During the next five years over 50% of non-profit executive directors plan on retiring. Mentorship and leadership development is a critical need of staff members (in all stages of career) in arts organizations. In Fiscal Year 2006 NPN created the Mentorship and Leadership Initiative (a subset of the Community Fund) to respond to these needs by supporting the personal development of NPN Partner staff as future arts leaders.
The Mentorship and Leadership Initiative gives artist centered organizations time and space for personal renewal, resources to support leadership development and succession in a planned and strategic way, and the ability to create a mechanism for quick and easy access to the intellectual capital inherent in artist centered organizations.
Support is not for institutional infrastructure, but focused on individual leadership within the institution. Funds, up to $5,000 per project, may be used for staff mentorship through staff exchanges, convening multiple staff members from NPN Partner or non-Partner organizations in a workshop setting, or attending conferences. Monies may be used for travel expenses related to the mentorship opportunity, workshop costs, or to pay a mentor. Guidelines are flexible by design, allowing NPN Partners to exercise their creativity in structuring projects.
The MLI is a competitive NPN Partner program; decisions are made by a rotating panel of NPN Partners, board members and staff.
The Mentorship and Leadership Initiative, as part of the Community Fund, is made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency), the MetLife Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and American Express.