The Stronger Nonprofits Initiative (SNI) aims to support nonprofits led by people of color in navigating systemic barriers to accessing capital and real estate opportunities.

About the Program

SNI acknowledges disparities in lending and provides resources and tools to increase capacity and build connections to networks. The program consists of a 14-month curriculum that includes training sessions focused on team-based nonprofit financial management, as well as with peer learning, one-on-one financial coaching, customized real estate consulting, and special networking opportunities. SNI is offered through the Midwest, with cohorts based in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Each cohort is comprised of 3-4 leaders from each of 10 nonprofit organizations that attend all the workshops together and engage in peer learning.

The program includes:

Training & Peer Learning

Bimonthly workshops covering topics such as core financial management, capital access, and real estate strategy. With no more than 10 nonprofits per group, these workshops are also designed to foster peer learning, networking, and ideas sharing.

Coaching & Consulting

One-on-one coaching with financial and real estate professionals focuses on leadership development, facility planning, and long-term organizational change – tailored to address each organization’s specific needs.

Technical Assistance & Access to Capital

Our facility reviews are a big boost for nonprofit leaders who may not have experience leading organizations through a relocation or renovation, and we offer affordable financing for facility projects.

Learn more about SNI's 5-year impact!

How do I apply?

Applications for the Stronger Nonprofits Initiative are now closed. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Applying to SNI:


Complete information is available on the application form, but the basic eligibility requirements are as follows:  

  • 501(c)(3) tax exempt status 
  • Headquartered in Chicago, IL 
  • 2-4 staff/Board members ready and willing to actively participate in a 14-month program, including: 
    • Full-time, paid CEO/Executive Director. Ideally this person identifies as a person of color. 
    • At least 1 other member of the leadership team participating in the program who identifies as a person of color 
Required Documents

As you are submitting your application, please have the following documents ready. You will be able to save your application and come back to complete it at any time.  

  • Organizational chart 
  • Most recently completed audit or financial review 
  • Current year budget 
  • Most recent annual budget versus actuals (and projections through the end of the year, if available) 
Upcoming Information Sessions

There are no upcoming information sessions at this time. Please check back for future opportunities.

SNI Chicago, IL Schedule

The SNI program will include the following full-day Workshops and half-day Special Events, which will take place on Tuesdays:  

  • July 11: Program Orientation 
  • July 25: Financial Resilience 
  • August 1: Role of Capital 
  • August 22: Financial Health and Operational Efficiencies  
  • September 12: Funders Panel 
  • September 26:  Financial Planning 
  • October 10: Role of Facilities  
  • October 24:  Financial Performance Management and Storytelling 
  • November 7: Diversifying Capital 

Before, we were coming up with the budget within the finance department and then funneling it down to the program level. After working with our FMA coach, we start at the program level and feed that up into the budget. We sit with the program directors and hammer out the changing needs of the organization — for example, maybe we’re serving a new population and need an additional employment specialist. The team loves it.

Christa Hamilton, Centers for New Horizons

Why is financial management important for nonprofits?

Carving out the time to step back and strategize is a significant challenge for busy nonprofit leaders besieged with daily demands and unforeseen crises. And if they do find the time, there’s the issue of access — in particular for leaders of color serving communities of color. Implementing a strategy effectively often takes resources that may not be readily available: funding, expertise, and a deep network. That’s why SNI is so important. After completing the program, our hope is that nonprofits will have:

  • Increased financial capacity in the form of staff knowledge and skills, as well as systems and processes
  • Stronger budgeting practices that are inclusive, transparent, team-based, and multi-year
  • Financial resilience, which demands both access to capital to help manage change, as well as the ability to focus long-term while continually addressing current needs.

Special Thanks To