A once-in-a-lifetime leadership opportunity for NFP CEOs

Good leadership is crucial for NFPs to succeed.

That’s why four major Australian foundations have just announced a collaboration to create a national capacity-building and leadership program for CEOs in Australian not-for-profit (NFP) organisations.

The Social Impact Leadership Australia program (SILA) is a five-year, $9 million program, and will be delivered by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI).

SILA is an evidence-based program specifically developed to meet the needs of Australian CEOs and build the capacity of their organisations directly and indirectly.

Open for up to 24 selected CEOs, SILA will run for 10 months from July 2021 to May 2022, and is available to participants from NSW and the ACT. (Year two will be open to VIC and TAS as well).

The Myer Foundation, the Sidney Myer Fund, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Paul Ramsay Foundation have collaborated to fund SILA and in doing so unlock leadership potential to improve the wellbeing of Australians.

The program was created by a collective desire on the part of the funders to support NFP leaders to build their capacity, positively influence their organisations, and create a strategic network of NFP leaders across the country.

Leonard Vary, CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, said that the idea stemmed from the recognition of a damaging and persistent lack of investment in the leadership of the NFP sector in Australia.

“We’re inspired by the success of programs in the United States, supported by foundations which see the value of investment in building the capacity of NFP leaders.” Mr Vary said.

“Beyond mere professional development, SILA is a powerful way to influence whole organisations, while ensuring the next tier of leaders is ready to take the reins and lead for social impact.”

One third of participants for the program will be drawn from rural and regional areas, a focus that Jenny Wheatley, CEO of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation said was “exciting and important”.

“It is critical that we develop a truly national program. By broadening our reach in this way, we are ensuring we will be available to a diverse group of leaders and organisations from across Australia.” Mrs Wheatley added.

The program will be delivered by the Centre for Social Impact, a leader in social impact education.  Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of CSI described the program as “visionary” and applauded the collaboration.

“We know that people are an organisation’s most important asset, and we know that there is persistent underinvestment in the professional development of NFP leaders.” Professor Muir said. “This program helps change that.”

The cutting-edge program design is based on international best practice and covers leadership of the self, the organisation, and the system. SILA includes a series of immersive learning experiences, a tailored 3-month sabbatical, one-on-one coaching, and dedicated organisational capacity building support. The curriculum is delivered during three retreats by a faculty of leading academics and practitioners.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for participation in the SILA program, the following criteria must be met:

  1. You are the CEO of a for-purpose organisation (for e.g. a not-for-profit, charity or social enterprise).
  2. You have demonstrable senior management experience in the for-purpose sector and have been in your current CEO role for a minimum of one year.
  3. Your organisation has an annual revenue greater than $1m.
  4. You are an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident and you are personally based in NSW or the ACT.
  5. You are available and have your organisation’s support (including from your Board Chair) to attend on the program dates published, including a three-month sabbatical.
  6. You have a 2IC or step-up leader/s in place to support you.

How to Apply

Click through to the SILA website for full details of how to apply, and access to the application form.

Applications for the July 2021 intake opened on 5 February and will close on 7 May 2021.

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