United Way of San Diego County and The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego Host Virtual Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program


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Suzy Garcia / Ann Marie Price
Scatena Daniels
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Photos courtesy United Way of San Diego County

Seven-week program helps connect professionals and community leaders to nonprofit boards

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 31, 2021) — Do you care about social issues? Are you interested in contributing your time and talent to nonprofits in need? United Way of San Diego County and The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego are set to host the fourth virtual training cohort for their Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program. Starting Sept. 21 through Nov. 2, the seven-week online program will help prepare community leaders and professionals for effective board service and connect them to local nonprofits.

“Participating in the first Board Service Certification Program cohort not only opened up a gateway to priceless opportunities, but also reaffirmed my decision in serving others through board service,” says program participant, Silvia Calzada. “The sophisticated understanding of its curriculum and meeting like-minded professionals opened up my desire to learn more. I now serve as Board Member for Community HousingWorks and my confidence has skyrocketed.” Calzada was in the inaugural cohort in February 2020, which was sponsored by Women United and offered to female leaders in the community.

Effective board members can strengthen an organization in many ways, including providing valuable advice, resources, community support, and most importantly, assistance with fundraising. “Throughout the pandemic, nonprofits have been in desperate need for strong, innovative, and insightful board members to lead their organizations through the toughest times,” says Nancy L. Sasaki, president and CEO, United Way of San Diego County. “In a short time, our Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program builds confidence and allows professionals to give back with their skills and meet other like-minded community leaders. Participants walk away from our program with the skill and mindset to provide value and long-lasting change for a nonprofit organization.”

Gain tools to create a more vibrant philanthropic community. Program participants will learn vital skills to help them maximize their roles as board members. Not only does the program increase a board member’s impact, but also enhances their leadership skills, helps them learn about effective governance of nonprofits, and gives participants the opportunity to meet like-minded professionals, and network with other community leaders. A quality nonprofit board combines its individual members’ unique talents, life experiences, and professional expertise.

During each cohort, the following topics are covered:

  • Characteristics of high impact boards
  • The realities and legalities of nonprofit board governance
  • BoardSource’s “12 Principles of Governance that Power Exceptional Boards”
  • Understanding and using nonprofit financial statements
  • Five steps to identifying the right board to join
  • Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” curriculum

Since UWSD focuses on aligning community partners and leveraging its corporate partners, the organization is well-positioned to pair certified program participants with organizations working in their cause area of interest that need their expertise. Once participants complete the program, they will be awarded a Nonprofit Board Service Certificate from the University of San Diego and UWSD will work to connect participants with nonprofits in need of board members.

Virtual board training program advances UWSD’s CSR initiative. The Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program is only one part of UWSD’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The initiative helps companies connect their employees to causes they care about. Through UWSD’s CSR initiative, companies can align, organize, and administer employee-led philanthropic initiatives, providing employees with opportunities to engage, volunteer, and connect the way they want to.

For a century, UWSD has partnered with local companies on workplace giving, employee volunteerism, and other social purpose activities. With a comprehensive CSR strategy, companies give employees more power to engage with social issues, connect with changemakers and like-minded colleagues, and help companies streamline, modernize, and measure existing philanthropic programs while increasing retention and satisfaction among their workforce.

CSR offerings include the following opportunities to volunteer:

  • Traditional volunteerism
  • Virtual volunteerism
  • Skill-based volunteering
  • Board service training and matching

In addition to the virtual Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program, UWSD has been innovative in providing safe, socially distant and virtual volunteer opportunities as part of its overall CSR initiative. Not only has the organization moved its board training program online, but it also provides opportunities for companies to engage their employees in outdoor, socially distant activities. For example, employees from Homes.com recently completed a beautification project in collaboration with Dreams for Change. Also, the CSR initiative provided RevCult the opportunity to help pack 100 backpacks for students in City Heights. Both opportunities practiced social distancing, ensuring all volunteers and staff members were safe while giving back to those most in need in the community.

How to participate in the next cohort. Cohorts in 2021 and beyond will be open for all community members to apply and have opportunities for corporate sponsorship and scholarships. The application deadline is Sept. 10. The Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program will be held from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday between Sept. 21 and Nov. 2, and requires a commitment of 2.5 hours per week “in class,” with additional discussions and readings assigned.

To participate in an upcoming cohort apply here. Seating is limited per cohort, and upon acceptance to the program, a $1,000 program fee is due before the first training session. Potential participants can contact Alicia Quinn at for more information on the Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program.

Not available to participate in this cohort? Sign up here for Nonprofit Board Certification and Matching Program updates and upcoming cohorts to apply for the next one.

About United Way of San Diego County:

For 100 years, United Way of San Diego County has aligned with partners to address inequities in the region and help underserved communities. United Way’s specialty lies in identifying sustainable, long-term goals and achieving them through leveraging data and partners’ expertise to better understand root causes and putting impactful solutions into action.

United Way’s work, in partnership with others, uses shared goals, innovation and proven practices to transform the lives of children, young adults and families in the San Diego region. United Way focuses on educational milestones, such as kindergarten readiness, third-grade literacy, high school preparation, and college and career pathways. Learn more and get involved by visiting uwsd.org, Facebook, Twitter, or by calling (858) 492- 2000.