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Rising Leaders Cohort

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Are you a rising leader in philanthropy, someone looking for ways to expand your impact within the sector? Are you looking for ways to connect with foundation peers and create long-lasting cross-sector professional relationships? Would the support and mentoring of those peers boost your professional development? If you answered yes to these questions, the 2020 Rising Leaders Cohort offers you a unique opportunity to focus on your leadership journey within the field and explore the nuances and growth of philanthropy today. 

Building off of NCG’s signature New Grantmakers Institute, the Rising Leaders Cohort will meet 6 times in 2020, guiding you through experiences and learning that help you build both hard and soft skills, and expose you to the complexities of philanthropy and social change, and the role that you can play as a leader.

We will use an adaptive leadership frame in the cohort, meaning that you are a leader no matter where you sit in the organization. The curriculum will follow three main threads: 1) emotional intelligence and leadership development; 2) “hard” skills development; 3) equity, inclusion, social justice, and power. Potential topics within these threads include: values (personal and organizational); facilitation and decision-making; project management; relationship development and management with colleagues, peers, and grantee partners; self-awareness; listening and inquiry skills; power mapping; storytelling; managing up; embodied leadership; participatory grantmaking and accountability.

The Cohort will Feature:

  • 6 cohort sessions, meeting approximately once a month for 6 hours at NCG’s offices in downtown San Francisco
  • Approximately 15-20 participants
  • Presentations and activities from expert faculty
  • Opportunities for peer-to-peer coaching
  • Access to tools, templates, resources, and shared learning

Our Guiding Questions

  • How do I develop as a leader regardless of the position I hold in my foundation?
  • How can I create the conditions and build the skills to thrive in my commitment to social impact and social progress?
  • How can I operate with my values intact, exercising my voice and agency?
  • How can I stay focused on my personal mission while balancing the always demanding to-do list?
  • What skills do I need to build in order to be an effective grantmaker in the face of our current political reality?
  • How do I manage relationships so that I am both effective in my work and learning and growing?
  • How can I deepen my personal and professional practice towards equity and social justice?


  • Continue building a network of grantmakers who feel supported and empowered to create 
  • change and advance as leaders in their philanthropic roles
  • Engage in reflection, learn from faculty and other participants, and craft approaches to increased social impact and social progress
  • Build a toolbox of both hard and soft skills to use back in your office, and to continue to call upon as you build your career in the sector


We are not launching applications, but we will be launching soon. To be the first-to-know, please express your interest by signing up for the Rising Leaders Cohort mailing list.  

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Target Audience

Entry to mid-level foundation staff with 3-8 years of experience in the field.


Northern California Grantmakers is designing and executing the Rising Leaders Cohort in partnership with the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Bay Area chapter.