Learning Cohorts & Social Innovation

A cohort model that works with groups of organizations that share similar capacity needs.

Learning & Innovation

Today’s complex social challenges demand innovative responses. At The Forbes Funds, we believe that innovation is often born at the margins of our efforts and organizations: in non-traditional or collective approaches, emerging technologies, and cross-disciplinary partnerships.

Whether done individually or in groups, mentorship & coaching are catalysts for learning. These engagements helps nonprofit executives pursue goals in the service of their organizations’ mission. The Forbes Funds takes a practical approach to learning & education, acting as a platform and catalyst to encourage the development of tools, models, and approaches that positively impact large numbers of organizations and by extension the communities they serve. 

Learning Cohorts

The Forbes Funds offers various cohorts throughout the year to support nonprofit professionals. Some cohort offerings continue year over year, others are rapidly designed to respond to an arising sector challenge or opporutnity. 

Learning Circles

Throughout the year, The Forbes Funds designs various Learning Circles to support peer groups of nonprofit professionals as they strengthen their leadership capacity. Circles are learning-centered and action-oriented, and through this shared experience, participants form bonds that deepen support, learning, and growth.

Upcoming Learning Cohorts

Nonprofit & Corporate Partnership Cohort

Access the Cohort page here!

We are currently recruiting for the upcoming Nonprofit & Corporate Partnerships cohort running August – October 2023.

This ten-week series of workshops, assignments, and coaching sessions scaffolds a dialogue between nonprofit and business leaders, developing a deeper mutual understanding of shared values, existing assets, unique priorities, and distinct methodologies. On this foundation, they then build bespoke partnership plans that streamline and integrate into what they do rather than burden and complicate operations.

Learn more and apply now: 

Nonprofit Application

Corporate Application 

Technology for Nonprofits (Pilot) Cohort

This 12-week pilot program will empower nonprofit professionals to effectively use digital tools and
techniques for fundraising and marketing. Participants will learn social media, email, digital advertising, fundraising, data, and customer relationship management (CRM) to equip nonprofits with the knowledge and tools to maximize their digital marketing efforts and increase their fundraising success. Participants receive access to our 6-part video series, over 120 pages of activity and implementation materials and bi-weekly coaching sessions with The Forbes Funds’ Executive in Residence Coach, Connie Capiotis.

Applications close August 5th. Apply here.

Upcoming Learning Circles

TFF and Slippery Rock University are currently offering two Learning Circles running January-March 2023. Circle one (Mondays 11am-12pm) is for executive directors of nonprofits, and the second circle is for professionals working with youth or in a youth/family-serving nonprofit (Tuesdays 3-4pm). Please reach out directly to Dr. Hannah with questions. 

Learning Circles are a great way to increase the capacity of your team, department, of grantees. We would be happy to co-develop a Learning Circle that meets your specific needs. Please connect with us if you are interested in developing a Circle for your team, collaborate, board, or grantes.

In partnership with the Institute of Nonprofit Leadership at Slippery Rock University, The Forbes Funds offers learning circles throughout the year. These circles are leadership-driven and designed for executive directors or nonprofit professionals navigating the ebbs and flows of COVID 19 and additonal social crises.

The Forbes Funds, with support from our partners, will continue to offer the Emerging Development Leaders program designed to prepare interested participants for full-time roles in nonprofit fundraising & development. Over the course of 16 weeks, participants will earn certifications in nonprofit leadership and grant writing, and complete an advanced curriculum in nonprofit development taught by local experts.

The 2023 class of Emerging Development Leaders graduate in Summer 2023. Reach out to The Forbes Funds for information on the next cohort.


Frequently Asked Questions

Social Innovation Learning Cohorts courses run virtually. Please get in touch with Dr. Hannah should you have any additional questions.

When will Learning Cohorts take place?
All learning cohorts and learning circles take place on a rolling basis.
Where will courses take place?

Course sessions will be held online via Zoom.

Upcoming Learning and Education Events

Please get in touch with Dr. Hannah should you have any additional questions.

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Dr. Hannah Karolak

Hi, I am Dr. Hannah Karolak and I lead learning & education programs at The Forbes Funds. Our learning programs support current and future nonprofit leaders through coaching, mentorship, technical assistance, and professional development. Through partnerships with local universities, we are creating access to higher education for nonprofit professionals. Let me and our team of coaches support you in your journey to securing career mobility and greater leadership capacity.

Vision: The Forbes Funds learning and education programs support leaders as they navigate the changing demands of nonprofit work. Each of our learning programs include an aspect of coaching or mentorship, technical assistance, and professional development certification through digital badges, university credits, or continuous education credits. We use rapid prototyping to develop cohorts quarterly that respond to real-times needs of the sector. Through partnerships with our funders, we continue to offer these opportunities at low or no cost.

Contact me to learn more