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The Nonprofit Academy

David Graham at The Nonprofit Academy

The Nonprofit Academy 
Upcoming Session: May 31-June 1, 2018 | University of San Diego

An award-winning partnership between the City of San Diego and The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, The Nonprofit Academy is a free, two-day training program designed to strengthen the effective management and organizational capacity of nonprofits in San Diego.

The goal of The Nonprofit Academy is not only to grow existing nonprofits but also to increase the quantity, quality and diversity of nonprofits competing for City contracts to perform valuable social services.

The Nonprofit Academy, which is offered twice a year at USD's School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), supports nonprofit organizations in their development of effective and sustainable processes by providing:

  • High quality educational courses taught by leading experts in nonprofit management and research
  • Personalized office hours
  • Information on how to partner with the City and apply for City grants
  • Networking opportunity with other local nonprofits
  • Organizations that complete all core courses receive a certificate of completion

The Nonprofit Academy Curriculum

Core Courses Sample Elective Courses
Program Design and Development Volunteerism
Organizational Leadership and Governance Nonprofit Governance and Contract Compliance
Budgeting and Finance Financial Basics

Evaluation and Impact

Social Innovation and Human Centered Design
Developing Strategy Partnering with the City


The City is seeking attendance from IRS-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations providing services within the City of San Diego and may have an interest in applying for City grants. Organizations should plan to attend both days of the academy.


Enrollment for the upcoming session of The Nonprofit Academy (May 31 to June 2, 2018) will begin on April 23, 2018. Please add your name and contact information to the CDBG email distribution list to be notified of when the enrollment link is released. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Partnering With the CityPartnering WIth the City and The Nonprofit Academy

The City of San Diego encourages The Nonprofit Academy attendees to apply for City grants. The City’s Economic Development Department and Commission of Arts and Culture fund eligible local nonprofits with missions and projects that enhance our economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for San Diegans.

The Economic Development Department has a competitive application process to award funding through both its Community Development Division (CDD) and its Business Expansion, Attraction and Retention Division (BEAR).

  • CDD administers the City’s entitlement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. To learn more about CDBG, please visit the City’s Community Development Division site or email questions to [email protected].
  • BEAR provides Economic Development Funding through Economic Development and Tourism Support (EDTS) and Citywide Economic Development Support (CEDS), which allocate Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue to promote San Diego as a business and leisure destination; and the Small Business Enhancement Program (SBEP), which support efforts Citywide and in Microdistricts. For questions, please email [email protected].

The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture offers funding opportunities to arts and culture nonprofit organizations. For information regarding its opportunities, please visit the Funding for Arts and Culture Nonprofits section of the Commission for Arts and Culture site.


The Nonprofit Academy Highlights IEDC Gold The Nonprofit Academy

  • The City of San Diego Economic Development Department won a 2017 Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for The Nonprofit Academy, a project in the category of Partnership with Educational Institutions of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Sept. 19 during the IEDC Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (PDF icon Read the press release.)
  • In December 2017, the IEDC Journal profiled The Nonprofit Academy. PDF icon Read the article, "The Nonprofit Academy in San Diego: Building Strong Nonprofits to Drive Economic Development," on Page 37.

The Nonprofit Academy Successes

About 150 attendees representing 100 nonprofits participate in each academy. In post-academy surveys, 75 percent of respondents indicated they had better understanding of City funding opportunities, and 70 percent had taken steps to implement new practices.

Qualified CDBG applicants increased 33 percent from FY2017 to FY2018. Of 33 nonprofits awarded FY2018 grants, 14 were Nonprofit Academy participants, including Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI).

Founded in 1995, JCNI aims to revitalize Southeastern San Diego through programming focusing on physical redevelopment, education-to-careers training and the local economy. In FY2017, it received $276,334 in CDBG and leveraged funding for its Writerz Blok Youth Workforce Training Program (below), which provides an intensive, employer-informed, “earn and learn” program that prepares disconnected youth/young adults for employment through education, design-sector skills training and work experience. Graffiti, with Writerz Blok, is being used to transform the streets of blight into promise for a community.    

Writerz Blok at Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation


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