Capacity Building for Nonprofits

Capacity Building Programs

Programs 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 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.

For board chairs

These programs are intended to offer practical information and peer support for the vital yet sometimes lonely role of board chair.

Board chair/executive director coaching
This five-session, interactive and virtual coaching program is for those who are new in the role of board chair or Executive Director. Topics include strengthening the ED/board chair relationship, board fundraising, and board recruitment. A free membership to BoardSource and a grant of $2500 are available to strengthen governance practices. The sessions are intentionally small and available through application only.

Click here to apply. Applications are due by March 17, 2023.

Dates and times:

All sessions are virtual and will be held from 9:00-10:30 am.

  • March 28
  • Apr 25
  • May 23
  • June 20
  • July 18

Board chair peer learning: successful recruitment strategies
An informal virtual meeting intended to provide peer learning and sharing, designed for nonprofit board chairs.

Date and time:
March 7: 9:00-10:00 am (Live virtual session)

Board chair peer learning: holding engaging and productive board meetings
An informal virtual meeting intended to provide peer learning and sharing, designed for nonprofit board chairs and officers.

Date and time:
May 11: 9:00-10:00 am (Live virtual session)

For new and aspiring board members

Newcomers to board service may attend any of these sessions to learn the basics for success on any nonprofit board. Seasoned board members are also welcome to brush-up on their board skills.

Introduction to nonprofit board service
Participants will learn best practices when it comes to serving on a nonprofit board of directors. This workshop will tackle topics pertaining to board service and will touch on the basic responsibilities every nonprofit board member should know.

Date and time:
March 23: 5:00-6:30 (Live virtual session)

Board Boot Camp
This intensive training program is designed for those considering board service and/or first-time board members. Those under 35 and/or who identify as a person of color are encouraged to register. This program will help participants network with others and build confidence for successful board engagement.

Date and time:
June 3: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm (This is an in-person event.)
Location: Marriott Courtyard Hotel, 32 Exchange Street, Providence, RI

Board fundraising for an all-volunteer organization
This online webinar will focus on development program structure and fundraising strategies for smaller, all-volunteer led organizations that rely heavily on board members for fundraising leadership.

Date and time:
June 8: 5:00-6:30 pm (Live virtual session)

For all boards of directors

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.

Special offering

Newport County nonprofit board recruitment event

Date and time: June 1, 5:30-7:00 pm (This is an in-person event.)
Location: Innovate Newport, 513 Broadway, Newport, RI

  • Do you love your community and feel ready to take a leadership role in transforming our quality of life?
  • Are you looking to expand your skills while working with other passionate leaders?
  • Have you thought about nonprofit board service, but didn’t know how to begin?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please join us for informal networking event on Thursday, June 1, from 5:30-7:00 at the Innovate Newport Center. This event will provide participants with an opportunity to meet board members from local nonprofit organizations seeking new board and/or committee members.

Nonprofits working in youth services, the environment, arts, and other related fields will have board representatives available to talk about their mission, work and impact, as well as the roles and responsibilities of their board members.

This casual opportunity to learn about local nonprofits and meet their board members will feature light refreshments. Admission is free with advance registration. On-site and street parking is available.