Board Academy

Board Academy—Virginia’s premier board development program—has been refreshed for 2023! What’s new? Participants will benefit from an updated curriculum, reflecting the latest trends in board governance, best practices in adult education, and an increased focus on racial equity and social justice. APPLY TODAY!

The Board Academy prepares community members for board and committee service in nonprofits, municipal government, and community organizations. In doing so, CNE builds the capacity of our community to effectively meet future challenges by creating an ever-expanding web of trained, committed board members. 

Who should apply to Board Academy?

  • Service-oriented community members curious about serving on a nonprofit board
  • Community leaders interested in board service
  • New/less-experienced board members
  • Experienced board members

Board Academy is open both to those new to board service as well as more experienced board members. We strongly encourage younger emerging leaders and those from historically underrepresented communities to apply.

Why should you apply to Board Academy?

Participants become more effective board members by:

  • Gaining a strong understanding of board governance in the nonprofit sector,
  • Honing their collaborative skills, and
  • Preparing them to address the systemic inequities ingrained in nonprofit organizations and institutions.

When should you apply to Board Academy?

Applications will be accepted through October 31, 2022.

“The content was just what I was hoping for, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the group collaboration.”

“I appreciate all the tools and information shared, and the fact that it was an opportunity to continue to keep the issues that my nonprofit needs most to the front of my mind was important. I imagine it would do the same for any participant regardless of the life phase their nonprofit is in.”

“I wouldn’t have had the confidence to volunteer without having gone through the Board Academy. It really prepared me for the realities and gave me confidence I could handle whatever came up!”

“I appreciated getting to learn from other students with diverse backgrounds. I feel more a part of C’ville and the nonprofit community.”

Board Academy Graduates


Through a series of interactive workshops, Board Academy will take you beyond the basics of board roles and responsibilities to give you an in-depth understanding of the board’s role in:

  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Philanthropy
  • Collaboration
  • Community Engagement & Advocacy
  • Board Recruitment & Onboarding

The structure of the program emphasizes:

  • Current trends in governance and the nonprofit sector
  • The application of concepts through practical examples and case studies
  • Individualized, independent projects
  • Creating a community of peers

As a Board Academy graduate, you’ll be given opportunities to further your learning through mentorships, group coaching, fellowships, and access to our community of over 200 Board Academy alumni.

Photos by Eze Amos

Program Schedule

Board Academy 2023 will take place from late January to early June with two full day workshops (opening and closing) and 11 other evening 2-hour sessions (roughly 3 per month, February to May). See full calendar here.  Between meetings, participants will complete assigned readings and activities and advance an individual, capstone project. Active participation in Board Academy requires a time commitment for learning and engagement, and we ask that applicants be willing to commit to attending all scheduled sessions.

Board Academy requires 42 hours of class-time over 16 weeks in the form of two full-day workshops (in-person in Charlottesville), seven 2-hour evening workshops (in-person in Charlottesville), and four mock board meetings (online), as well as preparatory reading and an independent project.

Tuition and Financial Support

The cost for participation is $1,600 for CNE members and $2,500 for nonmembers.

CNE offers substantial need-based scholarships. Scholarship applications are evaluated on an individual basis after participants have been selected. Scholarship applicants can also apply for an additional childcare subsidy.

We strongly believe that diversity of experience contributes to strong board leadership. We actively encourage anyone interested in serving their community to consider applying for Board Academy.

Questions? Contact Senior Manager of Learning and Impact, Brian T. Ullman.

American Sign Language interpreters or other communication access accommodations are available upon request. Please submit any accommodations requests to CNE at staff@thecne.org or 434-244-3330.


Do you know someone else who would benefit from this program? Submit a nomination!

Press Release: CNE Announces Revamped Board Academy