Leadership Development


Created in 2017, the Philadelphia African American Leadership Development Forum (PAALDF) is an innovative program, which is sensitively designed exclusively for African American nonprofit leaders.

Nonprofit Leaders

The PAALD Forum includes classic leadership training content and exposure to regional and national thought leaders in the nonprofit field.

This highly interactive program is completely facilitated by African American presenters, panelists, and subject matter experts.

The Program is Designed to

Build greater capacity within African American nonprofit leaders to support the development and execution of their leadership skills

Build greater capacity among African American nonprofit leadership and organizations to better serve the African American Community

Cultivate and align African American leadership to promote communication and information-sharing across sectors
Deepen relationships with the broader philanthropic community and public and private sectors in an effort to become less transactional and more transformative

Expose African American Leaders to promising research and best practices

More Details

The Urban League of Philadelphia partnered with the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College (NELI) to develop PAALDF.It was created in response to the findings of the study funded by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s Impact Fundand conducted by the Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum, “How African-American-Led Organizations Differ from White-Led Organizations: Research Report on African American Nonprofit Organizations in Philadelphia.” 

Criteria for Candidates
Applicants must be working in an executive-level position in the nonprofit, public, or philanthropic sector and have at least seven years of work experience. The professional must be part of the organization’s executive team or work extensively with members of that team on an organizational level.

Potential participants may include but are not limited to presidents, CEOs, executive directors, COOs, deputy directors, vice presidents, CFOs, directors of strategic initiatives, and department or division heads.

Organizations must have a minimum annual budget of $250,000 to participate in the program. Applications will be accepted from organizations throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. Preference will be given to applicants from human service, health, and education-related nonprofits.

An area leader from Corporate, Government, Academia or the Non-Profit sector speaks to a group of students over the lunch hour about their educational and career background as well as share ‘pearls of wisdom.’

Additionally, the Leader will bring resources from their organization to mingle and interact with students one-on-one. This will allow the students to hear from a local ‘hero/shero” as well as directly interact with professionals from local organizations. To ensure that students get the most out of the event, a pre-luncheon session is conducted at each school to prepare the students for their speaker and the Lunch With A Leader experience.

Program Elements Will Include

Six days of workshops and panel discussion on topics, such as:

  • The Essentials of the African American Leadership Experience (drawing on the PAALF Report)
  • Visibility, Networking, and Social Access
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning for Organizational Effectiveness
  • Board Development and Governance
  • Effective Financial Planning and Management
  • Diversifying Funding For Sustainability

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