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GVSU launches project to help develop nonprofit boards

  • A logo that says "Ecosystem for Nonprofit Leadership" over a background of blue and dark pink triangles

Posted on July 17, 2019

While leaders of nonprofit organizations know that their board members can have a significant impact on the work an organization does, few resources exist to help leaders build their own abilities to work with board members and select board members who can effectively foster success.

The Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University is working to help the nonprofit sector develop more diverse and inclusive boardrooms while ensuring effective board experiences that will help organizations thrive.

The Johnson Center is launching a new initiative, The Ecosystem for Nonprofit Leadership, in partnership with Ferris State University and other area nonprofit organizations. Co-chaired by Tamela Spicer, program manager at the Johnson Center, and Carlos Sanchez, director of the Latino Business and Economic Development Center at FSU, the initiative seeks to prepare community members for board service and develop greater nonprofit capacity to support effective boards.

"We know that nonprofits are vital to healthy communities and are instrumental in the success of local governments and businesses," said Spicer. "However, governing boards can be the deciding factor in the success or struggles of a nonprofit organization despite competent leadership and staffing. We want to ensure that community members are equipped for board service and can easily connect to organizations that will foster that service."

The initiative is driven by leaders from local organizations and aims to develop a curriculum that can be integrated into existing leadership programs, making board service training more accessible to the community.

The program is being supported by leaders from many area organizations, including Mercy Health, Kids' Food Basket, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Urban League, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Amway and more.

For more information, visit johnsoncenter.org.