Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow

Growing American Express' leadership pipeline by attracting, developing and retaining top talent is a business imperative we invest in heavily. This commitment to developing leaders extends to the communities we serve.


For nearly a decade, we have dedicated significant resources to strengthening nonprofit and social purpose leadership by creating and funding programs for those working to solve the world's biggest challenges. Since 2008, we have invested $60 million to develop nearly 50,000 social purpose leaders who are tacking some of society's most complex issues.


The projects we support encourage leadership development for emerging nonprofit and social purpose leaders through one or more of the following:


  • Helping nonprofit organizations create, enhance or sustain leadership development programs for their high potential emerging leaders.
  • Diversifying the current landscape of nonprofit leaders.
  • Transforming organizations through best-in-class management and leadership practices, whether through board leadership, implementing management principles or expanding an organization's capacity to attract, develop and retain leadership talent.

Projects we are interested in supporting include:

  • Supporting leadership training by an organization to a wider group of organizations within the same discipline or field.
  • Supporting leadership development of an organization's local members or affiliates.
  • Supporting leadership development of an organization located in key geographic areas (see list of geographic areas here).


We do not fund leadership programs focused on youth (high school and college age). We do not support scholarships for an individual's personal leadership training.


Recent Examples


Achieve LLC, Indianapolis, IN
Support for the MCON, a three-day conference of aspiring and emerging leaders, activists and social entrepreneurs focused on finding creative approaches to social issues. Attendees and online viewers have access to more than 25 sessions. They join the conversation, ask questions and discover what ignites their interests to make a difference. Attendees, sponsors and speakers discuss how others through leadership build causes and create movements, while networking with like-minded individuals.


Acumen, New York, NY
Support for +Acumen, an online portal that shares unique leadership tools and guidance on building social enterprises through its fee and low cost courses. Leaders from 190 countries have used +Acumen to sharpen their skills and gained new learning tools through on-line courses, volunteering and leveraging Acumen's network of worldwide chapters.


Atlas Service Corps, Washington DC
Support for the Global Leadership Lab, a four-day intensive training as part of the Emerging Global Leaders Initiative Atlas Corps Fellowship, a partnership with The White House and State Department to strengthen civil society. This program engages leaders in both virtual and in-person trainings.


Chicago Foundation for Women, Chicago, IL
Support for the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative, a program for emerging nonprofit professionals, which provides professional development activities, skill-building, coaching and mentoring with the overall goal of building a stronger nonprofit sector in Chicago. The program is designed to help all levels of nonprofit professionals throughout their careers from entry-level, mid-level, Executive Directors and board leadership.


Forum for Youth Investment (SparkAction), Brooklyn, NY
Support for, a storytelling platform to share the leadership journeys of social purpose leaders,, uses video storytelling to share key resources and insights on leadership development from innovators and experts. These stories inspire, inform and connect emerging leaders across the nonprofit sector.


Hispanics in Philanthropy, Oakland, CA and Mexico City, Mexico
Support for the leadership development program for nonprofit and social sector emerging leaders in Mexico and a leadership development program for emerging U.S. Latino leaders, with the long-term goals of strengthening Latino nonprofit leadership and ensuring that the wider social sector has diverse talent.


Presidio TR, San Francisco, CA
Support for Leaderosity, an online leadership development platform for social purpose leaders. Courses are tailored to each participant’s preference and pace, with added peer-to-peer interactions challenging participants to be more adaptable and collaborative leaders. This networking aspect gives participants the opportunity to build lasting, local, national and international relationships with a community of like-minded people.

Click here for more information about other initiatives within this theme.

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