I spoke to the board chair of an organization that works in community mental health. Reflecting on the last year and a half, he described how the board focused on making sure their organization could continue providing vital services. He expressed their commitment to the core work which meant the board stepping up to raise sufficient funds. Kids’ Problems Don’t Go Away As told by a Board Chair somewhere in the U.S. My organization serves kids and families coping with mental illness, substance abuse, and violence. We work in schools as well as directly. When COVID hit, the board’s first… Read more
Let's start a conversation: How can boards be most effective? What lessons — good and bad — have you learned from your experiences?
As told by a nonprofit CEO somewhere in the US I had a great conversation with the CEO of a nonprofit about managing through crises – as we all have been doing this past year. He talked about trust and honest communication. He listens to his board and communicates frequently and openly. He understands that boards ask hard questions because they are stewards of a precious community asset. But that also means they have to understand the clients they serve. Trust Is Key to Managing Through Crises A little background. Our organization is over 70 years old with about 225… Read more
In this story, I talk to a long-time corporate executive who joined several boards after retiring. He reflects on how last year’s protests have advanced his journey around understanding bias and the need of board members to champion social justice and systems change — because the system treats people differently. He also discusses how he thinks COVID will change nonprofit boards in the future. Every Board Needs to Stand up for Social Justice Told by a board member somewhere in the US. I was in the corporate world for a long time and served on many corporate boards. When I… Read more
For this post, I spoke to a CEO who started just before we all went into COVID lockdown. Being new, her board asked for regular reports on her activities which became even more important once COVID hit. She realized that board members cannot truly appreciate the importance of equity and antiracism if they don’t understand the day-to-day work of the organization. She also observed that holding meetings online became an equalizer for a diverse board. CEO Reports Leads Board to Better Understanding of Equity As told by a CEO somewhere in the US I was Chief Program Officer before I… Read more
We all know that the standard, one-size-fits-all model of governance does not work for every organization. In fact, it probably does not work for most organizations. In my reading, I came upon the Reimagining Governance Initiative of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) in Toronto. I reached out to the co-leads, Linda Mollenhauer from Ignite NPS and Erin Kang from ONN to hear more. Here is what I learned: How did Reimagining Governance get started? Linda: About three and a half years ago, a few governance consultants were talking about our frustrations with the way governance was working and it occurred… Read more