Greater New Orleans Foundation Announces Emerging Leaders Program

January 10, 2014


The Organizational Effectiveness Initiative of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, in partnership with CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, is excited to announce it’s now accepting applications for Emerging Leaders, a leadership development program for nonprofit managers working in southeast Louisiana nonprofit human service organizations. This program is made possible through the generous support of the Kresge Foundation.

Please carefully review the entire fact sheet prior to submission of an application.



The Greater New Orleans Foundation believes that effective nonprofit organizations maximize the diverse backgrounds, perspectives and talents of their staff. The Emerging Leaders program supports the development of those mid-managers to move to the next level of leadership.

Emerging Leaders focuses on two of the critical content areas that pose significant challenges for many community-based organizations and leaders. The first challenge is to supervise, develop, inspire, and influence people. The second challenge is to develop business acumen with an emphasis on financial strategy, comprehension, and literacy.

Using a multicultural framework that examines cultural dimensions in managing people and organizational finances, this initiative focuses on focuses on these two areas: deepening the management and leadership capabilities of individual participants and increasing the overall health and sustainability of their current and future organizations of employment.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness Initiative has teamed up with CompassPoint to lead this inaugural program.  A nationally recognized leader in guiding nonprofits to become better managed, more adaptive, and achieve higher impact, CompassPoint has had great success in the delivery of its cohort leadership programs, unique in that they each combine transformative leadership development with essential management skills-building. With support from the Kresge Foundation, we hope to foster next-generation leadership in the human service sector and prepare them to be strong leaders.

Through Emerging Leaders we hope to:

  • Diversify the pool of potential executive directors and other senior management staff to address the gap in leadership facing our organizations
  • Develop cross-sector talent pipeline
  • Advance the understanding and practice of nonprofit management
  • Equip emerging leaders to face tough challenges with grace, innovation, and tools that work
  • Strengthen the network for participants for ongoing support after the initiative ends
  •  Sustain and grow the human service sector in the region.

Sample Participant Evaluation Comments from previous CompassPoint leadership development program alumni:

“This has been a process of me accepting me. What impact do I want to have? I want to change the systems and create opportunities for people to change their own lives. This program helped me define that. I was excited to answer the question, what is my journey?”

“My peer group was extraordinary, I have never received so much support; they had a huge influence on my success. The learning I got from hearing them, from listening to their learning and their lives. My growth came from that. I was in someone’s story as a supportive role, but I was growing along with them. Each of their stories was a mirror. Every time I asked a question of them, I asked it of myself.”

“It’s only been a week and a half since the finance session and I have gotten my organization to dramatically shift how we were going about the budgeting process, and I’ve started making headway in tightening communications between program, fund development, and finance. On a personal level, this training has also provided me with the skills and strategies to help my org through a tough transition period and to show my ED that I’m valuable to the organization.”

“CompassPoint facilitators brought knowledge to the table, but they also brought themselves. They were real and vulnerable and mirrored for me how to also be vulnerable and yet move forward.”


Program Overview

A cohort of up to 20 people from various ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds in southeast Louisiana human service organizations will enroll in an intensive program with the following components:

Kick Off: Leading and Learning in a Multi-Cultural Framework
This two day kick-off session set for May 21 and 22, 2014, will uncover your personal leadership values and guiding principles, as well as core ideas and beliefs in a multicultural framework.  You will deepen your awareness and practice of supervising and managing people in a multicultural setting and identify ways to advance your leadership. A sustainable learning community will be formed by building relationships among cohort members, allowing for the exchange of diverse experiences and expertise.

In-person Seminars
Participants will meet together monthly after the program kick-off for five highly interactive and day-long learning sessions, June through October, 2014. The seminar topics will incorporate a multicultural framework that examines cultural dimensions and will alternate between leadership and management content, as well as financial skills.

Facilitated Peer-Learning Groups
Each participant will be assigned a facilitated peer-coaching group. Peer groups will meet at the end of each in-person seminar and are designed to reinforce learning and provide real-time problem solving and peer support.

