The Pearl Project

2008 Leadership Development Award winner

JLN Pearl Project

The Junior League of Nashville

The Junior League of Nashville won the 2008 Leadership Development Award for The Pearl Project, a program that prepares members to serve on nonprofit boards.

Program Goal

This program is designed to meet the growing need in the Nashville community for a pool of volunteer leaders capable of effectively serving on nonprofit boards while strengthening the League's internal training program.

Program Description

This program is a local initiative to tackle the growing national need for nonprofit leaders across the country. Extensive research determined that the League could offer an exceptional training program by reorganizing its training model and collaborating with the Young Leaders Council, a nonprofit that prepares volunteers to serve on boards.

The program consists of a 10-session course offering board skills, consultations with a lifestyle coach, and mentoring on balancing work and life. There are five tracks: Leadership and Manage­ment, Technology, Communi­ca­tions, Community, and Special Events and Fund­raising, with subfields including health education, meeting facilitation, financial management, conflict resolution, and strategic planning. League members receive membership credits for attending courses.


Fifty-nine members successfully completed the course between 2005 and 2007. The graduates have served on the boards of 49 organizations, initially in one-year internships.