In the late 1990’s the county’s public benefit organizations began to explore ways to strengthen themselves and their sector. A needs analysis by the county’s nonprofit executive directors was undertaken in October of 2002 and resulted in fourteen organizations deciding to create an “informal collaborative” in April, 2003. They called it the Center for Nonprofit Leadership (CNL). CNL’s founding purpose was to provide high quality, low priced programs and services to which nonprofit governing boards and executive directors can turn for continuing education and development.

Since its founding in 2003, CNL has sponsored numerous workshops for 48 member nonprofit organizations. Workshops have been supplemented by informal “best practices exchanges” and periodic coaching/mentoring of individual nonprofit organizations.

Workshop themes have ranged widely: strategic planning, fund raising, finance, board recruitment and evaluation, building successful boards, board president/executive director relations, planning and conducting effective board meetings, recruiting and training volunteers.

The success of CNL programming, combined with the need for public benefit organizations to continue strengthening their performance in serving Nevada County, led the CNL Leadership Team to undertake comprehensive strategic planning in 2007.