Final Cohort Gathering
To encourage and support a network of next generation leaders, the last in-person session, set for mid November 2014, will be a celebration of accomplishments and an opportunity to deepen the new relationships and acknowledge this leadership journey.

Read more about the objectives for each cohort here.

Emerging Leaders Presenters
CompassPoint staff will lead each Emerging Leaders seminar:

Jeanne Bell, MNA is the CEO of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services—one of the country’s leading providers of training and consulting services to community-based organizations. She is the co-author of Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability and Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives: Guiding Your Organization to Long Term Success (Wilder). In addition to frequent speaking and consulting on nonprofit strategy and finance, Jeanne has conducted a series of research projects on nonprofit executive leadership, including Daring to Lead 2006: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership and Securing the Safety Net: A Profile of Community Clinic and Health Center Leadership in California. Jeanne is on the Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Nonprofit Quarterly.

Marla Cornelius, MNA, is a Senior Project Director at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services where she works on several of CompassPoint’s nonprofit management and leadership programs and research projects. She co-authored the national research report UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising (2013). She also led the development of the studies Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out (2008) and Daring to Lead 2011: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership. She develops content, trains, and consults in the areas of individual and organizational leadership and governance. Marla currently serves as the Board Chair for DataCenter, a research justice organization.

Jacqueline Elena Featherston, Featherston & Associates is a multicultural consultant with over twenty years experience delivering cross-cultural communication and cooperative leadership trainings and workshops designed to engage people in authentic dialogue across multiple variables of differences  race, gender, ethnicity, age, class, etc.  Sharing structures designed to ground clients in compassionate inquiry she helps organizations minimizes the traumatic judgment which often shuts down challenging discussion.

Steve Lew is a Senior Project Director for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and works with organizations in creating strategic plans, fund development plans, and board development plans. Steve also coaches staff and board members in fundraising approaches and teaches board fundraising within the CompassPoint training series. He is Director of the Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color, an intensive training and coaching series offered in collaboration with the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.


Program Schedule

Participants are required to attend all program sessions.  Absenteeism negatively affects the cohort experience. Before applying, please confirm you are available to attend all seminar dates and you are supported by your Executive Director and Board of Directors to do so.

Seminars will be held at Greater New Orleans Foundation Learning Center, Room 120, 1055 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans (location is subject to change to another nearby location if necessary).  Below is the seminar schedule; all sessions are scheduled from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Kickoff: Leading and Learning Using a Multicultural Framework: May 21 and 22, 2014
Seminar 1: Coaching Skills and Introduction to Peer Coaching Model: June 12, 2014
Seminar 2: Strengths for Personal, Staff and Team Development: July 10, 2014
Seminar 3: Financial Management Concepts and Budgeting: August 7, 2014
Seminar 4: Supervision: September 18, 2014
Seminar 5: Performance Management and Organizational Sustainability: October 16, 2014
Seminar 5: Final Gathering and Participant Presentations: November 20, 2014

The Greater New Orleans Foundation and CompassPoint reserve the right to alter and/or cancel this program, if necessary.

Estimate of Time Commitment
Total time for participation is estimated as follows:

  • 8 days for attendance at all in-person seminars (dates listed above)
  • 1-2 hours each month between sessions to work on learning goals
  • 2 hours for providing evaluation feedback


Eligibility Requirements

This program is for people from a variety of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds who are currently in mid-level nonprofit management positions, have at least 2 years experience managing people and budgets, have never been an executive director, work in a human service organization within the Greater New Orleans Foundations’ 13-parish region, and have a commitment to social change.  Participants can be of any age, but would need to have a demonstrated commitment to a career in the nonprofit sector and an aspiration towards professional advancement.

Each applicant needs to meet the following program requirements:

  • Is a mid-level manager (as defined by your organization)
  • Is responsible for managing a budget
  • Has at least 2 years nonprofit management experience
  • Has never been an executive director
  • Anticipates remaining with current organization for the next year*
  • Is working in a human service organization in the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s 13-parish region
  • Has the written approval of her/his organization’s executive director and support of board of directors to participate

*If a participant unexpectedly leaves her/his organization during the program or is no longer able to meet the program requirements, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and CompassPoint will work with the individual and/or organization to determine if continued participation is appropriate.

