Our Mission

Our nation depends on nonprofits to address the most significant social issues of our time, yet chronically underinvests in leaders. At the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP), we transform communities by equipping the most promising social impact leaders – nonprofit, public sector, and social enterprise – with the skills, networks, confidence, and resources they need to effectively lead, advance justice, and make their organizations more effective, innovative, and sustainable.

Our Work

INP envisions a transformed and thriving social impact sector, driven by effective nonprofits and community organizations with strong and diverse leadership across all levels – from staff to managers and executives and board members. As our nation confronts its long legacy of systemic racism and oppression while simultaneously grappling with a public health crisis, it is more critical than ever that social sector leaders have access to the knowledge, information, experts, and networks they need to expedite social change and keep communities strong.

Through our various training series, convenings and our comprehensive certificate programs, social sector leaders learn the essentials of leadership and management, apply them in practice, reflect with peers and mentors, and grow their networks. From marketing to fundraising, change management to financial management, we help leaders develop the skills they – and their organizations – need to be more effective. 

Since our founding, INP has sought to advance organizational effectiveness while closing historic racial and gender gaps in leadership, to ensure that the social impact sector reflects the diversity of communities served. We do this by building the social, knowledge, and financial capital of our student leaders. Today, INP trains hundreds of leaders annually in eight sites across the country. We serve individual leaders and organizations who leverage us as part of their ongoing talent and organizational development strategy. In addition, INP trains and connects thousands of leaders through our virtual programming, alumni programming and community convenings.

With a proven, award-winning model and a growing network of accomplished alumni, we are  uplifting and uniting nonprofit and public sector leaders from coast-to-coast. By breaking down silos of isolation and tearing down walls of competition, our alumni find creative and impactful ways of working together that bring the lasting, meaningful change to communities that our country needs.

Our Story

We were built to fundamentally disrupt the status quo and ensure that the nonprofit and social impact sector workforce is exponentially more effective, connected, equitable, and diverse. This was the vision of founder, organizer, consultant, and coach Barry Dym, Ph.D., who established INP in 2007. He set out to address several critical issues he saw threatening the sustainability of the nonprofit sector — challenges that we still seek to remedy today:

  • Under-investment in leadership development and organizational capacity building
  • A succession crisis triggered by the retirement of baby boomers
  • The need for more diverse leadership that not only reflects communities served but also leads to higher-performing organizations

In our first year, 13 students in Boston completed our Core Certificate Program, which was created to equip a diverse class of nonprofit and public sector executives and managers with resources, relationships, and skills to strengthen their organizations. In 2012, we launched the Community Fellows Program for early career leaders with a focus on advancing the connections, careers, and influence of rising Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) community and social change leaders. Today, we support, train and connect executives, managers, and emerging leaders through programs in eight locations across the country, train consultants and boards, and continue to launch programming in new regions. All of our programs are grounded in the values and principles of community organizing and movement building, and are led and taught by practicing social impact leaders.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We believe that the social impact sector plays an integral role in our country’s ability to achieve racial and gender equity and justice and we seek to amplify the voices and talents of women and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) working at all levels of organizations.

All of our leaders, BIPOC and white, glean lessons and strategies to advance DEIB work within all realms of their leadership. Our curriculum includes supporting leaders, across race, ethnicity, and gender, to deeply examine embedded assumptions and biases, apply learnings, and expand their practice.

Organizations whose demographics represent the diversity of the communities they serve and who are equipped with tools and practices to meaningfully advance racial and gender equity within their organizations are stronger and more effective in realizing social change. We welcome students into a space where they can be their authentic selves and feel a true sense of belonging. We want everyone at the table and are committed to building bridges across difference to ensure the possibility for collective change. Change will take all of us. 

Whether exploring finance or fundraising, team management or mindfulness in leadership, we embed the topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) into every aspect of our programs so all students learn how to lead with a racial and gender equity lens and can fully integrate DEIB strategies into their leadership and their organizational practices.

Alumni Report

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improved their skills in critical areas like finance, management, fundraising, and marketing

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increased their organizational resources & accelerated impact

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improved their skills in implementing DEIB strategy

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improved their ability to build a healthy high performing team culture

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