Center for Nonprofit Excellence
LEAD Institute

LEAD Institute


LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) builds the skills of successful nonprofit managers serving the diverse communities of Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties, preparing them for organization-wide leadership roles.

Transform Yourself, Your Team, Your Community

LEAD Testimonial Thumbnail

How LEAD benefits you as a leader

Gain the practical tools, knowledge and confidence you need to work with your executive director and organization for greater impact.

  • Multicultural learning environment
  • expanded professional network with ongoing connections
  • individualized support from a leadership coach
  • learn in the Monterey Bay Area – no travel to San Francisco Bay area required

Read more about what you will learn.

How LEAD benefits your organization

Barbara MitchellWe have had (at least one) staff member in each LEAD class since inception. Our LEADers have moved to more responsible positions in the agency. I think that LEAD has done wonders for their skill building as well as developing their confidence. – Barbara Mitchell, Executive Director of Interim Inc.

  • An affordable investment in promising managers. Scholarships available
  • Staff attend LEAD seminars one work-day per month (10 months)
  • New tools and skills can be shared throughout the organization immediately
  • Graduates understand the complexities of running an entire organization, not just a department or program.


LEAD is jointly certificated through the Community Foundation for Monterey County and CSU Monterey Bay’s Extended Education program in coordination with the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County and the Community Foundation for San Benito County.

We Gratefully Acknowledge Our Partners, Advisors and Funders

Location Sponsor

The Harden Foundation

Educational Partner

CSU, Monterey Bay, Extended Ed and & International Programs

Program Design Partner

LeaderSpring, Initial Program Design Support (2008-2010)
CompassPoint NonProfit Services
Community Resource Center, Denver, CO
Local Initiative Support Corporation

Initial Funding Support (2008-2012)

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


What You Will Learn

LEAD Small group discussionGain an executive’s perspective and essential information on key topics. We integrate an approach of cultural competency and collaboration in all aspects of LEAD.

Add to your nonprofit management toolkit:

  • program management and evaluation
  • strategic planning
  • fund development
  • human resource management
  • public communications and much more
  • LEAD Institute Topics Covered

Develop as a leader personally, in your organization and community, with a focus on

Leadership Coaching

LEAD coaching

Work one-on-one with an experienced leadership coach.

  • Develop confidence and advance your LEAD goals and projects
  • Customize a learning plan for your specific situation
  • Practice peer coaching skills as you support fellow participants

LEAD Coaches 2017

Thank you to our 2017 pro bono LEAD coaches:

Dena Adriance
Anne Auburn
Briana Bellamy
Jennifer Britton
Marie Earl
Todd Emaus
Anna Foglia
Grace Hammond
Denise Kaku
Windsor Lindor
Kay Logterman
Tobi Marcus
Lisette Miles
Evelin E. Montes
Diane Ortiz
Michelle Slade
Ron Wormser

Seminar Dates & Assignments

Note: LEAD Seminar will be on hiatus in 2018 and will resume in 2019.

Implement new skills throughout the year and practice greater leadership.   LEAD can help you become more efficient and effective with your time.

  • February-November – 12 full-day seminars – ten Fridays and two Saturday sessions
  • Assignments and a project with immediate workplace application (6-10 hours per month)
  • Make connections with your peers in the nonprofit community while learning together

2019 Seminar Dates

Date Activity
To Be Announced



Applying to LEAD

Apply Online

LEAD Institute will be on hiatus in 2018 and will resume in 2019. Applications will be available in Summer 2018.

Applying to LEAD is a partnership between you and your employer. We recommend you discuss your goals, the benefits to the organization and commitment required to participate. Nonprofits based in Santa Cruz, Monterey or San Benito Counties are eligible.

Tuition and Scholarships

Alfred-Diaz-Infante[LEAD] really gave us an excellent return on investment. Alfred Diaz-Infante, President/CEO of CHISPA Supervisor of 2011-12 LEAD Participant

We are committed to working with all accepted applicants and their organizations to coordinate tuition funding.

