Nonprofit Leadership



“I’ve done a lot of these types of programs – this is the best I’ve ever been involved in – it’s such a balance of self-care, social activities with hard work.”

Executive Director and Current Academy Participant 


About the Academy 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) Foundation’s Nonprofit Leadership Academy is an intensive leadership learning lab to help nonprofits develop the leadership, culture and strategy to be more adaptive organizations capable of delivering enhanced impact in today’s changing context.

The program requires a high level of commitment from participants, and in return provides focused resources and support to help organizations move forward on key challenges and opportunities.

The Academy is led by Blue Cross NC Foundation Staff, working in tandem with five noted nonprofit experts who serve as coaches and work directly with the program participants.

Watch this short video to hear from past participants and learn more about the Academy. 


Informational Webinars

Two informational webinars were hosted to provide additional insight on the program. Click the links below to view the recordings.  


The Academy is framed around three primary objectives:

  • Adaptive and shared leadership: board and staff working together to address challenges and opportunities
  • Aligned and inclusive organizational culture: everyone in the organization feels valued and their actions support one another
  • Creative and resourceful strategy: the organization knows where it is going and how to get there


The Nonprofit Leadership Academy is open to 16 organizations each year. The ideal candidates are ready to engage in deep learning and are hungry for the opportunity to tackle a significant challenge or opportunity. Eligible organizations must meet the following basic criteria:

  • Operating in North Carolina as a 501(c)(3) organization for at least three years
  • At least three full-time paid staff
  • An annual operating budget of $250,000 or greater

Application is open to all nonprofits in North Carolina; however, recent Blue Cross NC Foundation grantees will be given priority for acceptance.


Key Characteristics that Make the Program “Work”

  • Committed executive director
  • Intentionality about choosing the team members, folks who will work together and are dedicated
  • Strong coaching relationship that keeps group on task, timeline
  • Openness to change

Advice for Future Participants:

  • Readiness is key, i.e. make sure it is the right time for your organization.
  • Really commit the hours it takes, including being fully present at the retreats and frequent meetings among the team.
  • Enjoy it!

Who Has Taken the Journey?

  • List of past Nonprofit Leadership Academy participating organizations 

How to Participate

Information will be posted here about opportunity to participate in the Nonprofit Leadership Academy when application periods open.