Center for Nonprofit Excellence


Whether you need informal consulting, professional coaching or a consultant referral, the CNE is your link to resources to benefit your organization.

Consultation with CNE Staff

We offer informal, confidential conversations to help you think about new ways to approach challenges in your nonprofit organization. Topics can range from board relations to strategic decisions to leadership questions.

Nonprofit Consultant Directory

Working with a Consultant or Coach

Mentor Handbook & Toolbox

The Community Foundation for Monterey County’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence has provided mentor-assisted technical assistance and capacity building support for several cohorts of small organizations over the last several years. We have documented the methods and resources in a Mentor Handbook and Toolbox, used to build future mentor/consulting capacity and contribute to the field.

Stanford Alumni Consulting Team


Stanford ACT Meets with ClientEach January, nonprofits can apply for pro bono consulting from the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) in Monterey Bay. The Stanford ACT team of business school alumni and business executives bring decades of private business sector management expertise to participating nonprofits, which dedicate staff (or qualified volunteer) time to the process.

Stanford ACT was established on the Central Coast in 2005. They have completed over 60 projects assisting 40 organizations in Monterey County. The team of eight consultants provides pro bono business consulting with a core focus on utilizing for-profit management techniques in nonprofit organizations.

“Stanford ACT helped us set priorities based on survey data, not just intuition. Their work was organized and actionable.” – Aimee Alling, Executive Director, Big Sur Charter School

Anna Foglia Sun Street CentersI cannot thank you enough for the rich analysis, spot on recommendations, and all around useful tool you developed for us! I know the Board is really impressed and appreciative of your work. We will be reviewing this plan a lot over the coming months, including our board retreat. Thank you all for your time, effort and expertise! I am very grateful.” – Anna Foglia, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Street Centers

Team Bios

Stanford ACT Monterey Bay

The services of the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) in Monterey Bay are offered by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Alumni Association in partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County. The Stanford ACT in Monterey Bay is composed of nine consultants. The members of the team hold one doctorate, nine master’s degrees, including six MBA’s (from Stanford and Harvard). In addition, the members average over 30 years of senior management experience. Their experience ranges from startups to key management roles in five corporations with revenues over a billion dollars each.

Barbara BishopBarbara Bishop
Stanford ACT member since 2002 specializing in marketing and strategic planning. BA Economics, MBA, Stanford University. 18 years of management experience in Marketing, Business Planning, and Channel Development, 21 years at Hewlett Packard; several years at SRI International, and other consulting firms. Responsible for a $600M business at HP; strong services and process background.

Jim GraberJim Graber
Stanford ACT member since 1991 in Silicon Valley, since 2005 in Monterey.  Led or worked on over 35 projects.  Primary focus is general business, governance, administration and finance. BA Univ. of Pennsylvania, MBA Stanford University. 40 years senior management experience in finance and general management in a variety of industries, primarily as CFO. Firms varied from start up to mature organizations, both public and private.

Sandy HaleSandy Hale  
Stanford ACT member since 2013 specializing in strategic planning, finance and nonprofit management. BA Stanford University, MBA Harvard University, Ph.D. Economics University of Vienna. 30 years senior management experience.  Former senior official U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; founded two international consulting firms, both sold to Fortune 100 companies; head of the business school and interim Dean, CSU Monterey Bay.  Former Chair, President, and Board Member of several major nonprofits.

Alex LilleyAlex Lilley
Stanford ACT member since 2005 specializing in project management, data analysis and strategic planning. BS in Electrical Engineering, Princeton; MBA, Stanford University. 30 plus years of management experience in Sales Support, Product Planning and Project Management at IBM. Led projects on a national level.  Board chairman of a property management business, responsible for strategic and financial direction.

Brooks McChesneyBrooks McChesney
Stanford ACT member since 2009 specializing in general management and strategic planning. BA History and Political Science, Stanford: JD Cornell University. 30 years of management experience. Founder and senior executive at several Silicon Valley HiTech companies, Led several VC and Corporate funded startups, Corporate Counsel for two Billion Dollar organizations

Denny PaulDenny K. Paul, CFA
Stanford ACT member since 2006 specializing in financial, marketing, business planning, and general management. Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, Cornell; MSEE, Stanford; MBA studies at Stanford and Santa Clara University; Chartered Financial Analyst. 30 years of Management Experience, Four Silicon Valley Start-ups in Market Research, Computer Sales and Software Development;  held financial, sales, and general management positions in the US, Canada, and Europe.  Extensive acquisition experience.

Claus H. Shelling
Stanford ACT member since 2016 specializing in general management of small companies, as well as employee benefit and company insurance programs. BA Economics and MBA Stanford University. A life insurance broker in Palo Alto for many years specializing in business continuation, employee benefits, retirement planning (pensions and profit sharing), and charitable estate planning. Many of his clients were small Silicon Valley business owners. He also managed and arranged the sale of a significant family business. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards.

David WarnerDavid Warner
Stanford ACT member since 2016 specializing in general management, bank relations and finance, and strategic planning. BA Economics Dartmouth College, MBA Stanford GSB International Finance. 40 years of management experience in U.S. and Asian banking. Founder and management of several community banks. Peace Corps in Sri Lanka with World Health Organization project. Officer and director for Hartnell College Foundation.

Ron WormserRon Wormser
Stanford ACT member since 2010 specializing in board development, financial planning, and build-outs of new and young organizations.  BA Political Science, Ohio University; MA Administration of Higher Education, Syracuse University. 40 years as executive with nonprofits in higher education, international research centers and performing arts; 8 years consulting in board development, finance, fundraising and executive coaching. Author of book on fundraising published by BoardSource.

Project Types

Project Types

What we do

  • Board development and governance
  • Business model analysis
  • Business plans for specific projects
  • Financial evaluation, planning and reporting
  • Marketing and branding
  • Organizational business model development
  • Organizational development
  • Strategic planning

Who we Serve

  • Community Services
  • Cultural Organizations
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Legal Services
  • Social Services

How we do it

  • Broad experience
  • Senior business experts in many fields
  • Two to six consultants participate in each project
  • The nonprofit and Stanford ACT work together as a team to resolve issues
  • Team applies for-profit business techniques to nonprofit issues
  • Research and implementation
  • Specialized surveys
  • Manage nonprofit board retreats to develop agreed on strategic plans
  • Teach techniques while solving problems so organizations can do it themselves


Stanford ACT Application Process

  • 2021 Application process To Be Announced.
  • January – Applications are due in late January each year. 2020 application process is closed.
    • Stanford ACT team and CNE staff review written applications.
  • February – Stanford ACT team meets with applicants as needed.
    • Stanford ACT team and CNE staff select projects based on the fit between the organization’s need and the team’s capabilities, applicant’s ability to participate in the consulting process and potential community impact.
  • March – Organizations are notified of selection decision and consulting begins. All applicants are notified of decisions by the end of March.
  • October – Projects typically last through October when a final presentation is made to the organization’s board in conjunction with staff participating in the project.

Past Stanford ACT Projects

  • Ag Against Hunger 2018
  • AIM for Mental Health 2016
  • ARIEL Theatrical 2011
  • Big Sur Charter School 2017 
  • Big Sur Health Center 2012
  • Big Sur Land Trust 2007
  • Big Sur Marathon Foundation (2019)
  • BirchBark Foundation 2017 
  • Carmel Art Association 2012
  • CASA of Monterey/ San Benito Counties 2011, 2018
  • CCHAS 2010
  • Center for Photographic Art 2013
  • Central Coast Center for Independent Living 2007, 2017
  • Community Foundation of San Benito County Status of Women 2013
  • Community Human Services 2010
  • Conflict Resolution Center 2014
  • Dorothy’s Kitchen 2010
  • Every Kid Can Fly 2014
  • Everyone’s Harvest 2014
  • First Tee of Monterey County, 2011, 2012
  • Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries 2018
  • Girl Scouts of America, Monterey Bay 2006
  • Homeless Coalition 2009
  • Homeless Garden Project, 2016
  • HOPE Services 2010, 2014
  • Hospice Giving Foundation, 2018
  • Housing Resource Center 2014, 2015
  • ITN Monterey County 2016
  • Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services 2013
  • Kernes Pool 2016
  • Ladies First 2015
  • Legal Services for Seniors 2013
  • Lyceum 2007, 2008
  • MATE II, 2019
  • Meals on Wheels 2009, 2010
  • Monterey Adult School 2007
  • Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust, 2019
  • Monterey Youth Hostel 2005
  • MY Museum 2006
  • National Steinbeck Center 2016
  • Partnership for Children 2018
  • Pinnacles National Park Foundation 2017 
  • Rancho Cielo 2006
  • Read to Me Project 2015
  • Salinas Police Activities League 2013
  • Save our Shores 2008
  • Second Chance 2016
  • Sun Street Centers 2005, 2016
  • Unchained, 2019
  • United Way Monterey County, 2016
  • Watsonville Film Festival, 2016
  • YWCA 2009

Stanford ACT Client Testimonials

Salinas Police Activities League
The business plan the Stanford ACT team helped us develop in 2013 has served us well and we have adapted it to changing circumstances. The plan is still in use today and has been a key element in managing the Armory renovation to serve expanded youth programs. – Steve Furtado, Board Chair, Salinas PAL

Center for Photographic Art (CPA)
The Center for Photographic Art Board of Trustees is grateful to the Stanford ACT team for the year of counseling we received in a number of organizational areas including governance, marketing and strategic planning. The process was useful, appreciated and yielded new clarity and energy. CPA reset its mission and is realizing the benefits of focused strategic planning – Jerry Takigawa, President, Board of Trustees, CPA

Everyone’s Harvest
The Stanford ACT team shared an enormous amount of information and knowledge on how to strengthen the nonprofit board, moving our organization to the next step of governance. Our work with the Stanford ACT propelled our organization to the next level. Focused on market and organizational growth, the ACT team ensured we asked the right questions, stayed true to our goal, and achieved results! – Iris Jehle-Peppard, Executive Director, Everyone’s Harvest.

Legal Services for Seniors
Legal Services for Seniors greatly benefited from the Stanford ACT’s experienced team. With their help we’ve focused our development strategy, resulting in enhanced development and fundraising. – Philip Geiger, Former Development Director, Legal Services for Seniors

Ladies First
It was a honor and a privilege to work with such caring, knowledgeable professionals. The belief and support they showed for Ladies First encouraged me to know that our organization and mission has value, and that we can strive for excellence. Their time and investment will allow us to take Ladies First to a higher level of success.- Yolanda Pruitt, Founding Executive Director, Ladies First.

Everyone’s Harvest
This was an outstanding project – far beyond what I had expected. The (relatively) long-term nature of the project allowed us to build strong interpersonal relationships that motivated our collective work together. – Dan Shapiro, PhD, Board Chair, Everyone’s Harvest