Our History

LeaderSpring began in 1997 as Eureka Bay Area, a satellite program of Eureka Communities, a national organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. that provided two-year fellowships to communities of nonprofit leaders. Eureka Communities programs launched in San Francisco, Detroit, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Boston. But after a major organizational transition in 2003, Eureka Bay Area emerged as the sole regional fellowship program provider. In 2005, Eureka Bay Area re-launched as LeaderSpring, a project of the Tides Center.

Over the past 20 years, we have strengthened more than 500 nonprofit executives and agencies through our intensive, two-year Fellowship. Our competitively awarded, on-the-job program integrates leadership development, management skills training, executive coaching, mentoring, peer learning, and networking. We have since expanded our services in response to requests from the field to include consulting work.

  • 1991 - 1996: Deborah Szekley founds Eureka Communities. Eureka President Steve Vetter opens satellite programs in San Diego, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston.
  • 1997: Longtime supporter and former board member Fred Blackwell meets with Fellows of San Francisco satellite program: Eureka Bay Area.
  • 2000: Eureka Bay Area welcomes a new leader, executive director Cynthia Chavez, and a new home in Oakland's Preservation Park.
  • 2001: Eureka Bay Area forms eight-member "Leadership Council" to provide organizational strategy.
  • 2002 - 2004: Former City of Oakland Mayor, now California Governor, Jerry Brown meets Eureka Fellows. Eureka Bay Area re-launches as "LeaderSpring," a project of the Tides Center.
  • 2011: The California Endowment commissions LeaderSpring to strengthen leaders in 14 communities across California, extending our reach nationwide.
  • 2014: LeaderSpring's Innovation Lab, an eight month training and coaching pilot program, engages six leadership teams led by Alumni to develop new models of nonprofit leadership and governance.
  • 2016: LeaderSpring launches the Contra Costa Leadership Institute (CCLI), a team-based leadership development program in partnership with the Thomas J. Long Foundation, the Y&H Soda Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation.
  • 2017: LeaderSpring welcomes a new executive director: Dr. Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, East Bay Class of 2006 Alumna.
  • 2018: With more than 20 years of support from our community, LeaderSpring has strengthened over 500 social sector leaders, whose organizations collectively improve the lives of over 2 million vulnerable Californians each year.

*Click photos to view captions