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Who Should Apply?

Leading for Community Impact is designed for nonprofit and social sector professionals who demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of northern Santa Barbara County communities and are interested in developing their capacity for leadership. Participants must be employed (unpaid Board members in a day to day staff role may apply) in a nonprofit or social sector agency. Examples of social sector agencies include Dept. of Social Services, City Government, School Districts, Housing Authority, Parks & Rec. Board members in a staff role may also apply.  All applicants must have the support of their organization’s Board Chair, Executive Director, or other senior level manager.

We welcome seasoned professionals, who are looking to sharpen their strategic thinking and change management skills in the company of their nonprofit peers.  We are also looking for leaders who are stepping into greater roles of responsibility requiring them to think different and earn the respect of others.  We seek leaders across the position spectrum with a high potential for future community leadership. The selection process is competitive, and not all applicants will be accepted.  Our selection criteria includes:

  • Commitment to Communities’ Wellbeing– Showing a commitment to Santa Maria, Lompoc and the surrounding community nonprofit and social sector and showing a strong intention to continue a career in the field.
  • Proven Record or High Potential for Leadership impact – Having a track (more than 5 year in the field) record of or potential to make an even greater impact in their organizations and in community leaders
  • Ability to Apply Learning– Being in a position to directly apply the leadership and management concepts, tools and lessons learned by either leading a team, key project or community effort.
  • Personal Commitment to Learning– Having the strong desire to grow, both personally and professionally. Committing to take advantage of this professional development opportunity through full participation and investment the workshops and projects.
  • Support of Organizational Leadership– Having the support of the Board Chair or Executive Director to take the time to fully participate in the program.
  • Add to Diversity and Richness of Class– Helping build a diverse cohort based on ethnicity, gender, job function, and organizational mission and adding to the richness of the program’s learning community.

Commitment, Fees and Dates


We ask that participants and their Board Chair or Executive Director be fully committed to the program, including:

  • Reviewing the dates of the program and promising to do everything possible to make sure the participant is available for those dates
  • Understanding that there will be approximately three hours of coursework between monthly sessions which might include meetings with people within in the organization or with community members, reading articles, or exploring the participant’s organization in greater depth within the context of the program
  • Commit to creating a capstone project using principles of strategic thinking that serves their organization by helping to expand their capacity to pursue their mission.


Thanks to the generosity of the Santa Barbara Foundation and other donors, the cost to each participating organization is a fraction of the $5,000 per person cost of putting on the program.  Program fees depend on employer budget size:

Program Fee is $1,000 for Organizations with budgets under $1 million
Program Fee is $2,000 for Organizations with budgets over $1 million

PROGRAM DATES for 2019-20

Program sessions run from September 2019 – July 2020.

Orientation (1pm-5pm)
Tuesday, September 10
Location: Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery

All full day sessions run from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm and will be held at the Santa Barbara Foundation in Santa Maria.  Lunch is provided.

Full Day Sessions (9:30am-5pm)
Tuesday, September 24 | Session 1
Tuesday, October 29 | Session 2
Wednesday, November 20 | Session 3
Tuesday, December 17 | Session 4

2020 Dates TBA


Leading from Community Impact assembles a select cohort of seasoned leaders and rising stars from northern Santa Barbara County’s nonprofit organizations. We expect to have more applicants than spaces and will strive to include diverse faces of the community while representing the various sizes and missions of North County’s nonprofit sector.

Applications for Leading for Community Impact are currently closed. If you have any questions, or would like outreach when applications open, please click here to complete and submit our Program Interest Form.

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