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Academy prepares nonprofit board members for roles ahead

Do you have a job description? If so, have you looked at it recently? Job descriptions for nonprofit board members can be complicated and, like many job descriptions, can include the catch-all phrase “other duties as assigned.”

Board Academy working in small group: Adrianna McCleer, Fanni Xie, Sandy Hupfer

Nonprofit Leadership Initiative’s Board Academy helps nonprofit board members understand the long list of responsibilities listed in their job description, and how those ‘all other duties’ fit into their role.

Nineteen community leaders participated in the 2023 Board Academy — a six-session program designed to build board members’ knowledge, confidence, and understanding of their responsibilities as well as insight into the nonprofit board/staff relationship. Program sessions are taught by content experts in a peer-learning environment, including topics on governance, resource development, fiscal strategy, and ethics/legal obligations.

It was exciting to read participants’ surveys after each session and learn their plans for strengthening their organization. Their plans are ambitious and varied.

A sampling of their responses includes plans to realign committees and develop committee charters, including board education at each meeting, and implementing dashboards for finance and program metrics.

Executive directors join Board Academy’s last session to answer questions and share examples of how they work with their boards. Pictured, Oliver Zornow, The Building for Kids Children’s Museum; Lisa Strandberg, Pillars, Inc.; Susan VandenHeuvel, Volunteer Fox Cities, Kristen Trimberger, Reach Counseling; Rosangela Berbert, Samaritan Counseling

A panel of nonprofit executive directors (pictured) joined us at our final session. As Board Academy participants asked questions of the panelists, it was clear they wanted to hear how what they had learned was being implemented at other nonprofits.

Based on the questions asked and the plans shared by Board Academy participants, it’s a privilege to know that these dedicated board members are serving nonprofits and helping them better achieve their missions so they can make our community better for all.

Pictured at top:  Board Academy Graduates 2023 Seated: Robin Madson, Foundations for Living; Lindsay Roake, Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association; John Koehler, Fox Valley Veterans Council; Adriana McCleer, Casa Hispana; Row 2: Cainan Davenport, People of Progression; Holly Kowalski, The Trout Museum of Art; Jenn Zenzic, Girls on the Run Northeast Wisconsin; Sheri Fetting, Appleton A Better Chance; Kimberly Craddock, Fox Valley Veterans Council; Vrenda Smongeski, First English Lutheran Church; William Skarie, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve; Row 3; Jennifer McIntosh, Fox Valley Humane Association; Murali Balakrishnan; Kelly Hanink, Appleton Food Pantry; and Rand Swenson, Foundations for Living Waupaca. Not pictured: Eric Brieland, Trout Museum of Art; Sandra Hupfer, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra; Jodie Larsen, Faith Lutheran Church; and Fanni Xie, Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association.

Annette Look, NPLI Program and Communications Manager

The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative within the Community Foundation 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.

We support  NPLI with a grant from the Community Vision Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, one among many community partners supporting NPLI. Click here to learn more.

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