Program Officer Peer Learning Cohort

• Deepen your knowledge of effective grantmaking practices
• Hone skills for your unique context
• Learn from guest speakers + funder examples
• Build a deep network + leverage peer support


Program Officer Peer Learning 9-Month Cohort

Hone your knowledge and advance your practice to have the greatest impact possible on the communities and issues you care about.

Decades of CEP research have shown that program officers play a crucial role in a funder’s ability to positively impact communities, issues, and fields. To be an outstandingly effective program officer requires a unique skillset and deep knowledge of an array of approaches. CEP’s inaugural Program Officer Peer Learning Cohort is designed to help program officers build that knowledge and skillset.

In this cohort, you will connect with a supportive group of peers while you grow your knowledge of data-backed practices for effective philanthropy, troubleshoot barriers to implementation, and hone skills tailored to your organizational context.

This cohort will include seven virtual sessions between January and September 2024. Sessions will include interactive presentations on data-backed practices, compelling funder examples, guest speakers, and structured time for discussion, reflection, and peer-to-peer learning. And, to support your ongoing success beyond the 9-month cohort duration, this cohort is designed to enable you to develop a network of deeply connected peers across the field.

Session Dates and Content

This Learning Cohort will run from January to September 2024 and will take place roughly every five weeks, with two breaks. Breaks will allow time for participants to engage in individual reflection, build peer connections, and experiment with implementation.

The utility and success of the learning cohort depends on meaningful participation from each member. So that we can foster a strong group, have fruitful conversations, and best support members in their work, we ask that each participant register with the intention of attending each of the seven planned sessions.

Sessions in Detail

  • Cohort Introductions and Community-Building• Cohort overview
    • Meeting your cohort peers
  • Relationships
    • What does CEP data tell us about the importance of trust-based relationships?
    • Guest speaker on Grantee Perception Report dataset findings on initiation and frequency of interactions and helpful touchpoints
    • Small groups: relationships in the context of your organization
  • Selection Process – Part 1
    • Trust-based principles and equity implications for building a pipeline and constructing a portfolio
    • Evaluating grant applications
    • Small groups: application processes in the context of your organization

April Spring Break: Individual Reflection and Implementation


  • Difficult Conversations
    • Respectful approaches to difficult grantee relationship junctures including: proposal declinations, sunsetting long-term relationships, and restrictions on funding size, length, or type.
    • Small groups: Role-playing difficult conversations. Clear, transparent communications
  • Reporting Process
    • Creating a culture/climate of mutual learning and partnership and different models of reporting
    • Small groups: Reporting processes in the context of your organization. Role-playing constructive feedback as part of the reporting process.

July Summer Break: Individual Reflection and Implementation


  • Strengthening Grantee Organizations
    • What does CEP data tell us about the importance of grantmaking characteristics and non-monetary support?
    • Small groups: non-monetary supports and multiyear general operating support at your organization
  • Capstone

Calendar Quick Look

  Date Pacific   Mountain Central Eastern
Session 1: Cohort Kickoff January 25 9:30-11am 10:30am-12pm 11:30am-1pm 12:30-2pm
Session 2: Relationships February 29 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 3: Selection Processes 1 March 28 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 4: Difficult Conversations May 16 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 5: Reporting Processes June 27 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 6: Strengthening Organizations August 15 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 7: Capstone September 19 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm

About CEP’s Learning Institute and Peer Learning Cohorts

CEP’s Learning Institute offers cohorts, workshops, and custom trainings for foundation staff and leaders to support your learning and implementation of data-backed promising practices.

CEP’s Peer Learning Cohorts provide action-oriented opportunities for staff and leaders in philanthropy to build community, learn together, and support each other in setting and pursuing goals of effective philanthropic practices, ultimately strengthening their personal and organizational impact.

To learn more about CEP’s past and current offerings, please visit CEP’s Learning Institute webpage.

Relevant Blog Posts