Project LEAD

Important Coronavirus Update: Project LEAD 2020

Upcoming Project LEAD 2020 classes and graduation have been canceled due to coronavirus.

As we assessed health- and community-minded options for the program, specifically doing it virtually, most Project LEAD 2020 class members shared that they valued the in-person nature of the class and being together with other people of color.

To honor the students’ wishes, and to be mindful of recommended best practices for social gatherings during these times, we decided to cancel the upcoming classes and graduation ceremony. We’re working hard to figure out solutions to ensure this year’s class can participate in the Project LEAD program.

Future Project LEAD events and information will be posted once available.

Project LEAD empowers people of color to take the first step toward board leadership.

Too many people of color are left out of leadership roles. We must change who is at the table in order to achieve racial equity in our community. You can make a difference through nonprofit board service.

For more than 25 years, we’ve been doing something to change that. Project LEAD—Leadership Effectiveness and Diversity—is a nonprofit board training program open to highly qualified people of color.

The 1,000+ Project LEAD graduates from the last 25+ years 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.

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 agency fair, where graduates can meet representatives of nonprofit organizations that are seeking new members for their boards.

Training includes topics like:

  • Issues facing nonprofit organizations
  • Board operations and protocol
  • Collaboration and conflict resolution
  • Choosing a board and board members
  • Fiscal management
  • Strategic fundraising
  • Creating bold organizational strategies
  • Managing legal risk
  • How race relates to the board member role

What It Takes

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • Significant volunteer experience at a personal or community level.
  • Past success working as part of a team—at work, in the community, etc.
  • Commitment to attend ALL sessions and to serving on a committee and/or board of choice after graduation.

Applicants must also be prepared to take on the legal and financial responsibilities of becoming a nonprofit board member. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Helping a nonprofit organization define and stay true to its mission.
  • Making a personal financial contribution to the organization.
  • Attending all board and committee meetings and functions.
  • Participating in the fundraising, resource management and legal oversight responsibilities of the board.
  • Assisting in the fiduciary responsibilities of the board, such as reviewing the organization’s annual financial statements.

Due to the critical need for more diverse nonprofit board leadership, Project LEAD is only open to people of color. Applicants are selected based on a written application and interview.

Once an applicant is accepted into the program, there is a $200 tuition fee.

A critical skill for a board member is fundraising, and we are excited to offer participants the opportunity to improve their fundraising skills as part of the training curriculum. Participants will be asked to raise an additional $200 during the program. A limited number of scholarships are available for those facing economic hardships.

When It Takes Place

The training spans four weeks during late February and March. Sessions are held at the K&L Gates building in downtown Seattle (925 4th Ave #2900, Seattle, WA 98104). Participants must attend ALL sessions, which are scheduled Wednesday evenings 6-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The program culminates with a graduation reception and agency fair for board recruitment in late March. You can check out images from last year’s Project LEAD graduation here.

The 2020 schedule will be:

  • Wednesday 2/26/20: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 2/29/20: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday 3/4/20: 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 3/7/20: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday  3/11/20: 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 3/14/20: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday  3/18/20: 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday 3/24/20: 5:30-8:30 p.m. (Columbia Tower)

Applications due by Nov. 22. For more information, contact

Sponsor Project LEAD

By sponsoring Project LEAD, 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 people of color in more equal leadership opportunities.

Thanks to our generous sponsors: