Capacity Building for Nonprofits

Capacity Building Programs

Programs and workshops are offered at no cost. Click on any session title to register.

The Rhode Island Foundation is pleased to offer a comprehensive set of programs and workshops designed to strengthen and build the capacity of nonprofit boards, including board member education, technical assistance, convenings, and new board member recruitment opportunities.

All programs are free of charge and guidance is available upon request.

Workshop Series

Workshops are free of charge and open to all. Please click on any workshop title to register. All in-person sessions will be held at the Rhode Island Foundation.

Mapping your Board's Network to Build Support for your Nonprofit

Wednesday, November 29 (12:00-1:30 pm)
This in-person facilitation training will instruct nonprofit board members and/or development staff on how to help their boards identify their full social and professional connections with the intent of growing their organization’s fundraising potential. This workshop is best utilized when more than one person from your organization registers and participates. Facilitator: Keith Tavares, Capacity Building Officer

Succession Planning for Nonprofit Leaders*
This in-person session will cover the challenges and opportunities related to nonprofit leadership transitions. Since board, executive director, and senior staff leadership turnover is a healthy part of every nonprofit’s lifecycle, join us for an interactive discussion around best practices for handling leadership shifts. Facilitator: Jill Pfitzenmayer, Vice President of Capacity Building
*Please note that the November 17 and December 1 sessions are at capacity. To be placed on the wait list for a future session, please email Keith Tavares, Capacity Building Officer, at

Introduction to Planned Giving
Wednesday, December 6 (12:00-2:00 pm)
This is an in-person workshop where participants will learn how a planned giving program can provide long-term financial benefits for nonprofit organizations. This workshop will cover the intricacies and various options for donors considering a bequest, retirement plan beneficiary, or a more complicated estate planning strategy. It will also provide strategies and best practices for nonprofit organizations when launching a new planned giving program. Facilitators: Bruce Keeler, Senior Philanthropic Advisor and Keith Tavares, Capacity Building Officer

For all boards

These offerings are available upon request and will be handled on a first come, first served basis.

  • Governance guidance and education: Our Capacity Building team will gladly attend a board meeting to facilitate challenging conversations, offer advice, or provide board education based on individual requests.
  • Membership for one year to BoardSource: Organizations with a budget below $250,000 can apply for a free one-year membership to BoardSource, the comprehensive online resource for all governance-related matters. A limited number of memberships are available.

Please contact Keith Tavares, Capacity Building Officer at (401) 427-4054 or via email at for more information.

Organizational Strengthening Program

This intensive learning program addresses core nonprofit needs. Nonprofit experts will address best practices in multiple areas such as governance, fundraising, impact assessment, and effective communications. This program entails workshops, peer learning, and technical assistance (both in-person and virtual) for nonprofit teams from 6-8 organizations, who will be selected through a competitive application process. Participating organizations will receive a grant of up to $8,000 to help address their capacity needs. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications.

Board Chair/Executive Director Coaching Program

This is a virtual learning program designed to clarify and deepen the partnership between an organization’s executive director and board chair. Each session covers an area critical to successful governance, including board fundraising, board recruitment, and board financial oversight. Participating organizations will receive a free membership to BoardSource (including a board self-assessment) and a grant of $2500 for governance support. An organizational applicant must include both the executive director and board chair in each session. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications.

Executive Directors Leadership Circle

This is an informal peer learning and sharing opportunity for executive directors leading mid-sized nonprofits (annual budget over $500k). Each leadership circle is intentionally small (up to 15 participants), and participants will bring organizational challenges to a table of peers for problem solving and creative thinking. Leadership circle participants will be selected to reflect a broad diversity of organizational missions and professional backgrounds. Individuals may apply for consideration. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications.

Emerging Leaders Program

This free professional development program is designed to build the nonprofit sector leadership pipeline by preparing early career professionals to take on increased responsibility through focused mentoring with an established nonprofit leader. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications.