Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals

Jan 10–Apr 29, 2022 $11,250 (Blended)
Questions? Contact Us:
Matthew Harty
Head of Programs in Social Enterprise
[email protected]

2022 program dates are subject to change.

Format: Four week modules over four months from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET View the sample agenda for the blended modular format.
Module Dates:
Module 1: January 10–14, 2022
Module 2: February 14–18, 2022
Module 3: March 14–18, 2022
Module 4: April 25–29, 2022
Admission Deadline:
Friday, October 29, 2021
Please have an updated resume, a personal statement as to why you would like to attend this program at this time in your career, and your organization’s 990 form ready to upload to the application.
Alumni Benefits Granted Learn more.
Tuition assistance may be available.

"This was the best educational experience I've had, bar none."
–  Program Participant Riel Peerblooms, Executive Director at Trail Blazer Camps

Meet Faculty Director Ray Horton and hear from past participants in this introductory video on the program.

Senior-level leaders in the nonprofit sector can sometimes feel isolated, unsure exactly how to create an effective peer network, and, perhaps most importantly, how to receive honest feedback on their vision and leadership.

The Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals provides an answer. A unique and transformative experience, the Senior Leaders Program is designed to help nonprofit leaders successfully develop their organization’s direction, policies, and programs — all while building an invaluable network of other nonprofit leaders.

This highly interactive 20-day program equips senior nonprofit professionals with strategic management and leadership skills. It is an opportunity for leaders who have mission-wide responsibility — people who are influencing the conversation about the organization’s future — to step back, see the big picture, and develop an actionable plan. They are afforded time to think strategically about how to deliver on their organization’s mission, both now and in the future.

Through intensive exercises, faculty interaction, executive coaching, and collaboration with a diverse group of senior-level peers, the program creates a rich learning experience like no other for nonprofit executives and senior leaders. Participants learn to integrate theory and practice, giving them tools that are immediately applicable at their organizations.

The virtual design includes a program orientation and one day intersessions between modules to help facilitate learning integration and real-time application. Download the sample agenda to learn more.

The modular format — four one-week modules over four months — allows for real-time testing of ideas: roll them out over time, track progress, redefine the challenge, and discover the best solution.

Please Contact Us

Please contact Matthew Harty, head of Programs in Social Enterprise, at [email protected] if you have any questions about the program.


At the Senior Leaders Program, our participants are at the very center of the learning experience.

They will start the program with the organizational impact plan. During this process, participants select, clarify, and articulate an organizational challenge they are currently facing and learn how to apply concepts from the program to address it. Hear from the program director on how the organizational impact plan will help participants advance.

Next, they will receive a 360-degree leadership survey during which their peers, direct reports, and managers assess the participant's leadership style. This process enables participants to develop a rich picture of how they are seen, and provides them with the opportunity to enhance their managerial effectiveness. Participants will receive executive coaching during the program to develop a plan that is responsive to their 360-degree feedback.

Finally, participants formulate their leadership credo, a unique opportunity to identify and hone their personal beliefs about leadership and how it relates to their organization’s mission and future.

Throughout the program, participants also learn from their executive cohort, benefitting from an impressive peer group of seasoned professionals who are able to provide different vantage points on their leadership challenges — all while building an invaluable network of nonprofit leaders.


Participants who complete the Senior Leaders Program receive a certificate that grants them select Columbia Business School alumni benefits, including:

  • A 25 percent tuition benefit for themselves and up to four colleagues each year for programs lasting up to seven days
  • Global Columbia Business School alumni networking opportunities
  • Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources, including access to unique career content, a job board, an online networking platform, the alumni directory, and more. Download the full list of resources.
  • A lifetime Columbia Business School forwarding email address
  • Eligibility to join a Columbia Business School alumni club. View the alumni clubs list.


The program takes place in a modular format, with four one-week modules over the course of four months as well as four additional days — a pre-program orientation and one-day intersessions between each module. The modular format allows for real-time testing of learnings and ideas. With the help of faculty and coaches, participants will be able to track their progress, redefine their challenges, and discover the best solutions for their organization.

Hear more about the modular program design from the program director:

For a complete program schedule for this year's virtual format, please download the agenda.


The Senior Leaders Program is designed for upper- and senior-level nonprofit professionals who are responsible for directing their organizations' mission, direction, and policies. Typically, participants include executive directors, deputy and regional directors, and other senior administrators.