  • $1,500-2,400 based on your nonprofit’s annual operating budget; valued at $5,000-8,000
  • Partial scholarships and payment plans are available
  • *10% tuition discount for complete applications received by the Early Bird deadline.

Application and Selection Criteria

Successful candidates demonstrate:

  • Support from their organizations to take on greater leadership in the next 6-12 months
  • Experience supervising others
  • Understanding of community dynamics and critical thinking
  • Integrity and a commitment to life-long learning

LEAD Key Deadlines & Dates

LEAD is a full-year commitment, with seminars held from February through November in Salinas.

  • Applications for 2019 LEAD will be available in Summer 2018.

2019 Seminar Dates

Date Activity
To Be Announced



LEAD Alumni and Participants

LEAD is an opportunity to engage with the extensive network of alumni in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties. We support alumni-led activities to stay connected, continue learning, and renew energy for leadership growth. Over 130 people have participated in LEAD from over 90 nonprofit organizations.

Mireya Gomez ContrerasThe new tools and support network of other leaders helps me feel consistently hopeful even through challenging times. – Mireya Gomez-Contreras, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County


Monterey County Nonprofits & Alumni

  • 2nd Chance Family and Youth Services (Laura Tinajero)
  • Access Support Network (Daniela Mejia)
  • Ag Land Trust (Virginia Jameson)
  • Alisal Center for the Fine Arts (Willow Aray & Juan Carlos Gonzalez)
  • ARIEL Theatrical (Samantha Barnes)
  • Arts Council for Monterey County (Berniz House)
  • Building Healthy Communities – East Salinas (Carmen Gil)
  • California Breastfeeding Coalition (Robbie Gonzalez-Dow)
  • Camp SEA Lab (Amity Wood)
  • The Carmel Foundation (Aimee Cuda, Kimberly Willison)
  • Central Coast HIV/AIDS Services (Katie Murphy)
  • Central Coast YMCA: South County Branch (Leti Bocanegra)
  • CHISPA (Jonathan Bohorquez, Ruth Rodriguez)
  • CSUMB (Rene Casas)
  • Coalition of Homeless Services Providers (Jocelyn Brady)
  • Community Foundation for Monterey County (Aurelio Salazar, Jr.)
  • Community Human Services (Rob Rapp & Valerie Catania)
  • Community Partnership for Youth (Benjamin Bruce)
  • Door to Hope (Denise Felix, Patterson Emesibe)
  • Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (Vicente Lara)
  • Everyone’s Harvest (Iris Diana Jehle-Peppard)
  • Family Connections – MPUSD/First 5 (Jan Phillips Paulsen)
  • First 5 Monterey County (David Dobrowski)
  • First Methodist Church in Salinas (Cindy Storrs)
  • Food Bank for Monterey County (Melissa Hartman)
  • Hartnell College Foundation (Priscilla Amao)
  • HOPE Services (Greg Dinsmore)
  • Housing Resource Center of Monterey County (Jennifer Rego)
  • INTERIM, INC (Idalia Matthews, Alejandro Amezcua, Carolina Cortez, Christina Barnes, Carmen Torres, Lara Stahl, Lisa Corpuz, Judith Gonzalez & Maritza Allen)
  • iResult, LLC (Niña Magsaysay Rosete)
  • Legal Services for Seniors (Philip M. Geiger)
  • The Literacy Campaign for Monterey County (M. Crystal Macias-Diaz)
  • Loaves Fishes & Computers, Inc. (Elizabeth Panetta)
  • Lyceum (Joyce Breckenridge)
  • Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management (Isabel Bjork)
  • Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley, Inc. (Claudia Aguilera)
  • MEarth (Juliet Pool)
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium (Ava Ferguson & Ileana Ortega Brunetti, Jennifer Rigney)
  • Monterey County Office of Education Head Start and Early Head Start (Isabel Valtierra)
  • Monterey County Rape Crisis Center (Nina Alcaraz)
  • Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (Ann Wasser)
  • Parents’ Place, Pacific Grove Adult School, PGUSD (Elizabeth Olney)
  • Peacock Acres (Nathan Jones)
  • Point Lobos Foundation (Anna Patterson)
  • Rancho Cielo Youth Campus, Inc. (Trish Alcocer)
  • Restorative Justice Partners, Inc. (Jennie Burciaga)
  • Return of the Natives Restoration and Education Project (Emily Howard)
  • The Salvation Army, Service Extension (Amelia Gomez)
  • Shelter Outreach Plus (Leticia Bejarano)
  • Soledad Unified School District (Cristina Sotelo)
  • Special Kids Crusade (Laura Harris)
  • Sun Street Centers (John Bokanovich, Marciano Huerta & Eddie Hathcock)
  • Support Access Network (Paris De La Rosa)
  • Turning Point of Central California (Pearl Sanchez)
  • United Way Monterey County (Kate Mitchell Mehle & Mayra Perez)
  • Volunteer Center (Gilda Estrada)
  • Youth Music Monterey County (Vanisha Evans Douvon)
  • Youth Orchestra Salinas (Michael Gomez)
  • YWCA Monterey County (Germaine Esquivel)

