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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’.

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


Board members working in a small group

​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 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.

“This is worth the investment to send every board member or aspiring board member as a pre-requisite.”

Murali Balakrishanan

 “For me , the depth of insight and forethought that went into each session was amazing. The quality of the presenters was outstanding and diverse. I highly recommend it to any board member or ED. Something for everyone to learn!”

Rand Swenson, Board Academy graduate

Foundations for Living

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 re-align committees and develop committee charters, including board education at each meeting, and implementing dashboards for finance and program metrics.

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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.

Board Academy Graduates 2023 (top photo)

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; Jen Zenzick, Girls on the Run Northeast Wisconsin; Sheri Fetting, Appleton A Better Chance; Kimberly Craddock, Fox Valley Veterans Council; Brenda 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; 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, Fanni Xie, Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association

The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region 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. Since its inception in 2015, NPLI has offered 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 region. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, a Fox Cities-based nonprofit founded in 1986, helps people provide long-term support for favorite charities through endowments and other charitable funds. The second-largest certified community foundation in Wisconsin, its donors have allowed it to award more than $388.7 million to nonprofit organizations from more than 1,754 charitable funds. Affiliated community foundations operate in Brillion, Chilton, Clintonville, Shawano, and Waupaca. To learn more, go to cffoxvalley.org, subscribe to The Loop at cffoxvalley.org/loop or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.