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 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 regular, guided sessions to identify and address a specific challenge that has stymied their organization’s ability to increase its community impact.

Learn more about The Lab

The Lab is coordinated through a partnership between the Foundation and Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies. It is offered at no-cost to the nonprofit leaders who participate.

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 help each other identify and pursue actions to bring their ideas to reality.
  • In addition, Executive Directors from the participating nonprofits receive one-on-one coaching to help process what they learn and determine how to apply it throughout their organizations.
  • Between sessions, participants 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 organizations that:

  • Can have their Executive Director and one emerging leader participate fully, and both leaders are resolved to commit the time and resources required to attend all sessions of The Lab and an additional 4-8 hours of work between sessions;
  • 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).

Please visit the link below to view the recording of the informational webinar, held on February 11, to learn more about The Lab and its fit for your organization.


All meetings of The Lab's 2021 cohort will be held virtually. Due to time limitations, the dates below are non-negotiable and applicants who make it to the interview stage must be available for interviews as scheduled.



Informational Webinar  

February 11 (Watch Recording)

Application Launch

February 12

Application Deadline

March 8 at 5 p.m. (PST)

In-person Interview

Weeks of March 15 and March 22

Cohort Announcement

March 29

Monthly Sessions

May to November 2021

Applications to The Lab Capacity Building Program are accepted on our grants portal. Please use the link below to apply.


For questions about The Lab program, contact Monica Haulman, Program Manager, Impact Strategies, at

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