For Leaders

LGBT San Francisco Community LYRIC

Horizons has long understood that organizations advocating for and serving the LGBT community need more than just grant funds to carry out their missions. They also need strong leaders with the skills, knowledge, and connections to lead their organizations.

For more than 15 years, Horizons has offered a variety of programs to support LGBT leaders. These have included the long-running Strategic Partnership Program and the groundbreaking Rickey Williams Leader Fellowship program  for young leaders of color.

Currently, Horizons sponsors two programs for LGBT leaders, one for executive directors, and one for leaders of LGBT boards of directors: 

For executive directors


LGBT San Francisco Community Kate KendellHorizons sponsors monthly convenings among the executive directors of 15 LGBT (and LGBT-friendly) Bay Area nonprofit organizations. The convenings provide unique opportunities for executive directors to discuss commonly-encountered issues, problem-solve with one another, and build strong ties among nonprofits serving our community.

Each December, executive directors who have not been involved in the convenings can join for the following year. (If an executive director comes on board during the year, they are welcome to join then, without waiting for December.) If you have any questions, contact Roger Doughty, Executive Director,

Participating organizations have included:

  • API Equality — Northern California
  • Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center
  • Larkin Street Youth Services
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
  • Pacific Center
  • Pets Are Wonderful Support
  • Positive Resource Center
  • Project Inform
  • Project Open Hand
  • Queer Life Spaces
  • Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa
  • San Francisco AIDS Foundation
  • San Francisco LGBT Community Center 

For board leaders


learn_croppedEach year since 2011, Horizons Foundation has hosted an annual series of three convenings designed specifically and exclusively for leaders of boards of directors of LGBT organizations. Since then, more than 50 board leaders from over 25 LGBT nonprofits have participated.

The goals of each convening are to:

  1. Allow board leaders of LGBT organizations to meet and network with peers
  2. Provide expert and peer training on specific skills relevant to board work
  3. Offer a chance for board leaders of LGBT nonprofits to learn about the community and its needs, issues, and organizations

Past topics have included financial oversight skills for board members, evaluating the executive director, fundraising for boards, and fundamentals of board governance.

The convenings are funded in part by the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, to whom Horizons is most grateful.

Board leadership convenings

The 2015 series of sessions will be announced soon. 

The 2014 series included the following:

Session One: What kind of board does my organization need?

July 23, 2014

Boards play different roles at different life stages of organizations. What’s critical when a nonprofit is small and new isn’t necessarily what’s needed when it’s grown. What are the different kinds of boards? How can you tell what kind of board you need? What does it mean to become a “fundraising board”? What do changes in board roles mean for the board’s relationship with the ED?

Special guest: this session was led by Robert Glavin, who has more than 30 years of experience in teaching about, working with, and developing scores of nonprofit boards in a wide variety of areas. 

Session Two: How can my organization develop and maintain a diverse board?

September 18, 2014

Many nonprofit boards in our community share a strong commitment to having their boards reasonably representative of the communities they serve. Yet many boards struggle with translating their commitment into reality. Experts in this area will join us to help participants in the convening in developing/maintaining diversity, including good practices for recruitment, on-boarding, retention, and exiting of board members.

Session Three: What will our community look like in 20 years?

November 6, 2014

We all know that the LGBT movement has unprecedented momentum and that there remains a long way to go before all LGBT people truly enjoy equality, justice, and dignity. This session posed questions like, where do we see the LGBT community in 20 years? What will be its challenges and needs? What might these changes mean for LGBT nonprofit organizations?

Tim Sweeney, immediate past president of the Gill Foundation, long-time leader in the HIV/AIDS and LGBT movements, and one of our movement’s strongest strategists and thinkers, framed and led this discussion.

To participate (and ask any questions)

If you would like to participate, please notify Nikole Pagan, Horizons’ Administrative Manager at 415.398.2333, ext. 100 or If organizational executive directors have any questions, please feel free to contact Roger Doughty, Horizons’ Executive Director, at

Past Leadership Programs

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If you choose to include our LGBT Community Endowment Fund in your plans, your generosity will be felt for generations to come. 

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