Helping nonprofit leaders do better at doing good

Board Leadership Institute

A strong board is key for a successful nonprofit.

The nonprofit board is charged with:
  • Legal, fiduciary oversight
  • Attracting and stewarding resources
  • Planning and setting strategic direction
  • Hiring and evaluating the chief executive

Your leadership team can learn and adopt the practices of high performing boards. 

Note:  Applications for 2023 BLI - Santa Barbara Cohort have been closed.

We are currently recruiting for the Cohort II of the 2023 Board Leadeship Institute with a deadline to apply of Friday, June 16, 2023 no later than 12:00 noon.  Most meetings will be hosted via Zoom, with the final module hosted in-person.  This cohort will be limited to Santa Barbara County Headquartered nonprofit organizations.

About the Board Leadership Institute

The Center for Nonprofit Leadership at California Lutheran is pleased to announce the application process for the 2023 cohort of the Board Leadership Institute. This five-month certificate program will enhance the knowledge and skills among leadership teams comprised of nonprofit board members and their head of staff (CEO or Executive Directors).

Download the 2023 cohort #2 flyer

Thank You to Our Partners!

This program is generously underwritten by the Amgen Foundation and the Santa Barbara Foundation..

SBF Logo


Each organization, as well as each fully participating board and staff leader, will receive a Certificate of Completion, useful for resumes, references, and grant applications. All Certificate holders will be listed on the Center for Nonprofit Leadership’s website.

Who Should Attend?

This cohort is open to Santa Barbara County headquartered nonprofit organizations.  Each participating organization is required to send a leadership team of two to three board members and the organization’s current head of staff (CEO or Executive Director). Ideally this is a mix of seasoned board members and emerging leaders. For the greatest impact, the board chair is strongly encouraged to be part of this group. We ask that the team remain consistent through the life of the program; and each person make every effort to attend all sessions to offer the greatest depth and continuity to the Board Leadership Institute experience.

How to Apply

Applications for remaining team slots are accepted on a rolling basis.

The deadline to submit an application for the next cohort is 12:00 noon Friday, June 16, 2023


Location, Dates and Times

The 2023 cohort of the Board Leadership Institute will be hosted primarily via Zoom.  There will be a mandatory 75-minute Zoom-based orientation to launch the program.  Gatherings for Modules I-IV of the program will be conducted each month as two 2-hour sessions from 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Zoom with subject matter experts, tools & templates and interactive team excercises.  We kindly ask that all participants log in no later than 8:45 a.m. to get settled and to network with other program participants. The final Module will be conducted in-person as a single session from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Zoom log-in information will be sent prior to the orientation.

 Important Dates

  • Mandatory Orientation    
    Tuesday, July 11, 2023
    Log-in: 9:45 a.m.  |  Session 10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. 
  • Board Service 101   
    Tuesdays - July 18 & 25
    Log-in: 8:45 a.m.  |  Session 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 
  • Strategy, Planning & Strategic Recruitment  
    Tuesdays - August 22 & 29
    Log-in: 8:45 a.m.  |  Session 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 
  • Board/Staff Partnership
    Tuesdays - September 19 & 26
    Log-in: 8:45 a.m.  |  Session 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  
  • Financial Oversight 
    Tuesdays - October 17 & 24
    Log-in: 8:45 a.m.  |  Session 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 
  • Development & Fundraising   
    Tuesday - November 14
    Arrive: 8:45 a.m.  |  Session 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.In-Person: TBD - Santa Barbara County Location

Participating organizations will be given time during each session to develop an action plan for how best to bring what they have learned back to their organization.


Program fees include all facilitated sessions, digital program materials, and access to an online library of resources.

For a team of up to four (4):

Not-Yet-an-Organizational Member: $150 per team
CNL Organizational Members: no additional fee to participate

Meet the Faculty



Caryn Bosson

Principal, Caryn Bosson Consulting


René Castro, MSW

Senior Consultant, Equity Praxis Group


David Greco

President & CEO, Social Sector Partners and Professional Speaker


Doug Green




Judy Guillermo-Newton, MFT

Senior Consultant, Equity Praxis Group

  Becca Merrell Headshot

Becca Merrell, CFRE

Executive Vice President, Central Coast Region of Netzel Grigsby Associates


Norbert Tan Headshot

Norbert Tan

Principal, S.B. Lemons & Company

Norbert Tan Headshot

Jarrod Schwartz

Founder and Principal Consultant, Equity Praxis Group


Steve Willmont

Vice President, Netzel Grigsby Associates