Client Application

The client application is now closed. Applications for the 2020-21 project cycle will open in spring of 2020.

If you have any questions about whether a Compass project is right for your organization, please contact Natalie Tessler at

Selection Criteria

  • Financial stability, engaged governing board, an ED with capacity for the project, Board Chair interest in project, community impact, and a well-defined and realistic scope.
  • Diversity of geography (near the immediate metropolitan area), service line diversity, and a wide range of issue areas.
  • We rarely accept clients with an interim ED. We defer projects if the ED leaves during the project.

Eligibility: 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations,  minimum budget of $750,000, three full-time paid staff members, active Board of Directors, Executive Director different from the Board Chair, and a mission that benefits Chicago.

We do not accept clients that promote specific religious or political beliefs.

Application Process

  • Client applications open mid-April with a deadline in June.
  • From June to August, Compass interviews the Executive Director and Board Chair of all applicants that meet the basic criteria.
  • Compass announces clients in mid-August.
  • Project Leaders begin working with clients in September. Teams will be formed, trained, and working by late October, with projects completed before June.

If you would like to be added to our email list to receive updates about next year’s application, please contact us