Develop Leaders

Develop Leaders

We equip people with the skills, knowledge, and support
to powerfully engage in the process of leadership.

Our Approach

We design and deliver intensive cohort leadership development programs like the Next Generation Leaders of Color Program, Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program and the Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color. These programs range in length from 3 months to multi-year, depending on the project.

They all combine a set of core methodologies, including teaching, peer learning, coaching, and physical practice. To work at this depth, we partner with foundations who share our commitment to social change and to leadership development.

At CompassPoint, we don’t focus on a single leadership development model; instead, we blend our own content and the best content of others to craft programs that are responsive to particular communities, fields, and movements.

We are continuously innovating our approach both in content and in format.


Marla Cornelius

“CompassPoint brings content concepts and frameworks, but then our staff and the participants make meaning out of it together.

It’s a very generative and iterative process that creates deep connections between the cohort members and us. Connections  happen conceptually and intellectually, but also emotionally, and in a tangible way between people and organizations.

CompassPoint has the pleasure of being the designer and convenor of the NGLC experience, but we are also absolutely participating in it ourselves.”
Marla Cornelius, Senior Project Director


What distinguishes our approach to leadership development?

We start from the premise that leadership is a process, not a position. For social change to accelerate, we need not only effective executive directors, we need everyone to be drawing from their strengths to contribute from wherever they sit.

We also know that people engaging in the leadership process need competency in three inter-related areas: management, leadership, and strategy. When we work with leaders, we attend to all three

For instance, a visionary with deep understanding of a particular issue may still be ineffective if she does not also tend to the human and financial resource needs of her organization or network. Without adequate management, her leadership and strategy will be undermined.

It’s our experience that these inter-related disciplines are too often siloed or under-addressed in leadership development programs, leaving participants without a holistic framing of their role and its requirements. Our programs work at the intersection of all three.

Current Programs:

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HIVE Leadership
Development Program

HIVE (Healing, Inspiration, Voice, and Equity) is an 18-month leadership development program for emerging leaders in Louisiana nonprofits. The program creates a home for the important and often unacknowledged leadership of individuals in organizations committed to reproductive health, rights, and justice. Read more here

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The Fundraising Bright Spots Program: Making Fundraising Work for You

Through the new Fundraising Bright Spots Program, leaders from social change organizations will learn, adapt, and apply practices from successful grassroots fundraising models and individual donor programs to move their missions forward. Read more



The Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color

An intensive training and coaching program specifically for fundraising staff, board members, and other volunteers within nonprofits based in communities of color. Read more



The Next Generation Leaders of Color program

The Next Generation Leaders of Color Program is a transformative leadership development program that builds leadership confidence, management competencies, and the ability to unleash organizational change. Read more.

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The Strong Field Project

Launched in 2010, aims at building a strong, coordinated network of domestic violence service providers in California. Read more

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The Arc Toward Justice Leadership and Solidarity Program,

This initiative of the Akonadi Foundation supports leaders working toward a racially just society for youth of color in Oakland. Read more

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Leadership Development Program for Managers and Executives Serving Transition-Age Youth

The Leadership Development Program for Managers and Executives Serving Transition-Age Youth was developed by CompassPoint with funding from The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) to address the changing needs of leadership professionals serving transition-age youth. Read more.


Other initiatives:

Coaching and Philanthropy Project

The Coaching and Philanthropy Project was created to assess and advance coaching as a strategy for building effective nonprofit organizations. Through the Coaching and Philanthropy Project page, you can explore coaching resources, tools, and learn more about the nonprofit sector’s support for and use of coaching.

Learn more here

Multicultural Board Leadership Academy

The goal of the Board Leadership Academy is to both recruit and train the next generation of diverse leaders to serve on nonprofit boards. This program is based on the Latino Board Leadership Academy launched in 2011 and has successfully trained dozens of new board members.

Learn more here

Show Me the Money: Nonprofits Talking Taxes

Nonprofits Talking Taxes, a workshop and curriculum designed help people have meaningful and fun conversations about nonprofits and the common good, and the role of fair and just tax policy in making our work more mission-effective.

Learn more here

San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing

For over 10 years, CompassPoint has partnered with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing’s Community Development Division to address the capacity building and planning needs of MOH grantee organizations. Through this relationship CompassPoint provides training and technical assistance on a wide range of subjects to both nonprofit organizations and City staff members in close collaboration with City departments.

By providing participating agencies with the opportunity to learn ways to strengthen organizational infrastructures, such as developing provider skills and/or establishing or improving organizational systems and processes, individuals increase their capacity to carry out their job duties and organizational services effectively and efficiently.

For more information contact Byron Johnson at


TelephoneLet's Talk!

Want to learn about about our Cohort Leadership Programs? Call Project Coordinator Kad Smith at 510.318.3737 or email him here.