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Leading with equity

Emerging leaders Fellowship

Alternatives’ Emerging Leaders Fellowship is a nonprofit leadership development program that trains future leaders for the next step in their nonprofit career through an antiracist lens.



This program aims to prepare the next generation of nonprofit leaders, particularly those of color, to have the skills needed to transition to Executive and Director level positions one day. Exposing them to the issues, projects, and conversations at the Executive or Director level provides them a safe space to make mistakes and be supported. We hope to develop and prepare future leaders to be decision-makers rooted in their values and in anti-racism.



Who should apply?

Alternatives’ Emerging Leaders Fellowship program is intended for folx in the Chicagoland area who:

  • Currently work in the nonprofit sector
  • Want to grow in your nonprofit career 
  • Want to eventually be a non profit director or in executive leadership.
  • executive directors who want to learn how to integrate racial equity into all policies and practices. 

Trainings Overview

Through this fellowship, you will gain a deeper understanding of the following topics through an antiracist lens:

  • Nonprofit Overview
  • Finance & Budgeting
  • Program Planning & Development
  • Development & Marketing
  • Recruitment & Hiring
  • Management & Supervision
  • Employee Accountability
  • Organizational Policies

Fellowship Dates

  • February – 2/2 – 2/3 (2 day retreat)
  • March – 3/1/2024
  • April – 4/5/2024
  • May – 5/3/2024
  • June – 6/7/2024
  • July – 7/11 – 7/12/2024 (2 day retreat)
  • August – 8/2/2024
  • September – 9/6/2024


By Organization Budget Size:

  • >$15M: $10,000
  • $10M – $14.9M: $7,500
  • $5M – $9.9M: $5,000
  • $3M – $4.9M: $2,000
  • $1.5M – $2.9M: $1,000

Full and partial scholarships available as needed (don’t let cost keep you from applying!).

Total participants in the last two cohorts

% POC participants

Internal promotions


Kimberley Smith

Director of Programs at the University of Chicago Crime Lab

ángela munguía

executive director of AMPT: Advancing Nonprofits

Shaharazad Johnson

Director of Behavioral Health at Alternatives

Penny Smith

Director of Learning and Impact at Erikson Institute

Amudha Sree

Data and Program Evaluation Manager at Alternatives

Agustin Flores

Portfolio Manager at A Better Chicago

Dr. Kathryn Bocanegra

Researcher and Assistant Professor at UIC

analía rodríguez

Leadership Investment Program Officer, Field Foundation

Rachel Pate

Director of Civic Programming at Chicago United for Equity

about the fellowship

this work can’t wait…

Why this is important

In the nonprofit sector, most nonprofit executives and leadership are white. Only 8% of nonprofit leaders are Black, and only 10% of Executive Directors are Latinx. There is a massive discrepancy in nonprofit leadership due to systemic and institutional racism. Often, when Black and Brown folx make it to Executive and Director leadership, they burn out quickly because so much of what they’re dealing with at that leadership level is new.

Many of the topics the Alternatives’ Emerging Leaders Fellowship covers and aims to expand, people don’t have access to outside of specialized educational and employment programs. So, it is essential to open doors and bring people to the table with us, especially people of color; there is room for all of us in nonprofit leadership. 


“I want to use the information I’ve learned to develop myself and become a better leader. I also want to pass down the information I’ve learned to new people who join my team.”

“A lot of times people of color are not in spaces where we are allowed to learn without harsh consequences, so it’s really nice to be able to practice things that you’re expected to do in leadership without the consequence of getting it wrong. Instead we have the space to get feedback and actually learn”

“I like the environment. We are able to get so much professional information, but it’s not an intimidating or intense environment.”

“I enjoyed the budgeting section because I’ve written a lot of grants, but I didn’t really understand what goes into how much we ask for and how we budget things out.”

“I’ve really learned about what goes into running an organization that I just didn’t have any idea about before.”


Are you passionate about fostering racial equity in the nonprofit sector?

Do you believe in the power of emerging leaders to drive transformative change?

Join us in our mission to make a lasting impact on the future of leadership in the nonprofit world by becoming a Sponsor for our Emerging Leaders Fellowship. As a Sponsor, you play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of leaders dedicated to advancing racial equity. Your support is not just an investment in the fellowship; it’s an investment in a more inclusive, diverse, and empowered nonprofit sector.

The Impact You Can Make

1. Empowering Emerging Leaders: Your sponsorship directly supports the development of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, providing them with the skills, knowledge, and network needed to lead with impact.

2. Promoting Racial Equity: Demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion by aligning your brand with an initiative that actively addresses racial disparities in the nonprofit sector.

3. Brand Visibility: Enjoy prominent recognition across all fellowship materials, events, and platforms, showcasing your commitment to social responsibility and equality.

4. Networking Opportunities: Connect with a community of like-minded organizations and individuals who share your dedication to fostering a more equitable and just nonprofit sector.

Levels of Sponsorship

Choose the level of sponsorship that best aligns with your organization’s capacity, or work with us to come up with something tailored to your organization:

Catalyst Sponsorship – $25,000

  • Impactful Recognition: Acknowledgment in all promotional materials, including press releases and event collateral, highlighting your organization as a catalyst for change.

  • Exclusive Networking: Invitation to intimate gatherings with fellows and alumni, fostering genuine connections and insights.

Ally Sponsorship – $15,000

  • Logo Inclusion: Your logo prominently displayed on event materials and our website, affirming your allyship with emerging leaders in racial equity.Access to Insights: Receive select reports and insights from the fellowship program, providing valuable perspectives on advancing racial equity.

How to Get Involved

Becoming a Corporate Sponsor is a straightforward process:

1. Contact Us: Reach out to our sponsorship team to express your interest and discuss the sponsorship options available.

2. Join the Movement: Your support is not just a transaction; it’s a collaboration towards a more equitable future.

Join Us in Shaping the Future of the Nonprofit Sector

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If you'd like to learn more about the fellowship and how to apply, sign up for one of our info sessions!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 4:30 PM

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 4:30 PM