Virginia’s Premier Board Development Program

Elevate your impact! Board Academy prepares community members for board and committee service in nonprofits, municipal government, and community organizations. In doing so, CNE builds the capacity of our community to effectively meet future challenges by creating an ever-expanding web of trained, committed board members.

Who should apply to Board Academy?

  • Service-oriented community members curious about serving on a nonprofit board
  • Community leaders interested in board service
  • New/less-experienced board members
  • Experienced board members

Board Academy is open both to those new to board service as well as more experienced board members. We strongly encourage younger emerging leaders and those from historically underrepresented communities to apply.

Why should you apply to Board Academy?

Participants become more effective board members by:

  • Gaining a strong understanding of board governance in the nonprofit sector,
  • Honing their collaborative skills, and
  • Preparing them to address the systemic inequities ingrained in nonprofit organizations and institutions.

When should you apply to Board Academy?

The application deadline for 2024 has passed.


Through a series of interactive workshops, Board Academy will take you beyond the basics of board roles and responsibilities to give you an in-depth understanding of the board’s role in:

  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Philanthropy
  • Collaboration
  • Community Engagement & Advocacy
  • Board Recruitment & Onboarding

The structure of the program emphasizes:

  • Current trends in governance and the nonprofit sector
  • The application of concepts through practical examples and case studies
  • Individualized, independent projects
  • Creating a community of peers

As a Board Academy graduate, you’ll be given opportunities to further your learning through mentorships, group coaching, fellowships, and access to our community of over 200 Board Academy alumni.

Photos by Eze Amos

Program Schedule for 2024

Board Academy 2024 will take place from late January to late May, requiring five immersive full-day in-person workshops and four virtual evening sessions. See full calendar here.  Active participation in Board Academy requires a time commitment for learning and engagement, and we ask that applicants be willing to commit to attending all scheduled sessions.

The successful completion of Board Academy entails a time investment of over 40 hours across a 16-week period. This will be facilitated through five dynamic full-day workshops held in-person in Charlottesville, and an additional six mock board meetings conducted online.  Between meetings, participants will complete assigned readings and activities and engage in individual self-reflection.


Tuition and Financial Support

The cost for participation is $1,600 for CNE members and $2,500 for nonmembers.

CNE offers substantial need-based scholarships. Scholarship applications are evaluated on an individual basis after participants have been selected. Scholarship applicants can also apply for an additional childcare subsidy.

We strongly believe that diversity of experience contributes to strong board leadership. We actively encourage anyone interested in serving their community to consider applying for Board Academy.


American Sign Language interpreters or other communication access accommodations are available upon request. Please submit any accommodations requests to CNE at or 434-244-3330.


Do you know someone else who would benefit from this program? Submit a nomination!

2022 Press Release: CNE Announces Revamped Board Academy


Contact Senior Manager of Learning & Impact, Brian Ullman.