Hear from Past Participants:

Typical Participant Mix

Geographic Spread

Years of Non-Profit Management Experience

Operating Revenue

Org. Size (# of employees)

Participants of the program have come from the following organizations:

Bottom Line    Brooklyn Navy Yar    Center for Employment Opportunities
Children's Aid Society    City Harvest    DREAM
East Side House    Goddard Riverside Community Center    Good Shepherd Services
Graham Windham    Lenox Hill Neighborhood House    New Visions for Public School
Sunnyside Community Services    Uncommon Schools    Year Up
Youth Represent


Raymond Horton, Faculty Director
Frank R. Lautenberg Professor of Ethics and Corporate Governance
Bernstein Faculty Leader of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
Faculty Director of the Programs in Social Enterprise

A lawyer and political scientist, Raymond Horton served as executive director of the Temporary Commission on City Finances during the New York City fiscal crisis for two years while on leave from Columbia Business School. He later served as director of research and president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a public advocate of responsible governance and financial management in New York City and New York State, for 15 years. Horton has also served on a number of private and nonprofit boards, including most recently the Municipal Advantage Fund, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and Community Resource Exchange.

The founder and long-time director of Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Program, Horton serves as faculty director of Programs in Social Enterprise in Executive Education. In addition to nonprofit management, he also teaches in the field of modern political economy. His writings include numerous books, articles, and reports about state and local finance and politics.

The Program's Faculty Bench

Hear from the program director about the faculty's interest in the nonprofit sector and how faculty and participants learn from each other during the program:

Along with Professor Horton, additional Columbia Business School and Columbia University faculty contribute to and teach in the program, including:

Daniel AmesDaniel Ames
Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Business


Modupe AkinolaModupe Akinola
Associate Professor of Management; Faculty Director of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics


Joann BaneyJoann Baney
Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs


Adam GalinskyAdam Galinsky
Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics


Paul IngramPaul Ingram
Kravis Professor of Business


Damon PhillipsDamon Phillips
Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise


William PietersenWilliam Pietersen
Professor of the Practice of Management


Valerie Purdie GreenawayValerie Purdie Greenaway
Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University


Medini R. SinghMedini Singh
Senior Lecturer in Discipline in Business


Dan WangDan Wang
David W. Zalaznick Associate Professor of Business


Chris WashburneChris Washburne
Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology



1. What is the timing of the admission process?
Applications are reviewed the week following the application due date. Admission and scholarship decisions will be made to curate this year’s cohort, and decision notifications will be made to all participants via email.

2. Where does the program take place?
Weeks 1, 3 and 4 will occur on the Columbia University campus in New York City. Week 2 will be a live online format. Participants will not need to travel to Columbia for week 2 and need to be able to engage in sessions via the Zoom platform.

3. What is the program schedule?
The program runs one week per month across four months. The program schedule is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET when on-campus and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during our Week 2's virtual format. In case of national, city or university restrictions due to the current pandemic, four additional dates have been scheduled should we need to transition to a fully virtual program. Please save these dates on your calendars.

4. Is financial assistance available?
As a part of our commitment to the nonprofit sector, the Programs in Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School Executive Education offer three types of tuition assistance. Though tuition assistance is not guaranteed, we do our best to provide financial support whenever possible. Applicants can only receive one form of tuition assistance; they cannot be combined. Upon acceptance to the program, applicants will be notified of the amount of tuition assistance they are being awarded.

In addition to the full criteria listed on the 2022 PSE tuition assistance guidelines download, please note the following:

  • Applicants must be full-time employees of a nonprofit or social enterprise
  • Applicants must apply and be accepted into the program before tuition assistance is determined
  • Scholarships are allocated on a sliding scale, based on the need of the organization
  • Full scholarships are not available
  • Applicants can only receive one form of tuition assistance; they cannot be combined

Please review the complete 2022 PSE tuition assistance guidelines before requesting tuition assistance.

5. Who typically attends the program?
The program is designed for senior nonprofit leaders responsible for the mission and strategy of their organization.

6. How many people attend the program?
The program typically has between 40 and 50 participants.

7. Do you accept non-US applicants?
We welcome applicants from around the world. Applicants should be sufficiently proficient in English both verbally and in writing at a graduate-school level.

8. Do I receive a certificate at the end of the program?
Everyone who successfully completes the program receives the Certificate in Business Excellence, granting select Columbia Business School alumni benefits. Learn more about the benefits here.

9. Where can I find more information?
Learn more about the program and get answers to commonly asked questions in this recorded information session, which includes insights on how we've translated the in-person program to a virtual format for 2021.

10. I still have questions. How can I find help?
Please contact Matthew Harty, head of Programs in Social Enterprise, at [email protected] if you have any open questions.