The Lab Capacity Building Program

Members of the first cohort of The Lab

The Lab Capacity Building Program provides a hub for established and emerging nonprofit leaders from local nonprofits to innovate and problem-solve. The seven-month program’s curriculum is a rigorous undertaking for cohort participants: Each month, participants attend full-day, in-person sessions to identify and address a specific challenge that has stymied their organization’s ability to increase its community impact.

Learn about the first cohort of The Lab

The Lab was made possible with funding by the Foundation, a County of Sacramento Transient Occupancy Tax grant, the Foundation’s RCA Community Fund, and Blue Shield of California Foundation. It is coordinated through a partnership between the Foundation and Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies.

This grant opportunity is closed.

Please note that the requirements articulated below were developed for a previous round of the grant opportunity. Details for future rounds may differ.

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  • The Lab is a seven-month leadership program intended to accelerate new ideas in the social sector, build nonprofit innovation skills and capacity, and strengthen and support nonprofit leaders so that local communities benefit and thrive.
  • An established leader (typically the Executive Director) and an emerging leader from each participating organization bring with them a challenge that has stymied their organization’s ability to increase its impact, and work collaboratively during the span of the program to resolve it.


  • At monthly facilitated sessions, the leaders from participating nonprofits will help each other identify and pursue actions to bring their ideas to reality.
  • In addition, Executive Directors from the participating nonprofits will receive one-on-one coaching to help process what they learn and determine how to apply it throughout their organizations.
  • Between sessions, participants will be asked to put their plans into action. This allows the participants opportunities to test ideas, better understand their target audience, and gather feedback.

The Lab is designed for organizational leaders who:

  • Are resolved to commit the time and resources required to attend all sessions of The Lab and commit an additional 4-8 hours of work between sessions;
  • Can have their Executive Director and one emerging leader participate fully. (In addition, the Executive Director can select one additional member of his/her staff or board to participate in the innovation curriculum, and that person must make similar commitment to participate fully.)
  • Are ready to take risks, build connections, innovate, and iterate; 
  • Have committed staff members who are open to change and believe that capacity building will further their agency's mission;
  • Have a Board of Directors that recognizes the need for training/program enhancement; and
  • Have tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) and are located in the four-county greater Sacramento region (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties).

We invite you to watch this Informational Webinar to learn more about The Lab and its fit for your organization:


Download the PowerPoint




Application Launch

February 4

Informational Webinar  

February 12 at 11:30 a.m.

Application Deadline

March 2 at 5 p.m. (PST)

In-person Interview

Weeks of March 9 and March 20

Cohort Announcement

March 27

Cohort 2-day Retreat

May 11-12

Monthly Sessions

April - October 2020




For questions about The Lab program, contact Niva Flor, Chief Impact and Strategy Officer at

For technical assistance with the Foundation's grant system, contact