Nonprofit Board Service Certification

The collective essence of a quality nonprofit board derives from its individual members’ unique perspectives, professional expertise, and life experiences. The most effective nonprofit organizations invest in a well-developed, diverse, and engaged board. Doing so sends a clear signal that the organization values creating an environment of trust, inclusion, and innovation.  

Given our history of partnering with a wide range of individuals in the private and public sectors, United Way of San Diego County is keenly aware of the value and lasting change that dedicated community members can offer to the nonprofit sector. In partnership with The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, UWSD offers a Nonprofit Board Service Certification program designed to help professionals use their skills and experience to move boards forward in an ever-changing world. 

By aligning community partners and leveraging the time, talent, and treasure of our corporate partners, United Way serves as a leader in connecting the private sector and nonprofit community to accelerate social impact. Through this innovative program, we also build the capacity of nonprofit organizations in San Diego and across the country. We work to pair certified program participants with organizations working in their area of interest that have a need for their specific skills and expertise. After program completion, participants 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. 

We are excited to announce that our March 2021 cohort, sponsored by the Clare Rose Foundation, will focus on board service with organizations that work in Creative Youth Development. In addition to the traditional program curriculum, participants will learn about the unique opportunities and challenges faced by nonprofits that engage young people in creative activitiesThese organizations work to develop our community, educate and activate youth voices, provide mental health and wellness services, and fight for racial and social justice through art, music, dance, theater, and much more 

The University of San Diego‘s 2020 Annual Report: State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy in San Diego indicates that the effects of the COVID-19 crisis have been more profound in the Arts and Culture subsector than among other nonprofits. Creative Youth Development organizations are foundational to the advancement of a strong community and need innovative leadership, now more than ever. This cohort offers an exciting opportunity for current and aspiring board members with a personal interest in the arts to serve targeted nonprofits in need of specific areas of expertise. 

Who Should Participate and Why?

  • Community leaders with a particular interest in Creative Youth Development organizations that provide workforce development, education, mental health and wellness services through the arts.  
  • Individuals who are passionate about social and racial justice and are looking to transform their passion into real-life leadership on nonprofit boards. 
  • Current or aspiring board members who seek to advance their general board governance knowledge and increase their leadership potential. 
  • Nonprofit staff whose roles include working directly with board members. 

Program Benefits

  • Increase your impact in our community. 
  • Connect with Creative Youth Development nonprofits in need of board members with your area of expertise. 
  • Enhance your leadership skills and learn about effective governance of nonprofits. 
  • Meet like-minded people and network with other leaders. 

Topics Covered

  • Unique challenges and opportunities faced by nonprofits in the Arts, Culture, and Creative Youth Development sector.  
  • How to govern in a virtual world. 
  • The importance of building a diverse and equitable board of directors. 
  • The legal, financial, and ethical responsibilities of nonprofit board members. 
  • Identifying the right board to join. 
  • Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” and BoardSource’s “12 Principles of Governance that Power Exceptional Boards” curricula.  

Program Details

seven-week virtual course, the Nonprofit Board Service Certification cohort requires a commitment of 2.5 hours per week “in class,” with additional discussions and readings as assigned. 

March 9 – April 20, 2021 
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday morning 

** Future cohort dates will be announced soon!

Cost and Application

The application deadline is Friday, February 23, 2021 and acceptance notifications will be sent by Friday, February 26, 2021.  

Upon acceptance into the program, a $1,000 program fee is due before the first training session; details about payment options will be sent out with decision notifications. 

Thank you to our sponsor: 

For more information, contact Carlee Chatman, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, at

Apply Now