Emerging Nonprofit Certificate of Training

Bootcamp for Founders of Nonprofit Startups

The Community Law Project offers the Emerging Nonprofit Certificate of Training program for nonprofit founders who are interested in or are in the process of forming a new nonprofit organization. Program participants will earn a “Certificate of Training” after completing a series of five workshops, all of which are geared towards the emerging nonprofit organization. Participants will have two years to complete all five workshops towards the certificate of training. Recipients will be granted an application fee waiver for pro bono legal assistance for eligible nonprofits.

The series of five workshops, described below, are held at the offices of Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (100 N. LaSalle St, Suite 600). Space is limited, and advance registration is required. Please  note the cancellation policy before registering.

Funding a New Nonprofit – receive an introduction to grant prospecting (including further resources on grant writing), funder perspectives on new nonprofits and fiscally sponsored groups.

Thursday, October 4
4:30pm - 6:00pm


Nonprofit Board Basics – Learn roles and responsibilities for board directors and officers, fiduciary duties, the founder’s role, and the importance of recruiting a diverse board of directors.

6:15pm - 7:45pm


Developing a Budget for a New Nonprofit – Learn the basics of creating a budget for new nonprofit organizations including how to use and prepare each type of budget, the best ways to develop reliable estimates of revenue and expenses, and the true cost of hiring employees.

Thursday, October 11
4:30pm - 6:00pm


Business Planning for a New Nonprofit – A solid business plan is critical to the success of your organization and will make filing for 501(c)(3) status less difficult. Attend this workshop to learn the components and the writing process.

6:15pm - 7:45pm


Legal Steps to Create a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization – Gain in-depth knowledge about the legal requirements and various filings for creating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax exempt organization.

Thursday, October 18
4:30pm - 7:00pm


The Fine Print

Participants can register for all workshops individually, but there is a significant discount in registering for the series. Participants must attend all five workshops in the series within two years to obtain the certificate. The certificate of training is awarded to an individual (not the organization), and attendance at the workshops is not transferable to other co-founders for the certificate of training. For example, a founder may register for the series, but send another co-founder to one of the workshops (24 hour advance notice to Community Law Project required for all attendee substitutions due to building visitor registration requirements). However, the founder would not be eligible for the certificate of training until the founder attended that workshop within two years.

To waive the Community Law Project application fee, the certificate of training recipient must be listed as the primary or secondary contact for the organization. Only one application fee will be waived per recipient, and the filing fees deposit is still required for new nonprofits per the application. The organization must meet our eligibility guidelines:

1. The organization is a not for profit tax exempt organization or an organization seeking assistance to obtain recognition of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.

2. The organization is not in need of legal representation for a dispute, litigation or matters that might reasonably lead to litigation.

3. The organization is engaged in activities that serve low-income populations or communities. Most client organizations are involved in the following activities:

• job training, development, placement, retention and/or entrepreneurship
• loan funds, community lending programs or a community credit union
• child care, after school programs
• civil rights, human rights
• community education and awareness, health clinics, domestic violence
• social services including food pantries, clothing and/or furniture distribution
• arts and cultural organizations
• real estate development (commercial, retail and affordable housing)
• transitional housing, supportive housing, group homes, shelters
• technical assistance providers

The Emerging Nonprofit Certificate of Training is neither a professional certification, nor an assessment-based certificate program. For questions about the program, please contact us at 312-939-3638.

Cancellation Policy

The Community Law Project reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule any workshop for which registrants will receive a full refund. If you cannot attend a workshop or program you have registered, you may contact us or call 312-939-3638 to request a refund according to the provisions below.

The Community Law Project will retain an administrative fee of a minimum of 30 percent of the cost of the workshop. This fee increases closer to the workshop date. Additionally, a workshop registration will not be transferable to any future workshops should you not attend. This allows us to plan for event capacity and keep costs affordable.  Please take this into account before you sign up for a workshop.

  • 70 percent refund for cancellations received at least seven-days prior to the first day of the workshop in a series, or the day of the workshop, whichever is earlier.
  • 50 percent refund for cancellations received at least three-days prior to the first day of the workshop in a series, or the day of the workshop, whichever is earlier.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations received within 72-hours of the first day of the workshop in a series, or the day of the workshop, whichever is earlier. No refunds will be issued for “no shows”.

The Community Law Project reserves the right to modify cancellation policies as necessary. Any such changes will be clearly stated on registration and program materials to which they apply.