Alchemy Overview

Annenberg Alchemy is a free capacity building and leadership development program designed to assist small to midsize Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations and their leaders.

Alchemy refers to the practice of turning something ordinary into something extraordinary. The Annenberg Foundation named its capacity building program Alchemy due to the belief that when Executive Directors and Board Chairs are aligned in common purpose, an unstoppable force for change will spark which will then elevate organizations to a higher level of effectiveness.

Since 2006, the Annenberg Foundation has provided capacity building and leadership training programs for nonprofit leaders from small to midsize nonprofit organizations. The goal of Alchemy is to reach aspiring nonprofit leaders, align Executive Directors and Board Chairs, and connect them to resources that will support their readiness to lead organizations and produce results, which in turn will help them build healthy, resilient and extraordinary communities. Among the central issues addressed are effective fundraising, Board effectiveness, public involvement and accountability. In addition, participants are connected to a network of peers through learning communities and roundtable discussions where they can share best practices and innovative strategies. Alchemy’s capacity building and leadership development program is focused on serving nonprofit organizations and their leaders located in the five-county region of Greater Los Angeles, with budgets up to $5 million.

Many donate to charities, but for extraordinary leaders, giving means more.


What is the difference between Alchemy Leadership Seminar, Alchemy+ & Alchemy Leadership Labs?

Alchemy Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+ focus on the alignment of the Executive Director and Board Chair's goals, roles and responsibilities in relation to each other, providing the catalyst for change for the entire organization. Among the central issues addressed in Alchemy are effective fundraising, board governance, and financial literacy. Leadership Seminar is Alchemy's signature course and the first phase of training. Alchemy+ is the higher level course for graduates of Leadership Seminar who want to take their learning further. Both Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+ consist of three or four full-day sessions where organizations are selected through a competitive application process (please see eligibility criteria). Alchemy Leadership Labs are half-day workshops and webinars focusing on a variety of capacity building topics. The labs do not require an application process and are open to all qualified 501(c)(3) organizations and fiscally sponsored organizations on a first come, first serve basis.

Is there a cost to participate in Alchemy programs?

All Alchemy offerings are free to attend. The sole cost of Alchemy Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+ is the full participation of an organization's Executive Director and Board Chair.

What is the specific time commitment required by the Executive Director, Board Chair and other Board members for Alchemy Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+?

For Alchemy Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+, both the Executive Director and Board Chair are required to attend all sessions. Full participation by both the Executive Director and Board Chair is the main requirement.

What criteria determines eligibility for and acceptance to Alchemy Leadership Seminar?

To be eligible for Alchemy Leadership Seminar, your organization must: 1) be a qualified 501(c)(3) public charity, 2) located in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside County, and 3) have a functioning Board of Directors/Trustees. Although all interested nonprofit leaders meeting the eligibility requirements listed above may apply, the following criteria will also be used to determine the final selections for participation: 1) has the organization served the needs of the local community for at least three years? 2) has the Executive Director served at least two years in his/her role? 3) does the organization operate with an annual budget of $5 million or less? 4) does the organization support under-served and under-capitalized communities of Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside County?

Can I apply to Alchemy if I participated in Alchemy Leadership Seminar in the past?

If both the Executive Director and the Board Chair of your organization participated in Alchemy Leadership Seminar in the past, you are eligible to apply to Alchemy+. However, if like many organizations, you have had changes in your Executive Director or Board Chair positions since your participation in Alchemy Leadership Seminar, we encourage you to re-apply for Leadership Seminar training.

My organization does not have 501(c)(3) status, but I would benefit greatly from this program. Am I eligible to apply?

Alchemy is only open to nonprofit agencies and community-based organizations in the five-county region of Greater Los Angeles that have obtained registered nonprofit status with the IRS.

If I participate in Alchemy Leadership Seminar/Alchemy+, can I also attend the Labs?

Yes. Alchemy Leadership Labs are open to current participants of Alchemy Leadership Seminar and Alchemy+.

The Alchemy Leadership Lab I wanted to attend is full. Is there another way I can participate in the session?

Depending on the session, some Alchemy Leadership Labs will be available to view in a real-time online format. For those labs that are not livestreamed, a waiting list will be available.

If my organization participates in Alchemy Leadership Labs, are we eligible to apply for Alchemy+?

No. Only participants who completed Alchemy Leadership Seminar are eligible to apply for Alchemy+.

Will my organization receive a grant for my participation in Alchemy?

There is no grant or other compensation associated with Alchemy Leadership Seminar. However, for organizations selected to participate in Alchemy+, a small capacity building grant will be awarded if all requirements of the program are fulfilled.

My organization received a grant from the Annenberg Foundation; will our existing relationship improve my candidacy to Alchemy?

Alchemy is open to all qualified organizations regardless of their grant history with the Annenberg Foundation. We are not giving any preference to organizations on the basis of past, current or future funding decisions.

My organization was declined for funding by the Annenberg Foundation; will my application to Alchemy receive full consideration?

Yes, your organization will receive full consideration. Participation in Alchemy is not contingent on grantseeking history with the Annenberg Foundation. If you were declined for a grant in the past, but meet the qualifications for participating in Alchemy, we encourage you to apply.

Does my enrollment in Alchemy improve my chances of receiving future grants from the Annenberg Foundation?

No. Alchemy is not associated with our grantmaking in any way other than the possible award of a small capacity building grant for our Alchemy+ graduates. However, our goal is that your participation in Alchemy training will increase your organization's ability to compete for resources from any possible funding source.

How can I contact the Annenberg Foundation if I have any other questions?

Call us at (213) 403-3030 or email

Receive Alchemy Updates

* Required Fields

Contact Us

For General questions:

Phone: (213) 403-3030