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Next Level for Community-Based Organizations

Capacity building program for organizations based in or serving communities of color

Next Level is a program for organizations based in BIPOC communities. After completing the 10-month long partnership, you can emerge with increased capacity to provide more families, children, and youth with access to life-changing services.

Executive directors will be paired up with a Next Level Mentor. The team will work to develop a tailored organizational and professional development plan designed to build upon your organization's strengths. Through regular check-in meetings and cohort gatherings, you will gain insight into systems, strategies, and resources to help you take your organization to the newer heights – using standards set in our Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit. Watch our video to listen to testimonies from previous participants:

Since 2009, more than 450 organizations have benefited from 501 Commons programs that use this approach to capacity building, which includes:

  • Assessment and planning
  • Group learning
  • Executive and board mentorship
  • Improvements in process and structure to support strong outcomes

Time Commitment

Next Level is a 10-month partnership. If accepted into the program, you will start by working with a consultant team to complete our Five Elements organizational assessment. When the assessment is complete, the organization identifies high priority areas for improvement. The executive director and the mentor develop a work plan for increasing organizational effectiveness, sustainability, and growth.

The executive director and the mentor have bi-weekly meetings. The executive director also attends online and in-person cohort gatherings for peer learning and support. 501 Commons will continue to assess your progress for two years.

Who can participate?

The program will focus on organizations based in or are primarily serving BIPOC communities in King County or other underrepresented groups.  We've designed the program to deepen organizations' relationships with their communities by increasing their capacity to serve while promoting and preserving their identities, traditions, and values.

What do Next Level organizations have to say?

Bookie Gates, executive director of Baseball Beyond Borders, had this to say about Next Level:

"The Next Level cohort has given us that ability to build on the one staff that we currently have in place to then add multiple staff that will function in various lanes to support community development and academic enrichment. The Next Level program is a learning community that I think is going to take Baseball Beyond Borders and the other organizations in the cohort to another level, providing them with the opportunity to create meaningful and long-lasting impact within their community."

Apply Today!

In 2024 we will be doing a Next Level cohort in  Pierce County. To learn more, please contact Jan Burrell, at