NeighborWorks America opens application window for Achieving Excellence program

Dec 09, 2013, 10:15 ET from NeighborWorks America

Nonprofit executives encouraged to apply for program delivered in partnership with Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NeighborWorks America is accepting applications from nonprofit executives for its next class of Achieving Excellence, an 18-month intensive program where leaders tackle individual business challenges that when met will position their organizations to thrive and better serve their communities. There are 50 open seats in the 2014-2016 Achieving Excellence program. Almost 300 have graduated from the program since its launch in 2002. Applications are due to NeighborWorks America by March 26, 2014.

The executives meet three times over the 18 months at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, a program partner, and also in groups and individually with nationally known executive coaches.

NeighborWorks America is one of the nation's largest nonprofit community development corporations and the trainer of more nonprofit professionals annually than any other organization through its NeighborWorks Training Institute, place-based training programs and on-line course offering, including a virtual classroom platform where students interact directly with their instructors.

Achieving Excellence graduates have improved their ability to deliver affordable housing products, enhanced their fund raising performance, expanded into new lines of business including mortgage lending and real estate development, and reduced debt while improving community services. One Achieving Excellence class identified nearly $500 million of new capital leveraged by their organizations, which they attributed at least in part to what they learned in the program, for a $300:$1 return on investment.

"The NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program has been transformational for both me and our organization. The combination of practical tools, personal coaching, professors who are experts in our field and networking with other housing colleagues creates a learning environment I've never experienced before," said current participant Tim Bete, executive vice president of St. Mary Development Corporation in Dayton, Ohio. "I have an MBA from a top-20 business school. But I have to be honest — I've learned more during the first two weeks at Harvard than I did in two years of grad school. The key difference is having a performance challenge around which all learning hinges."

Consider the results of an evaluation of the most recent Achieving Excellence graduating class:

  • 72% reported increases in total assets attributable to AE
  • 73% reported increases in income generated
  • 78% reported increases in the number of clients served
  • 100% indicated either significant or profound improvement in staffing; innovation; overall organizational performance; and leadership development of others within the organization
  • 77% reported significant improvement in staff morale
  • 76.9% reported significant improvement in community results
  • 100% reported significant improvement in organizational coherence; innovation; and a focus on outcomes

"I have worked directly with dozens of graduates of the Achieving Excellence program and seen how they are indelibly, positively transformed—moving from local leaders of great organizations to national leaders in the field. More importantly, every single one of their organizations has been transformed in fundamental and positive ways," said George McCarthy, Director of The Ford Foundation's Metropolitan Opportunity work. "I consider AE to be the best executive training program for community development in the country, if not the world. It has produced a cadre of national leaders who are profoundly shaping the future of our field."

The current class of Achieving Excellence will graduate at a ceremony in Los Angeles at the NeighborWorks Training Institute February 24-28.  Past graduates of Achieving Excellence have come from almost all states. To find out if there is a past graduate in your community, go to or or contact NeighborWorks America media relations at

For an application or for more information, please go to

About NeighborWorks America
For 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

SOURCE NeighborWorks America