Heinz Endowments funds new program to instill leadership skills in young nonprofit talent

A new program launching in January will bring together 25 young leaders of large and small nonprofit organizations in the region to help them better address social equity challenges as Pittsburgh continues its ongoing economic transformation.

The initiative, Lead Now Pittsburgh, is a yearlong fellowship developed by Leadership Pittsburgh, a Downtown nonprofit that offers a variety of leadership development programs.

The organization is partnering with Rockwood Leadership institute of Oakland, Calif., to deliver the program.

The Heinz Endowments provided a $500,000 grant to fund it.

Aradhna Oliphant, president and chief executive of Leadership Pittsburgh, described the program as leadership training “that will cement the potential of these nonprofit leaders who have been identified as among the best of the best in our region.”

Those selected range from their late 20s to mid 40s and lead a group of diverse organizations in development, social work and the arts. They include leaders from the August Wilson Center, the Center for Coalfield Justice, the Latino Community Center, Lawrenceville Corp., the City of Pittsburgh, Homewood Children’s Village, and the Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society.

“They could be dealing with issues of immigration, women’s rights, community development, early childhood, youth or environment,” said Ms. Oliphant.

While the program isn’t “issues-based,” she said, it’s meant to develop leadership skills among the participants “no matter what the issues are.”

“Nonprofits work so hard with so few resources to provide a safety net in the community,” she said. “This program lifts those efforts up and helps to sustain their energy to do the work for the long haul.”

Foundation and community leaders selected the 25 nonprofit fellows from more than 150 nominees.

Those chosen will participate in retreats, executive and peer coaching, mentorship activities, and each will create an individual development plan.

Among the activities is a one-week retreat at a ranch in Sonoma, Calif., where participants will connect with nonprofit leaders from around the country.

“There’s a value in going away and coming back,” said Ms. Oliphant.

Janet Sarbaugh, vice president for creativity at the endowments, said in a statement the foundation supported the program because, “Our nonprofit leaders carry immense responsibility for the health and success of Pittsburgh and the region, yet they are often challenged in advancing their work due to limited resources, guidance, and recognition.”


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