There is always a measure of risk when you try something new. This year the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a program of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, was ready for a challenge and piloted a new program called the Board Academy. Based on the Board Academy’s wrap-up session, we’re glad we took the risk.
Lauri Asbury, Board Academy graduate says, “Thank you, Nonprofit Leadership Initiative, for co-hosting the first ever Board Academy workshop for nonprofit board members. It was so energizing to have the opportunity to learn from the experts and to be together with other board members to collaborate and share experiences. The connections I’ve made and the leadership strategies I’ve learned will help me to be a more effective board member, thus promoting more successful agencies and greater positive impact on our community. Thank you for the awesome opportunity, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!”
The Board Academy is a six-session training program for new, seasoned and aspiring board members. Created in partnership with Leadership Fox Cities Alumni Association, this program educates participants on critical board roles including governance, fiscal strategy, ethics, legal obligations and fundraising.
“Serving the community is an important tenet of the Leadership Fox Cities Alumni Association and we encourage members to get involved in nonprofit board service as it furthers their leadership development and helps our community. Therefore, we’re excited to partner with NPLI and promote the Board Academy to our members. The Board Academy provides the training required to ensure our alumni are excellent board members as they help the nonprofits they serve grow their impact in the community while developing their leadership skills,” says Matthew Brehmer, president of Leadership Fox Cities Alumni Association.
Kim O’Brien, executive director of NPLI, adds, “The Board Academy was created in part because of requests from NPLI’s Leadership Institute graduates. After learning about best practices in the Institute, they would ask when their board members could hear the same information. Ensuring both parties learn best practices helps align strategy for organizational growth and fosters communication.”
During the wrap-up session, one of the most frequent comments was a desire for continued connection with other Board Academy participants. NPLI has been a champion of cohort learning and it was gratifying to hear Board Academy participants valued learning from each other as much as formal instruction.
“The group of people who were in the program were passionate to learn and were at all different levels of experience. This was very beneficial to hear stories and ask questions about situations that happened to them and how they handled it. It was a safe environment to share and learn. The Board Academy far exceeded my expectations, and I would recommend the program to any board member, new or experienced,” says Craig Gloudemans, Board Academy graduate.
The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative is a program of the Community Foundation. It is a partnership of Fox Valley-area nonprofits, funders, educational institutions and businesses dedicated to providing resources needed by effective nonprofit boards and executive leaders. NPLI offers a wide range of leadership, management and technical skill-building programs, as well as peer learning circles, to the entire nonprofit sector in the Fox Valley.