Project Diversity and Pride Leadership are United Way’s inclusive leadership development programs designed to create impactful, diverse leaders from central Ohio’s racial minority and LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer) communities. As our community becomes increasingly diverse, it’s critical that the composition of our leadership reflects this diversity to include many perspectives and approaches. Both programs train participants to serve effectively on nonprofit boards and committees by providing the skills necessary to take their talents to the next level.



Designed to give people of color— African American, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans and other racial minorities—a greater voice in the community, Project Diversity was launched in 1989. Known today as a premier racial minority leadership program, it boasts an impressive list of 492 graduates, many of whom have gone on to serve on local nonprofit boards.


Founded in 2008, Pride Leadership has given 144 members of the LGBTQ+ community a greater voice in leadership. Since its inception, the program has gained a solid reputation as a quality leadership development program in central Ohio.


Graduates of both programs cite numerous professional benefits, particularly in these areas:

  • Skill development
  • Collaborative decision making/flexibility
  • Building a diverse professional network
  • Increased understanding of the community and local nonprofits
  • Board/committee placement


The curriculum of both eight-month training programs includes monthly sessions of two to four hours in  length.  United Way  believes it’s important for participants to immerse themselves in the community and hear first-hand from local nonprofits about the work they do in order to best address the issues impacting our community. Throughout both programs, United Way provides community tours, education and direct access to local nonprofits.

Sessions include lectures, hands- on workshops and other activities incorporating these subjects:

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Board governance
  • Meeting management
  • Fundraising and resource development
  • Diversity and cultural competence
  • Fiscal management
  • Strategic planning
  • Legal responsibility
  • Marketing and public relations


Participants will be assigned to attend nonprofit board and committee meetings throughout the program, which allows them to witness what the skills they are learning being put to use.

Participants report out on their board experiences during the learning session and give a high-level presentation at the conclusion of the program.

Following graduation, United Way works with each participant to identify organizations having missions that align with their interests. We then facilitate an introduction of the participant to the  appropriate  staff  member at the organization. United Way does not guarantee board or committee placement.


“Project Diversity showed me the challenges minorities have in our community. I saw different leadership styles in action and learned the importance of trusting in a team. It gave me a new group to call family.”
–Magaly Vasquez, Columbus Metropolitan Library

“Pride Leadership has been a wonderful experience because not only do I have the tools, skills, resources to move forward with supporting organizations in this city, I also have a number of new friends. That to me is a great value.”
–Justin Warren, L Brands

For any questions you may have, please contact:

For more information, download our one pager click here.

Ways We Invest in Project Diversity and Pride Leadership:

Innovation and Systems: $25,000​​


Please fill out this form to be notified when applications become available.

Stay informed,
get connected.

We'll send you customized updates about our work, your impact, and more ways to connect.


Back to top