Board Trainings

Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders is an interactive and innovative program that prepares younger professionals from across all sectors to serve as nonprofit board members, committee members, and/or skilled volunteers.

Program Goals

  • Create a network of resourceful young leaders. Participants establish strong and lasting relationships that are personally and professionally beneficial and founded on a shared commitment to the common good.
  • Prepare young professionals for board, committee and skilled volunteer positions with local nonprofit organizations. Research shows that younger leaders are underrepresented on nonprofit boards, and boards report challenges in identifying and attracting young leaders. Over the past nine years the program has connected more than 200 young professionals with more than 100 community organizations!
  • Develop young professionals’ sustained commitment to their communities. Studies also show that young leaders who are actively involved in their communities are two to three times more likely to stay and contribute to the economy and well-being of our state.
“Regardless of whether you were familiar with the nonprofit sector or had served on a board, it was an empowering experience that made me (and everyone else I spoke with) feel prepared to serve in a board capacity. Beyond that, the opportunity to meet and collaborate with such an impressive group of peers was amazing and filled me with optimism for the future of local nonprofits and our community.” -Emerging Leaders Graduate, 2016

Program Format

Each year approximately 25 applicants are accepted to complete the program, which takes place between September and December and includes mix of program formats. Led by skilled facilitators, guest experts, and leaders in the nonprofit field, the curriculum weaves together leadership skill development, training on board roles and responsibilities, and connections to service opportunities within Maine’s diverse nonprofit community.

After a year on pause, MANP will be holding a program in 2021! We are piloting a schedule that includes both in person and virtual programming. The program has been designed with special sensitivity to the schedules of people who are often juggling many personal and professional commitments. Virtual sessions will be recorded for additional flexibility.

Download the Emerging Leaders 2021 Program Overview, which includes a tentative schedule. 

“The Emerging Leaders program reshaped the way I contribute to my community and to my workplace. The program not only showed me how I could make a difference as a board member of a nonprofit organization, but it also connected me with a network of inspiring, civic-minded peers. I am so grateful for the knowledge I gained, the leadership skills I built, and the friends I made during this program.”  ~Emerging Leaders Graduate, 2019

Apply to Participate

Everyone who applied to the 2020 program can be reconsidered for the 2021 program without having to submit a new application. MANP will be in touch with these applicants directly. MANP is still determining if any new applications will be considered.

  • By June 11 – Applicants deferred from 2020 confirm whether they would like to be considered.
  • By June 30 – Based on the response from deferred applicants, MANP will determine if we will accept any additional applications for the 2021 class.  Update: we will not be accepting new applicants for the 2021 class, but if you would like to be added to a list to be notified about future programs, please email Molly O’Connell at moconnell@nonprofitmaine.org.
  • By July 30 – All applicants will be notified whether they have been accepted to the program.
  • Week of September 20: Program Kick Off

Be a Nonprofit Match

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials. Younger nonprofit board and committee members add vital diversity to nonprofit boards. They bring different perspectives, ask fresh questions, and can provide new skill sets. Yet, according to BoardSource, younger leaders are often underrepresented on nonprofit boards. Emerging Leaders is focused on reversing that trend.

The Emerging Leaders Program has traditionally including a board matching component. In 2021, MANP is piloting a new approach to facilitating connections between Emerging Leaders graduates and board or committee service. We will not be selecting a limited pool of organizations as potential matches, but we will be asking nonprofits interested in having their information shared with Emerging Leaders graduates to complete a form.

Contact Molly O’Connell at moconnell@nonprofitmaine.org if you would like to hear more about this opportunity once information is available.


We welcome the support of corporate and philanthropic partners, who make it possible to keep program fees affordable and to provide scholarships to ensure cost is not a barrier to participation. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to MANP’s Marketing + Development Manager, Kelly McCormack, at kmccormack@nonprofitmaine.org.

Program History

Emerging Leaders launched in 2010 as Young Emerging Leaders and was seed-funded by Norton Insurance and Financial with WEX sponsorship. The Emerging Leaders program has now connected more than 200 young professionals with more than 100 community organizations in Maine. After eight years with Lift360, the Emerging Leaders Program moved to MANP beginning in 2018.