American Express Leadership Academy
A Common Purpose Program for nonprofit leaders in partnership with the American Express Foundation


For over a decade the American Express Leadership Academy has aimed to strengthen the sector by building the capacity of its leaders.

This year we are bringing together Resilient Changemakers who are addressing complex challenges in the nonprofit sector. The program is transformative by design – supporting leaders to drive change forward in their worlds.

Find out more information on the first class of 2023 in the Americas here.

Jennifer Skyler, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Chair of the American Express Foundation

Nonprofits are facing high leadership turnover and burnout at a time when their services are needed the most. We transformed the Leadership Academy to help nonprofit leaders accelerate their development and build new skills to meet the unique challenges of this moment. 

Who is it for?

The Academy is for people in the nonprofit sector who are intentionally striving to be better equipped to respond adaptively to challenges and keep going in the face of adversity.

As a Resilient Changemaker you are looking to:

  • have a growth mindset and be continually learning
  • have (or are striving for) high levels of grit and perseverance
  • see failures as minor setbacks, with the tenacity to bounce back quickly and turn challenges into opportunities
  • maintain a positive attitude when faced with change
  • set the pace in leading from the front and
  • take creative action to drive innovation.

In so doing you can move your organization forward, with a greater potential to create a wider impact in society, because you are better able to cope with the pressures of our modern world.

This program is fully funded for all successful applicants. 

Why choose the Academy?

At the end of the experience, you will leave with:

Greater self-awareness, understanding and confidence in their role as a leader

Greater resolve and stamina for leading change, particularly in times of uncertainty

Greater ability to connect with others using the power of storytelling

A deeper commitment to addressing key issues currently effecting the non-profit sector

The programme

There will be 3 regional hubs running the Academy during 2023/24; London (for UK/Europe/Middle East and Africa), Singapore (for South East Asia and wider Asia-Pacific), and New York (for the Americas). The six-month Academy is a combination of both online (8 hours), and in-person (4 days) components.

*content is subject to change

Pre-program (part 1)
(3.5 hours online)

Welcome to your group and introduction to Executive Coaching

Pre-program (part 2)

Complete a 360 Evaluation linked to being a Resilient Changemaker

Pre-program (part 3)

1:1 coaching session based on your 360 Evaluation

Day 1
(8 hours in-person)

Leading self and inspiring change

Day 2
(8 hours in-person)

Bringing the outside world in an immersive experience

Day 3
(8 hours in-person)

The power of storytelling (and 1:1 coaching)

Day 4
(6 hours in-person)

Innovation and moving forwards

Post-Program (Part 1)

A follow up 1:1 coaching session

Post-Program (Part 2)
(3 hours online)

Translate session focusing on what is has been like back in your organization post Academy experience

UK American Express Leadership Academy Highlights | Common Purpose

Hong Kong American Express Leadership Academy Highlights | Common Purpose

More information

To apply for the upcoming UK and EMEA Academy in London in July 2023, please click here.

The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. BST on Sunday, June 4.


If you work in the nonprofit sector you can register your interest in future Academies in Asia-Pacific and Americas, please click here.

Adirupa Sengupta, Group Chief Executive, Common Purpose Charitable Trust

Common Purpose is delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with American Express, in designing and delivering a re-shaped and re-imagined leadership experience for the nonprofit sector. One that will not only strengthen the sector, by building the capacity of its leaders, but also inspire Resilient Changemakers to address some of the sector’s most complex challenges.

Brought to you by 

American Express Foundation

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Funding for the American Express Leadership Academy is provided by American Express. Common Purpose is responsible for the overall program including curriculum design and content, delivery and administration of the American Express Leadership Academy.