top of page


Leadership Institute: Text
Leadership Institute: Programs


The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago (YNPN Chicago) presents the Leadership Institute - Chicago’s premier and most accessible leadership training program for emerging nonprofit leaders. As a cohort, Chicago’s promising nonprofit leaders will come together to challenge each other, collaborate, and build relationships to serve them beyond the program. Participants will have access to experienced nonprofit leaders as mentors and guest speakers. Leadership Institute graduates will leave the program equipped with the skills, self-awareness, and connections necessary to lead the nonprofit sector of the future.


Participants will graduate with the skills to successfully lead teams, oversee projects, and contribute to overall organizational growth.

The curriculum has two distinct focuses:

  • Self-reflection

    • Understand personal strengths and weaknesses 

    • Build effective communication skills

    • Develop one’s own leadership style

  • Skill building 

    • Assess the needs of your organization for growth and development

    • Learn best practices of thriving nonprofits 

    • Apply learning to current workplace


The Leadership Institute is a hybrid (30% in person and 70% virtual) 10-month cohort program that runs from January through October and finishes with a capstone project. Features of the program include:

  • Monthly three-hour sessions with guided peer learning and engaging activities

  • One optional but encouraged in-person networking events with the cohort

  • Guest presentations from local nonprofit leaders

  • Monthly one-on-one meetings with a mentor

  • Free course materials including textbooks and online access to management and leadership tools

  • One-year membership to YNPN Chicago


The program is open to all Chicago professionals who currently work in the nonprofit/social sector. This program targets mid-level professionals (5-7 years experience) who currently have responsibilities that include managing people and/or a variety of projects. YNPN Chicago membership is not a requirement to be eligible for Leadership Institute; however, preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate engagement with YNPN Chicago through membership and/or event attendance. If accepted, participants should:

  • Be able to attend all ten monthly sessions from January - October 2023

  • Be able to dedicate an hour a month to meeting one-on-one with their assigned mentor

  • Have the support of their current employer which includes having time off to attend monthly sessions and having the opportunity to apply new skills in the workplace. 

  • Have additional time and energy to complete readings, reflections, and assignments between monthly sessions.

  • Be willing and prepared to engage in personal reflection and in active, respectful discussions with other cohort members


If you are covering the cost individually, see below: 

Individual Rate: $400

If finance is a barrier to participating, please continue with your application and reach out to to discuss potential solutions including a discounted rate, monthly payment plans, etc.

If your organization is able to cover the costs of the program, please use the following sliding scale model: 

Organizational budget under $2 million: $400

Organizational budget between $2 and 5 million: $525

Organizational budget between $5 and 10 million: $775

Organizational budget over $10 million: $950

Program Dates

2023 cohort meetings will be held on the last Friday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Three sessions will be hosted in-person and seven will be hosted on Zoom. 2023 dates: ​January 27 (in-person), February 24, March 31, April 28, May 26  (in-person), June 30, July 28, August 25, September 29, October 27 (in-person). 


Applications for the 2024 cohort will open in the late fall. The application process consists of basic information, a series of short answer questions, and submission of your resume and a letter of reference.


Check out the Leadership Institute FAQ. For additional information or questions, please contact Cynthia Saucedo


Corey Richardson

We are excited to share that Corey Richardson will be facilitating the 2023 Leadership Institute cohort. Corey is Director of Strategic Partnerships of the Golden Apple Foundation, which honors, develops, and trains teachers in Illinois. Golden Apple is an innovator of teacher preparation in the state of Illinois and prepares effective teachers for the 2.3 million students of need in Illinois. Richardson focuses on improving the K-12 partnerships, development, and donor relations. Before joining the foundation, he served as a regional admission counselor for Western Illinois University.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Francis (’09) and a master’s in Leadership Studies in Higher Education from North Central College (’12). Richardson volunteers in the community as the Past Chairman of One Million Degrees Associates Board and is a national member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network.

Leadership Institute: Meet the Team
bottom of page