Board Academy

Are you ready to bring your board leadership to a new level? Board Academy—Virginia’s premier board development program—can help you get there. Board Academy will relaunch in August 2022 with an updated curriculum, reflecting the latest trends in board governance, best practices in adult education, and an increasing concern with racial equity and social justice.

The Board Academy builds the capacity of our community to effectively meet future challenges by creating an ever-expanding web of trained, committed board members.

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.

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.

My experience while attending “The Board Academy” far exceeded my expectations. I knew it would make me a better board member, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how much it would help our non-profit to hone our direction and focus our efforts. The lectures were incredibly interactive as well as fun and most of all, positive and uplifting to all classmates. I was fortunate to have received a scholarship and can testify to how beneficial that support was. I cannot stop talking about what I learned and how epic my experience was.

Jeff Gleason, Josephine’s Daddy and Board Member at Josephine’s Village

The academy is a well-run program with excellent administration and instructors who are seasoned professionals from the nonprofit sector. I gained so much insight about board governance, nonprofit accounting, fundraising, and recruitment, just to name a few. Although I have served on community boards for over 20 years, I now feel that I have the tools necessary to serve more effectively.

Andre Luck, Piedmont Virginia Community College

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Photos by Eze Amos


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:

  • Advocacy & Community Engagement
  • Board Building & Engagement
  • Board Management
  • Collaboraiton, Communicaiton, & Team Dynamics
  • Financial Oversight & Accountability
  • Philanthropy & Fundraising
  • Strategy & Evaluation

Select readings and discussion topics provide critical, equity-based perspectives on traditional approaches to deepen your understanding of board governance, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector more broadly.

You’ll learn alongside a group of dedicated servant leaders—like you, practicing skills of teamwork and communication through thoughtful classroom activities. You’ll put your knowledge into practice through real-world scenarios and case studies and develop an independent project.

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.

Board Academy requires 42 hours of class-time over 16 weeks in the form of two full-day workshops, seven 2-hour evening workshops, and 6 mock board meetings, as well as preparatory reading and an independent project.

Tuition and Financial Support

Participants from CNE member organizations receive a discount on Board Academy tuition.

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.

CNE offers a limited number of substantial scholarships. Scholarship applications are evaluated on an individual basis once participants have been selected. Scholarship applicants can also apply for an additional childcare subsidy.

Questions? Contact Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships, Cindy Colson

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!

CNE is excited to launch 7 Actionable Principles for a Strong Social Sector!

We encourage you to check out the site and you can find a recording of our launch town hall here.

CNE Members: Schedule a complimentary hour of support and coaching around the 7 Actionable Principles here.