Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders 2016 Graduation

Twenty six well-informed and passionate community members will soon be helping to do their part to inspire and lead Central New York’s charitable organizations, thanks to Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders (NTL). This training program that aims to diversify nonprofit boards in the Syracuse community, recently awarded its 2016 class with certificates of completion.

For eight weeks, participants of the NTL program learn about the importance of organization boards, how to work as a team, and many other vital skills and lessons integral to being an active and effective board member. The goal is to provide participants with the proper tools to be able to serve on boards, and in turn increase board diversity.IMG_5827

“My two favorite sessions were the ones that covered the legal responsibilities of serving on a board and shared creative strategies for managing conflict within groups,” said Berenice Bonilla, a 2016 graduate and Director, Development and Communications, YWCA and Owner and Director, Bérica Agency for Purposeful Branding. “The information was practical and useful, and the presenters were fascinating people.”

Lack of diversity on nonprofit boards is not a unique problem to the Syracuse community. According to an Urban Institute report, 86% of board members in the United States are Caucasian. Little or no diversity on board committees makes it difficult for organizations to be culturally sensitive and inclusive. However, NTL does not only focus on increasing diversity in terms of race. The program facilitators recognize that diversity also includes identities such as gender, age, socioeconomic status, ability and a host of other aspects.

Through this training program, NTL is attempting to build inclusive and diverse boards and organization and community.  Participants learn details of serving on a board, in addition to receiving assistance in finding the best organization for which to serve. Furthermore, NTL fosters friendships, collaboration, and social capital.

Administered by the Gifford Foundation, NTL was established in conjunction with a collaborative team of partners from Leadership Greater Syracuse, the Central New York Community Foundation, the Human Services Leadership Council of Central New York and Syracuse residents.IMG_5791

“I now know a lot more about the comprehensive role of boards and the responsibilities that each individual holds within one,” said Bonilla.  “I’m also more aware of what I need to know and ask before taking on a new board position. I already feel like a more solid contributor and hope that the impact of my work will be stronger now that I’ve finished this program.”

If you are interested in the Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders training program and would like to learn more, contact Sheena Solomon, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives, The Gifford Foundation at

To see additional photos from the graduation please click here.

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