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

Client Application

The next Client Application will open in April, 2019.  Links will be live when the application is open.

  • First, download the Client Application Instructions
  • Next, review the Client Application as a Word Document or PDF
  • Complete the application off line in Word, saving the Word document as your copy
  • Follow this link to complete the application: Complete the Chicago Client Application

If you have any questions after viewing the application, please contact Natalie Tessler at