A New Strategic Direction to Build Community

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) is announcing a new strategy that sets forth a purposeful and responsive direction for the organization that is motivated by our vision of the social impact sector as a trusted and valued leader in building community, promoting equity, and advancing the greater good.

The transformational times we have all experienced in the last 18 months caused us to reexamine our role as a champion, learning partner, and advisor in building equitable, thriving, and just communities to make sure we are laser focused on providing impactful and meaningful service. Insights gained from hundreds of diverse thinkers and doers across the social impact sector guided the development of our new strategic plan with a sharpened vision, mission, and values (listed below).

Building on CNE’s strong existing programs and services, like Board Academy, Leadership Circles, our nonprofit help desk, and advocacy to strengthen understanding of and support for the sector, the strategy also introduces new and expanded community-driven work for the organization. This work maintains a focus on strengthening the people and the organizations that build community, while recognizing that there are sector-wide challenges that CNE is uniquely positioned to address. We will foster belonging to promote learning and growth across the sector; raise awareness of sector inequities to identify ways we can strengthen our work together; and activate deeper connections between sector actors to facilitate strategic collaboration.


Equitable, thriving, and just communities powered by healthy nonprofits.


We are a champion, learning partner, and advisor for Virginia nonprofits.



We do and say the things that strengthen the social impact sector, even when they are hard, and we stand with those who bravely build community.


We commit to equitable outcomes at CNE, in the sector, and in the community and will realize them through learning, sharing, skill-building, and action.


We partner across sectors and geographies to achieve more together for the communities we serve than we can on our own.


We are adaptable and forward-thinking, we act with humility, and we strive for learning and growth, not perfection.

CNE’s new strategic direction challenges our organization to make measurable progress on a set of key outcomes in four critical areas that contribute directly to our vision of equitable, thriving, and just communities. Our mission in action is to…

Share Resources

Ensure easy access to curated resources so nonprofits can boost their performance

  1. Reframe CNE programs and services to be more integrated and strategic via 7 Actionable Principles for a Strong Social Sector
  2. Advocate to drive resources to and understanding of the social impact sector by leveraging our collective voices

Foster Belonging

Nurture a sense of belonging among nonprofits so we each can grow together

  1. Across geographies, relationships, and organization types, increase the value of becoming and staying a CNE member
  2. Strengthen understanding of CNE’s responsive work and impact as a learning partner and champion for the sector (especially among organizations that traditionally have not become members)

Redress Inequities

Tackle sector inequities to unleash the full power of nonprofits and communities

  1. Partner with under-represented individuals and organizations in the social impact sector, responding holistically to their needs
  2. Ensure the goal of equity is a part of CNE and nonprofits’ daily work, and help them to align their intentions and impacts with that goal
  3. Raise awareness of how to address sector inequities to create meaningful and lasting systemic change that empowers all community members to thrive

Improve Outcomes

Build sector knowledge and connections that lead to better community outcomes

  1. Invest in measurement, tracking, and reporting on progress to ensure CNE’s impact and outcomes remain responsive and aligned to sector and community needs
  2. Activate and deepen connections between sector actors with aligned missions and goals to drive collective action
  3. Use data, facilitation, and convening to help stakeholders better understand sector challenges and opportunities