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United Way and Phila. Foundation launch Nonprofit Board Leadership Institute

Thursday, May 31, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Collaborative Training for Executive Directors and Board Chairs
Includes Eight $10,000 Grants For Board Development Program Implementation


PHILADELPHIA, PA (5/30/2012) -- The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and The Philadelphia Foundation have launched a Nonprofit Board Leadership Institute. The program will provide collaborative training for nonprofit board chairs alongside their executive directors as well as offer participating organizations the opportunity to apply for one of eight $10,000 grants to implement the board development insights gained through the institute.

Twenty-one organizations are participating in the institute, which is being launched through four sessions this month and next.

"Our research has shown us that executive directors and nonprofit board leaders are eager for joint learning opportunities that, until now, simply were not available,” said Jill Michal, President and CEO, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. "Our goal through the institute is to provide these leaders with the knowledge, tools and support they need to continue to build their skills, ensuring they are prepared to effectively lead the organizations they serve.”

The institute builds on United Way's recently released white paper, The Board's Chair's Chair Is a Tough Seat To Fill: The Case for a Nonprofit Board Leadership Institute, which found that the region was lacking programs focused on supporting individuals in these critical roles.

"The board chair and the executive director are key components in any nonprofit organization's success,” said R. Andrew Swinney, president of The Philadelphia Foundation. "These sessions are geared toward providing ways that both these leaders can work together to help their organizations be sustainable and to have impact over the long term, for the good of the entire region.”

The training covers such topics as the typical life cycle of nonprofit organizations, ways to build the relationship between the executive director and the board chair, and nonprofit finances and fund-raising.

In the first segment, participants heard from David Grant, former President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, who shared an overview of the board chair's impact as the nonprofit develops. A panel of nonprofit leaders presented management perspectives and best practices.

That was followed by a workshop in which the participants together discussed ways to enhance their organization's effectiveness and a presentation on how assessment tools can strengthen the work of governing boards.

The next sessions, on June 7 and 8, will focus on nonprofit finance and fundraising.

When the sessions conclude, participating organizations will have the option of applying for one of several board development grants. Among the types of projects that will be considered for funding are succession planning, board training and board assessment. The United Way and The Philadelphia Foundation are mutually funding the grants, which are expected to be awarded in September.

The Nonprofit Board Leadership Institute was open to organizations with operating budgets between $1 and $5 million in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region.

Organizations participating in the training are AchieveAbility, Center for Literacy, Center in the Park, Covenant House Pennsylvania, Family and Community Service of Delaware County, Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children, Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County, HelpHOPELive, Laurel House, Lutheran Settlement House, Mt. Airy USA, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, Philadelphia Children's Alliance (PCA), Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, Neighborhood Interfaith Movement, SHARE Food Program, Inc., Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, Surrey Services for Seniors, Utility Emergency Services Fund, Victim Services Center of Montgomery, Inc., and YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School.

For more information on the Nonprofit Board Leadership Institute, contact

About The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people's lives. United Way engages the community to identify the underlying causes of the most significant local issues, develops strategies and pulls together financial and human resources to address them, and measure the results. United Way is advancing the common good in southeastern Pennsylvania by focusing on education for children, income for families and health for seniors. For more information about United Way, please visit:

About The Philadelphia Foundation
Since 1918, The Philadelphia Foundation has linked those with financial resources to those who serve societal needs. It is the region's community foundation, serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. For more information, visit