Participation Requirements

Upon selection, each participant will:

  • Actively participate in all sessions and activities associated with the program. PLEASE NOTE, absenteeism negatively affects the cohort experience. Attendance at every seminar is required. Before applying, applicants must confirm that they are available to attend all seminar dates and do not foresee and calendar conflicts.*
  • Honor the time commitments as outlined above
  • Provide feedback to group members on their work and to the Greater New Orleans Foundation and CompassPoint on program quality and impact
  • Participate in the program evaluation
  • Pay the required participation fee

*As part of the application process, a written letter of support from the Executive Director confirming and fully supporting applicant’s participation must be included in the application packet. If a participant is no longer able to meet the program requirements, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and CompassPoint will work with the individual and organization to determine if continued participation is appropriate. If not, there will be no refund of the participation fee nor transfer of the fee for future use.

Number of Applicants per Organization
Only one application per organization will be considered for the program. If the Greater New Orleans Foundation and CompassPoint receive more than one application from an organization, we will ask the organization to decide which application to submit.

Program Costs
This program is supported in part by a grant from The Kresge Foundation.  If selected, each participant’s organization must pay a nominal participation fee.  Fees are on a sliding scale based on organization’s budget size. This fee will be due upon acceptance into the program to secure that participant’s spot. Participants will have the option of  paying the fee in two parts: half due upon acceptance into the program and the reminder due midway through the program (August 7, 2014).  The total value of this program is approximately $6,000 per person.  There is a limited pool of dollars for a partial offset of the program costs and requests will be considered on a case by case basis. No full scholarships are available and each participant/organization must pay for a portion of the program costs.

Sliding scale is as follows:

  • $500 for organizations with operating budget size of under $1 million
  • $750 for organizations with operating budget size between $1 and 3 million
  • $1,000 for organizations with operating budget size over $3 million

“How to Apply” Conference Calls

A one-hour informational call about the program and the application process will be held on Monday, January 27, 2014 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm CST.

To register for this call, please email your name and phone number to Mandi Cambre at

Acceptance Criteria

Because space is limited, the application process is competitive. Applicants will be evaluated on:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Ability to articulate how they see their work in social change and how they think about their career in this context
  • Ability to articulate their leadership and professional development goals
  • Personal and organizational readiness to participate in this intensive program
  • Quality of application


Click here to download the application (click here if you are using Microsoft Word 2003 or earlier) and here to download the Organization Acknowledgement Form. These documents can be downloaded and saved to your computer. If you should run into problems with the PDF form, we will accept answers typed into a Microsoft Word document and sent as an attachment.

Once you complete the application, please include the  Organizational Acknowledgement Form, signed by your executive director, as well as the written letter of support from the Executive Director confirming and fully supporting applicant’s participation. The application, form, and letter are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14, 2014. Please email them to

Applications must be submitted electronically no later than 5:00 p.m. (central) on Friday, February 14th, 2014. Late applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by Monday, March 3, 2014.
If you have any questions about the program or eligibility requirements, please contact Joann Ricci at 504.598.4663 or email

About CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
The mission of CompassPoint is to intensify the impact of fellow nonprofit leaders, organizations, and networks as we achieve social equity together. We are a diverse and deeply integrated staff practice working in cross-discipline teams to design and deliver management, leadership, and strategy programming to leaders at all stages of the pipeline and organizations focused broadly on social equity. We intentionally blend learning methodologies depending on program needs – mixing teaching, coaching, peer-learning, and consulting to achieve the desired outcomes with an individual, a cohort, an organization, or a network. Our program work is also informed by our national research. We design studies to better understand and shape the sector’s understanding of the most critical issues facing nonprofits today. Click here for more information.

About the Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development efforts in Detroit. For more information, visit