Nonprofit Leadership Circles

Nonprofit leaders, whose jobs in the best of times can be challenging, are especially stretched in these tough times. There has been a growing demand by nonprofit executives for opportunities to develop stronger ties with other leaders to establish a network of peers to confide in, depend on, support, and grow with. The Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management offers Wisconsin nonprofit leaders a unique coaching and learning network.

The Nonprofit Leadership Circles program facilitates discussions, peer coaching, mentoring, support, resources, and relationships. This Program will give nonprofit leaders the extra support they need to address the challenging issues they face regularly.

Based on an internationally known process called Action Learning, each Nonprofit Leadership Circle comprises 6-10 nonprofit leaders committed to supporting one another. A trained and experienced facilitator helps participants identify goals and resolve individual challenges using the Circle. Discussions in the circles are confidential, supportive, and focused on learning and action. 

Participants typically meet once a month to:

  1. Share insights and materials.
  2. Support and challenge each other.
  3. Develop and keep action plans on track.


Nonprofit Leadership Circles aim to:

  • Focuses on the needs of nonprofit Executive Directors, Emerging Leaders & HR Managers, offering support to the top-level oversight of nonprofit organizations of various sizes and missions.
  • Build relationships among leaders who may not always have the opportunity to work together and reduce feelings of isolation and “loneliness at the top”
  • Promote emotional and moral support uniquely found in a safe and confidential setting with emphatic peers and provide a greater depth of learning through resonance and reflections from the peer group members.
  • Provide an opportunity for information and resource sharing, professional development, and skill-building
  • Foster leadership development by providing a structure for pursuing goals that include accountability and expanded across to learning resources via peer group members
  • Tap wisdom from each other’s experiences and expertise rather than outside experts.




Like other Leadership Circle programs, participants will meet monthly in groups of 6-10 facilitated by an experienced coach for ten months throughout the year. Circle participants complete a brief application to help match individual leaders to a cohort of leaders with similar leadership responsibilities and life and work experiences. The number of Circles convened will be based on overall completed registrations.

There is a required annual membership fee of $300/year per participant.

Applications accepted May 1 – July 1, 2023

2022-2023 Member Organizations

  • Adaptive Community Approach Program
  • Adoption Choice, Inc.
  • Alliance Française de Milwaukee
  • Arts @ Large
  • ArtWorks for Milwaukee
  • Autism Society SE WI
  • Bay View Community Center
  • Benedict Center
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Broadscope Disability Services
  • Bublr Bikes
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Inc.
  • Centro Legal
  • City Year Milwaukee
  • COA Youth & Family Centers
  • Community Smiles Dental
  • Conservancy for Healing and Heritage
  • Crivitz Youth, Inc.
  • Danceworks, Inc
  • Ex Fabula
  • Goodman Community Center
  • Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation
  • Independence First
  • J. K. Lee City Youth Martial Arts Program
  • Jewish Family Services, Inc.
  • Kathy’s House
  • Kindred MKE
  • Life Navigators
  • Living Our Visions Inc.
  • Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan, Inc.
  • Menomonee Valley Partners
  • Milwaukee Christian Center
  • Milwaukee Justice Center
  • NAMI Racine County
  • Newcap, Inc.
  • Penfield Children’s Center
  • Pierce County GrassRoots Organizing
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern WI
  • Safe & Sound
  • Silver Spring Neighborhood Center
  • Sophia Transformative Leadership Partners
  • St. Francis Children’s Center
  • The Difference Principle
  • The Friendship Circle, Inc.
  • The Gathering of Southeast WI, Inc.
  • The Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee
  • United Methodist Children’s Services (UMCS)
  • United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee
  • Walker’s Point Center for the Arts
  • Washington Island Community Health Program (WICHP)
  • Waukesha Civic Theatre
  • Waukesha Free Clinic
  • Wellpoint Care Network
  • Wisconsin Humane Society
  • Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance
  • World Council of Credit Unions
  • YWCA Southeast Wisconsin

Questions? Contact Bryce Lord, Associate Director, Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management, at or (414) 229-3176.