Feb 07, 2019

Board Member Accelerator is back!

Here’s why you should take part in the Board Member Accelerator Series

In the Toledo Region, our thriving nonprofit sector provides the roots that ground our greatest attributes and strongest attractions.

World-class culture? Check.

Award-winning schools? Check.

Beautiful parks and accessible social services? Check and check.

Our region is blooming today because we’ve created a fertile environment for good jobs, arts and entertainment, affordable housing, great schools and, of course, a strong sense of community.

From this perspective it’s easy to see how the strength of our nonprofit community has a direct impact on the vigor of our region. And the best way to cultivate both is by engaging new people on volunteer boards – and preparing them to lead when the current generation retires.

That is why, in 2015, leaders of the EPIC Advisory Council  and Aly Sterling Philanthropy came together to create a solution for assisting more people with becoming leaders on nonprofits boards. The goal was to give people of all ages and experience levels the information and tools to make board membership more accessible (and less overwhelming).

This effort was motivated by several compelling, converging trends locally and nationally:

  1. There is a limited pool of highly-skilled, engaged board members and that pool is growing smaller as the current generation retires from service.
  2. Nonprofit leaders aren’t quite sure how to attract qualified, committed early-and mid-career professionals to board service.
  3. Many people are eager to serve but feel unprepared for board service or unqualified to lead. They aren’t even sure how to approach a board and offer their service.
  4. Most boards are lacking diversity in age, gender and race of their members, and are not representative of society.

It is important to note that nonprofit boards operate optimally in strategy, skill and creativity when they are representative of diverse, multi-generational leaders. Having a diverse, multi-generational team is important to understanding the needs of an organization’s constituents, establishing credibility and cultivating connections with donors and supporters.

With all of this in mind, EPIC and Aly Sterling Philanthropy created The Board Member Accelerator (BMA) training series.

BMA delivers a real-life, hands-on education that empowers people to successfully govern nonprofit organizations. This series is the first of its kind in Toledo and, to our knowledge, nationally. It includes topics such as:

BMA also coaches participants on how to approach an organization about board service and provides related tools and templates they can customize and use right away. Through case studies and group discussions, participants even have a chance to practice dealing with real-life nonprofit challenges.

Within a year of completing the training series, participants are expected to reach out to a board, clarify expectations of board service with that organization and begin serving on a board that aligns with their passions.

And so far, it’s working. Over the last few years, BMA has prepared dozens of people to take on volunteer roles with local nonprofits. We couldn’t be more proud of their enthusiasm and accomplishments.

BMA is helping sow the seeds of our fertile community and the potential to continue to engage and grow is unlimited. Join us and become a part of something great.

Join us for the next series, scheduled for September 24-25, 2019. You can register HERE.

Contact Sara Swisher for more information at sara.swisher@toledochamber.com

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