Two Commonwealth Fellowships for two nonprofit leaders in Virginia to attend The Executive Program (TEP) are now available.

When UVA’s Darden School Foundation announced that two fellowships for its prestigious advanced management program would be available to nonprofit leaders beginning fall 2023, Ashley Williams, the CEO and CLO of Executive Education & Lifelong Learning, drew a parallel between nonprofit and for-profit management.

“Today’s nonprofit leaders confront many of the same challenges as their for-profit contemporaries,” she said, “making The Executive Program (TEP) an ideal experience to develop a broader, ethical and informed perspective on leadership.”

That sentiment certainly rings true to Kathy Rogers. Rogers is the executive director of the Penn-Mar Foundation, a Maryland-based nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She was part of TEP’s class of 2022, and despite being close to retirement, she found that what she learned during TEP – along with the relationships she formed – continues to pay dividends in how she approaches her nonprofit leadership role.

I think what you learn in these classes is just as applicable to nonprofit management as it is to for-profit management. We still have to be fiscally responsible. We still have to be strategic. We still have to know how to lead.”

- Kathy Rogers, Executive Director, Penn-Mar Foundation

She also appreciated how TEP allowed her to bring a specific project related to her work to the program – both in the classroom setting as well as part of the social interactions with professors and fellow participants.

“I will say that the connection and the bond to the professors is bar none better than any experience I’ve ever had,” she says.

One bond with a particular professor actually led to her bringing him on in a consulting capacity to work on a DEI initiative at her organization after she had graduated.

Her experiences with fellow classmates – particularly the other women in her cohort – also have paid dividends.

“I developed great relationships with my class – we call ourselves the ‘magnificent seven,’” she says, referring to her female classmates. “It’s friendship, it’s camaraderie, and we find ourselves talking about different opportunities and challenges that we have within our own organizations, and it becomes a very safe place. We’re coming from a mindset that we learn together and help each other solve situations at work. It’s like we have a group that we leadership coach one another.”

The six-month TEP program consists of two in-person modules – one two-week session in the fall on the Darden Grounds in Charlottesville and a second in the spring on the School’s Grounds in the Washington, D.C. area and Charlottesville. During a virtual intersession, participants receive coaching and support on their business challenge project.

The “Commonwealth Fellowships” cover the full cost of tuition (approximately $40,000 value) beginning with the fall 2023 session.

To apply for the fellowship or for more information, visit The application deadline is 16 May. Fellowship recipients will be announced on 6 June.