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Valerie Nicholson-Watson leads professional development for Executive Director Institute

Executive Director Institute

The Executive Director Institute (EDI) is a 6-month learning opportunity exclusively for nonprofit executive directors. Course content weaves together theory, experience and context to help leaders evolve, keep up with best practices and learn new ways to creatively deal with the full range of organizational issues.

2020 Executive Director Institute

We are now taking applications for 2020 Executive Director Institute. To apply, please fill out the application by January 6, 2020.

Executive Director Institute Structure

  • A 6-month course. Attendees meet once per month to expand their management and leadership skill base.
  • Each monthly workshop is all-day (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and includes topic experts from area colleges and universities, business leaders and experienced Executive Directors who will provide hands-on, real life experiences.
  • All sessions are held at the Nonprofit Connect office.
  • Participants can expect to acquire knowledge from sector experts, gain best practice information from experienced leaders while having an opportunity for open dialogue to address areas of specific needs.
  • 2020 Dates: January 31, February 28, March 27, April 24, May 29, June 26. All dates are on Friday.

Executive Director Institute curriculum includes:

  • Nonprofit Trends
  • Leadership Challenges and Opportunities
  • Operations
  • Board Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Resource & Fund Development
  • Marketing/Communications & Media Relations
  • Organization & Productivity
  • Work/Life Balance

At the end of Executive Director Institute, participants can expect to:

  • have increased leadership confidence and capacity,
  • know how to build relationships with board members,
  • have the tools to plan and manage a budget and the knowledge to guide a financially sustainable nonprofit,
  • learn the components of development and fundraising and the ED’s role in the development program,
  • have an understanding of communication strategies needed to reach new audiences and raise public awareness,
  • adapt to a changing and complex landscape,
  • and be energized for the long haul.

Guidelines for Executive Director Institute participation

  • Currently serve as a paid executive director, president or CEO of a nonprofit organization
  • Executive Director's organization must have tax exempt status at the time of application
  • Executive Director's organization must be or become a Nonprofit Connect member
  • Commit to attend all of the six sessions in full
  • Pay the tuition in full by January 17 to reserve a seat in the class


The program fee for Executive Director Institute is $900.

Selection for participation in EDI is by application. Please complete the 2020 Executive Director Institute Application by January 6, 2020.

Questions? Contact Noreen Bridgham, Director of Programs at or 816-888-5603.

2020 Executive Leadership Track Sponsors

2020 Executive Director Institute Sponsor