San Benito County Nonprofits & Alumni

  • CASA of San Benito County (Esther Curtice)
  • Chamberlain’s Children Center, Inc. (Krystal Jones, Gracie Lucatero & Patrick Ellis)
  • Community Foundation for San Benito County (Raul Ceja)
  • Community Solutions (Vanessa Garcia)
  • Community Vision San Benito Co. (Colleen Johnson)
  • Emmaus House (Mary Lou Coffelt)
  • Hollister Youth Alliance (Zenedith Espinoza)
  • Pinnacles Partnership (Rochelle Fischer)
  • United Way of San Benito (Vicki Fortino)

Santa Cruz County Nonprofits & Alumni

  • Arts Council Santa Cruz County (Megan Searcy & Nabil Ghachem)
  • Break Away College Access Project (Carol Schimke)
  • Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (Jessica Frye)
  • Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. (Juan Luis Romero, Mireya Gomez-Contreras)
  • Community Restoration Project (Javier Diaz)
  • The Shelter Project (Norma Sanchez)
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers (Kathryn Spencer)
  • Community Bridges
    • Beach Flats Community Center (Reyna Ruiz)
    • La Manzana Community Resources (­­­Gabriela López Chávez)
    • Community Connection (Mark Vasquez, Jodie Wells, Salina Nevarez & Uriel Mendoza)
  • Easter Seals Central California (Stephanie Flores & Stella Lauerman)
  • El Pajaro CDC (Amy Mascareñas)
  • Encompass Community Services (Maria Sanchez & Leigh Guerrero)
  • Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay (Beth Bowman)
  • Homeless Garden Project (Darrie Ganzhorn)
  • Mesa Verde Gardens (Ana Rasmussen)
  • Museo Eduardo Carillo (Betsy Andersen)
  • Pajaro Valley Arts Council (Norma Villaron)
  • Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Inc. (Silvia Diaz)
  • Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (Lea Haratani)
  • Salud Para La Gente (Dail Vannerus, Michelle De Anda, Rosalba Contreras, Rachel Sandobal & Theresa Merendon)
  • Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (Diana Kapsner)
  • Save Our Shores (Ginaia Kelly)
  • Tandy Beal & Company (Jennifer Radakovich)
  • Watsonville Film Festival (Consuelo Alba-Speyer)
  • The Watsonville Law Center (Adriana Melgoza, Monica Pereira & Henry Martin)
  • Watsonville Volunteer Center (Blanca Carrillo)
  • Watsonville Wetlands Watch (Jonathan Pilch)
  • Women’s Crisis Support – Defensa de Mujeres (Lucila Sanchez)
  • YWCA of Watsonville (Emelia Leon)

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