about learning the concepts or practicing the new skills. It is so much more. For me, it was like a one-of-a-kind pit stop where I could rest, be hydrated and energized, and learn that it is OK to just be me. It was an incredible bonus to share space with so many amazing leaders who are inspiring and fun!”

—Maya Subramanian

“It was so heartening to see people of color like myself that are so intelligent, smart and driven, all ready to take a seat in a boardroom to make important decisions that affect us all!”

—Modester Chatta

How It Works

During this month-long intensive training, participants show up ready to listen, learn and participate. The program concludes with a graduation ceremony and board networking event, where graduates can meet representatives of nonprofit organizations that are seeking new members for their boards. Training sessions are held on nights and weekends and include topics like:

  • Issues facing nonprofit organizations
  • Board operations and protocol
  • Collaboration and conflict resolution
  • Fiscal management
  • Strategic fundraising with a racial equity lens
  • Creating bold organizational strategies
  • Managing legal risk
  • Equity leadership

Partner With Us On Project LEAD

By partnering with us, you will be investing in working toward a better, more racially equitable future for our community and signaling to others that your organization is committed to supporting more equal leadership opportunities.

Thanks to Our Sponsors: