For more than 20 years, NEW has strengthened Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit economy by providing organizations with resources, training, consultation, and support to improve their sustainability, efficiency, and impact. Starting in 2014, NEW partnered with ZingTrain to bring together ZingTrain’s business and leadership training with NEW’s nonprofit sector to create a leadership training experience accessible to grassroots nonprofits entitled “Leadership DELI – Develop, Elevate, Launch, Innovate.”

To date, there have been three Leadership DELI cohorts. The first Leadership DELI launched in October 2014 and ended in April 2015. A cohort of fifteen Washtenaw County nonprofit leaders participated in seven in-person, four-hour trainings and seven, two-hour “virtual sessions” on GoToWebinar that were facilitated by both NEW and ZingTrain staff. The second and third Leadership DELI cohorts launched in February 2016 and November 2016, respectively.  There were twenty nonprofits from throughout Southeast Michigan that participated in both of these two cohorts; again, the leaders participated in seven in-person, four hour trainings.  The three cohorts had a mix of executive directors and emerging leaders in attendance.

NEW and ZingTrain are grateful for the generous support of the funders who have made Leadership Deli possible: Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and PNC Bank Foundation, and the Washtenaw Coordinated Funders.


The challenges of leadership training through traditional approaches have been well documented. Leadership training, and the broader category of capacity building, has historically been transactional and difficult to tie to outcomes; for example, there is little noticeable long-term impact that results from a traditional board training or two-hour workshops. Directing support or interventions at individual nonprofits or isolated leaders or boards of directors simply has not addressed underlying systemic challenges that are present in communities.  The ability to execute on new ideas has been challenging for organizations that are already strapped or ill-prepared to support implementation.

Moving the needle for nonprofits, and strengthening their ability to implement new leadership models in support of their mission work, is dependent on approaches that take into consideration the interconnections between different players in the nonprofit social ecosystem (including funders, businesses, government entities, management support organizations).  Leadership DELI focuses on growth in leadership and organization development, along with the powerful connections that happen when we bring leaders together.  Through this collaborative venture, knowledge can be shared and applied in the nonprofit sector that challenges the scarcity mindset and increases the likelihood that nonprofits can more effectively strive to meet their goals.

Leadership DELI provides the means for all players in the broader social ecosystem to  address leadership challenges of the social sector through a mutually beneficial partnership between the nonprofits, a capacity building organization (NEW), for-profit business (Zingerman’s), and the funding community.

Leadership DELI is and has been supported by:

Aid in Milan
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County
Child Care Network
Community Family Learning Centers
Community Resource Center, Inc.
Corner Health Center
Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College
Faith in Action
Food Gatherers
Foundations Preschool of Washtenaw County
Growing Hope
HighScope Educational Research Foundation
Home of New Vision
Hope Medical Clinic, Inc.
Mentor 2 Youth
Michigan Ability Partners
Michigan Advocacy Program
Milan Seniors for Healthy Living
Peace Neighborhood Center
Shelter Association of Washtenaw County
UMHS Housing Bureau for Seniors

Past Cohorts

Arab American National Museum
A Beautiful Me
Apple Playschools
Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education
Bravo Foundation
Build Institute
Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County
Detroit Skating Club
FLY Children’s Art Center
FoodLab Detroit
Forgotten Harvest
Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
New Center Community Services
SOS Community
The Breakfast at St. Andrew’s
The Pink Fund
The Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan
Vanguard Community Development Corporation

Ann Arbor Film Festival
Avalon Housing, Inc.
Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor
Community Action Network
Dawn Farm
Ecology Center
Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley
Huron River Watershed Council
Leslie Science & Nature Center
Neutral Zone
Ozone House
Slow Food Huron Valley
The Corner Health Center
The Dispute Resolution Center
Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels

Here’s what they said about Leadership DELI and its impact on their organization:

“It was great.  We took so many things back to our org and will be implementing over time.  Most useful was probably making the connection between value prop/business model/vision/plan.”

“That we are actually on track and already doing a majority of the lessons outlined.  Learn how to maximize our existing work and processes.”

“Appreciated these courses very much!  Like the courses on Tuesdays so we had Monday to get caught up on the weekend and set up success for our class the next day.  Great trainers and food!  Thank you so very much for making this a possibility and all of your hard work.”

“The session on training was life changing for our organization.  I am much better at explaining things now.”

“That persistence is key.  And being a leader in whatever areas you are working, matters to the overall effort.  It takes the whole team and doesn’t fall to one person or role.”