Inspiration & Strategies for Nonprofit Management

The Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (Institute), through Cascade Executive Programs and the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy at the University of Washington Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, offers nonprofit executives a six-day professional development program to enhance their strategic and visionary thinking.

Nonprofit leaders like you are facing a climate of continuous change, with new opportunities and challenges surfacing on a daily basis. There is rarely time for reflection or renewal to critically assess and capitalize on these internal and external forces while simultaneously enhancing the stability and effectiveness of your organization.


Benefits of the Institute include:

  • Engaging in an examination of your own leadership skills and effectiveness
  • Gaining a renewed passion for nonprofit work
  • Learning new management techniques through university-quality instruction
  • Developing a network of peers in the Pacific Northwest to support you in the years to come
  • Building visionary leadership to implement strategic planning
  • Using financial management to enhance the decision-making process

Participants who complete the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute will receive a Certificate of Completion.


Logistics, Preparation, and Schedule

Institute Format and Lodging

  • Given the immersive and retreat setting of the institute, it is a residential format. Class sessions will be held in Parrington Hall on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington.
  • Reservations for single occupancy rooms will be made for all participants at a nearby hotel, and lodging is included in tuition.
  • Since the design of the Institute is in-residence and intensive, all participants, including those within reasonable commuting distance, are expected to stay in residence throughout the Institute.
  • Participants who have a hardship that makes them unable to stay in residence for the entire course week should contact Cascade staff at Every participant is expected to attend all Institute sessions, and participate with unscheduled group project time and personal application/reflection time in the evenings and early mornings throughout the course week.
  • Most meals are included in tuition: morning refreshments, full lunch, and afternoon snack are provided each day of the course; dinners are provided on Sunday and Tuesday, and heavy appetizers provided at the Thursday evening reception. The caterer can accommodate most dietary restrictions.

Institute Preparation

Potential NELI applicants should take into account the preparation required in the weeks leading up to the Institute. 

  • Application: The priority application deadline is Monday, February 1 (online application). Prospective participants are encouraged to apply by this priority deadline for a better chance of securing a space in the course. Application review will be completed after the February 1st priority application deadline. Applications received after February 1 will be considered on a space-available basis. Time required: 30–45 minutes
  • 360 Leadership Assessment: Each participant will complete an online self-assessment as well as solicit assessments from at least seven of their supervisors, direct reports, and other colleagues. Time required: 2–4 hours 
  • Leadership Challenge Exercise: Each participant will articulate a leadership/management challenge they would like to focus on throughout the course. These challenges are submitted in writing to the Lead Instructor before the Institute. Time required: 1–2 hours
  • Organizational Capacity Assessment (optional) – Each participant is invited to complete an assessment of their current organization to reference throughout the Institute. Time required: 45–60 minutes
  • Pre-reading: The course binder (which is mailed to participants in late February/early March) contains case studies and articles that participants are expected to read prior to attending the Institute. Time required: 8–14 hours depending on reading speed


For more information about the Institute, contact us at or 206.685.0523.