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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 investing in their capacity for greater 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 differently while earning the credibility to lead 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 in 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
  • All time allocated towards this program (sessions and homework) are working hours


Thanks to generous support from the Mayo Newhall, McCune and Chumash Foundations, the fee charged to each participating organization is a significant discount from the full cost of putting on the program (over $5,000 per participant). Program fees depend on employer budget size:

  • Program Fee is $1,750 for Organizations with budgets under $500,000
  • Program Fee is $2,250 for Organizations with budgets between $500,000 – $1 million
  • Program Fee is $2,750 for Organizations with budgets over $1 million

Limited scholarships are available to participants where cost would be a barrier. Please reach out to Ed France with any questions or concerns regarding program fees and scholarships.

We encourage that you read through our program highlights that describes the high-quality curriculum that’s tailored each year to best serve the leaders of our region and thus determines program cost.


Program sessions run in-person from March – December 2024 in Santa Maria.
Participants are committed to attend each session and program event.

Orientation (1:00-5:00 PM with optional lunch starting at noon)
Date: Friday, March 22recently updated!
Location: St. Mark’s In-the-Valley, Los Olivos

All full day sessions run from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; lunch is provided.

Full Day Sessions Sessions will be held at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on the following Fridays:

  • Session 1: April 19
  • Session 2: May 3
  • Session 3: June 7
  • Session 4: June 28
  • Session 5: July 19
  • Session 6: August 23
  • Session 7: September 20
  • Session 8: October 11
  • Session 9: November 8
  • Session 10: December 6

Culmination Event (evening celebration at the finish of the program)
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 11 at 5:30-7 pm
Location: The Guadalupe Social Club 


Leading from Community Impact assembles a select cohort of seasoned leaders and those stepping up into leadership from northern Santa Barbara County’s nonprofit organizations. We expect to have more applicants than spaces and will strive to include a diverse cross-section of the community while representing the various sizes, geography and missions of northern Santa Barbara County’s nonprofit sector.

APPLICATIONS CLOSED  February 2, 2024. If you are interested in applying for the next cohort, please fill out a Program Interest Form.

The application process consists of the following entirely via our website:

  1. Complete and submit your profile information in the Application Profile Form (below).
  2. Complete and submit a list of Application Questions, of which will become available once you complete the profile form. This involves an extensive list of questions for us to better know and understand your intentions to learn and grow as a community leader.
  3. Complete and submit a Recommendation Form (provided by us, online) from your supervisor, executive director, board director (listed as “sponsoring manager”).

Please be sure you have read the program commitments above prior to applying. We also strongly encourage that you view our information sessions, as it is the best way to learn whether this program is the right fit for you at this time in your career.

Sorry the application is now closed to new submissions.

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