Leadership & Professional Development

Nonprofits are at their best when supported by a thriving workforce. Addressing the widespread underinvestment in our sector’s talented professionals, Parsons invests in a range of activities designed to connect leaders with professional development opportunities and underwrite their participation. Prioritizing organizations led by and serving communities of color, and mindful of individual, team, and organization-wide needs among all nonprofits, the Foundation’s talent investment initiatives include: the Parsons Fellows program for nonprofit executives and Bridgespan programs for leadership teams. Stay tuned for more.

“As a Parsons Fellow, the Stanford Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders helped me dramatically shift my leadership mindset. Instead of leading like a concertmaster, I came away with skills to lead as the conductor.”

– Varina Bleil


Parsons Fellows

Launched in 2009, the Parsons Fellows initiative invites a small cohort of local leaders annually to participate in leadership development programs equipping them with tools and connections to drive impact for LA County communities. Past Fellows have attended the Stanford Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders, an intensive residency-based program during which participants study with Business School faculty and connect with a global network of nonprofit leaders.

The Foundation invites prospective Fellows to apply to the program directly via a competitive process led by Stanford. Upon acceptance to the program, participants receive a Parsons grant covering full tuition and travel expenses. For more information, please contact the Foundation.


“The programs you fund are only as good as the people who envision, develop, oversee, lead, implement, and sustain them day after day, year after year.”Fund The People

Bridgespan Programs

In 2020, Parsons partnered with social impact consulting firm The Bridgespan Group, along with Ballmer Group and The Rose Hills Foundation, to provide professional development opportunities for LA County nonprofit leaders. Designed with teams in mind, the initiative was established in response to consistent grantee feedback highlighting the need for additional professional development support.

Bridgespan’s Leading for Impact (LFI) program provides project-based training, consulting, and coaching to help nonprofits clarify strategy and improve overall effectiveness. LFI has served hundreds of organizations and thousands of leaders in cities across the country, assembling cohorts of 8 to 10 nonprofit organizations for executive team development and project-based training over two years. Bridgespan’s shorter-term Leadership Accelerator programs offer lessons, structured discussions, and additional resources for executive teams to engage in new projects and further strategies, team development, and organizational effectiveness. Prospective participants are identified by the initiative’s local funding partners, and their participation is contingent upon further conversations with Bridgespan to assess needs and program fit. Program costs are substantially subsidized by funding partners. For more information, please contact the Foundation.

We’re a responsive grant maker, helping LA County organizations do their best work.