Popular "Peer Skill Share" Program Finds a New Home at Forefront

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Peer Skill Share program, which fosters nonprofit capacity building and offers a professional development opportunity for nonprofit professionals, is now housed at Forefront.

The Pierce Family Foundation created this inventive program in 2010 because of the foundation's belief in the value of peer-to-peer professional development in nonprofit capacity building. "But, the more the program grew -- currently with 15 foundation partners and 700 nonprofits -- the more it became clear to us that Peer Skill Share is at the heart of Forefront's mission," said Marianne Philbin, Executive Director of Pierce Family Foundation. "We're excited that Forefront will be the new home for Peer Skill Share, and we're confident that this will lead to even broader participation by both funders and nonprofits," she added.

Peer Skill Share enables nonprofits to get the kind of help they most value -- focused, tailored to their needs, and typically in person -- and be compensated for their time rather than paying a workshop fee. For foundations, the program provides a low-cost way to provide targeted technical assistance and to support organizational development across the entire grantee community.

"Forefront is proud to be the new home of Peer Skill Share," said Eric Weinheimer, President and CEO of Forefront. "We know that it can continue to grow and connect even more nonprofits to each other -- not only in Chicago, but in other regions of Illinois."

The program works this way: A nonprofit staffer who needs help on a particular topic is matched with an employee of another nonprofit who has expertise on that topic. The matched partners then meet one-on-one for a two to three hour session. Not only is the program free to both the student and the teacher, but the organization of each person is given a $200 grant, in compensation for staff time spent on the program.

Owing to the logistics of the migration to Forefront, Peer Skill Share will be on hiatus for a few weeks, re-opening in March. Staff from Pierce and Forefront will work together on the re-launch and for several months going forward.

Funders may participate at one of two levels, with an annual cost of either $6,000 or $15,000 depending on the number of grantees they wish to invite to the program. Currently, only grantees invited by participating funders can participate.

Membership in Forefront is not a requirement to participate, as either a funder or grantee.

Watch for more information in the next weeks. If you have questions or would like more information, please email elong@myforefront.org.