Leadership Development

Philanthropy New York is deeply committed to investing in the leadership of our members as we work together to build and equitable, sustainable and democratic society. We believe philanthropic leadership is nurtured through community and in relationship with others - two values that are core to our work.

At Philanthropy New York, we break down barriers and provide pathways for individual members, member institutions, and PNY to exercise influence and become agents of change. Effective leaders are effective grantmakers, and effective grantmakers advance meaningful social change.

Supporting individuals as leaders

Leadership is about action, not seniority or positional authority. Our goal is to support leadership development at every phase of our member's careers through a community and network-oriented lens to help you better implement themission of your organizations. We constantly seek to enhance our successful network and cohort-based professional development opportunities that develop individual leadership skills by creating new professional networks for program staff, exploring opportunities to build rich leadership trainings, enhancing our unique skills-based intensive training for grantmakers, and investing resources in a diverse next generation of philanthropic practitioners.

Building institutional leadership

An approach to leadership development focused solely on the individual is incomplete. We also cultivate and catalyze institutional leadership around public policy, advocacy, and collaboration in the sector. We do so by advocating for policies that affect the entire nonprofit field, developing new trainings for our members in policy and advocacy, bringing together members who wish to advocate on critical issues, and identifying trends and serving as a hub for collaboration. We believe that building institutional muscle to engage in advocacy work on important issues yields strong results.

Cohort programs

We've developed several intensive cohort programs that demonstrate our commitment to and investment in leadership development, as well as special convenings of our CEO networks. Many of these new programs are a result of member contributions and investments in the Fund for 2025. Learn More:

  • Leading with Race Equity: Building Stronger Culture and Practice: Race continues to play a defining role in our personal and our community's trajectory, goals, experiences, and outcomes. As grantmakers working to tackle inequality, it is important that we build a shared understanding and a set of tools to speak openly about racial bias and inequity, and their deep roots in our history, culture, and institutions. Philanthropy New York, in partnership with Race Forward and True North EDI, created this four-month peer cohort learning experience designed to help foundation leaders gain the tools and resources to work towards racial eqiuty in both internal and external organizational work.
  • Young Leaders Breakfast Club: The Young Leaders Breakfast Club (YLBC) is a ten-month cohort-based network and leadership development program. YLBC is geared toward philanthropy professionals who have five to fifteen years of experience with an intentional focus to engage comunities historically underrepresented in the philanthropic sector. YLBC creates a space for participants to build relationships across a diverse community of professionals, work on personal and collective learning agendas, and practice leadership skills. Through YLBC, we are building a more networked philanthropic sector dedicated to equitable, inclusive, collaborative, and innovative philanthropy.
  • Program Officers as Champions: Philanthropy New York is piloting a new leadership program for experienced program officers and directors. Program Officers as Campions will provide a small cohort of participants with opportunities to learn and grow in their positions as leaders within their institutions and fields of expertise. Program Officers as Champions is designed to help experiences program staff build capacity for relfective practice, peer-to-peer learning, and mobilizing  for impact. The program challenges participants to hone their capacity both inside foundations with colleagues, as well as out in the field with grantees and with other leaders in the ecosystem.
  • CEO Member Convenings: We bring together our member CEOs regularly throughout the year for peer-to-peer leadership support. These groups allow member CEOs to build working relationships with other peer CEOs, and to have high-level strategy and leadership conversations on shared topics of interest. In this way, PNY serves as a crticial hub for executives to connect with other executives to problem-solve, ideate, and create socially impactful solutions together. PNY convenes CEO groups based on foundation size; we also have a group for corporate funders and one for CEOs of foundations working with families or individual donors.

About Our Programs