Board Pipeline Leadership Development
About The Program
Associated Black Charities’ Board Pipeline Leadership Development Program was launched in 2011 to begin changing the landscape of nonprofit leadership in the Baltimore-Washington region. The previous year, Racial Diversity Collaborative released Measuring Racial - Ethnic Diversity in the Baltimore Washington Region’s Nonprofit Sector. The report shows that nonprofit executive directors and board members did not reflect the racial, gender, and age make-up of the region and the communities that the nonprofits served. Black people and people of color held 27% of board positions in the region even though they make up over half of the region’s population. 44% of all board members were white men. The larger the budget of a nonprofit and the larger the board of a nonprofit, the less diverse the board.
Ten years later, more recent data suggests this gap for nonprofit boards’ diversity persists both nationally and locally . Furthermore, this gap reflects differences in resources for the organization and organizational commitments to equity and inclusion. Nonprofits with more Black leadership and leadership of color carry more of the nonprofit sector’s burden of racial equity work but receive less of the available funding.
It is within this context that the Board Pipeline Program does its work. We demonstrate that there is not a lack of qualified and willing Black individuals and individuals of color for nonprofit board positions, but rather, there is a lack of opportunity. Traditional methods of board recruitment are unable to change the demographics of nonprofit leadership. The Board Pipeline Program creates these opportunities and networks of professional growth and nonprofit leadership diversification. Ultimately, as we change the nonprofit landscape, we transform the Baltimore-DC landscape that the nonprofits serve.
Many of the nonprofits seeking professionals with racially diverse backgrounds are also nonprofits that serve low-income communities of color. This provides a double bottom line “return on investment” on behalf of the community and on behalf of the professionals of color.
The Board Pipeline Program consists of five learning sessions over five weeks and a Meet & Greet Reception with nonprofits recruiting for their boards. All sessions are in-person from 6 to 8pm and are required to complete the program. The sessions will consist of a mix of presentations and activities to engage the cohort. The program includes tools to further advance participants professionally.
Board Pipeline is free of charge.
Our five required sessions break down as follows:
The Work Ahead
Associated Black Charities welcomes the new cohort and introduces them to nonprofit board service and its relevance to addressing racial inequity, creating social change, and advancing their own career.
This session features an overview of the state of nonprofit board service in Maryland and common best practices of boards of directors today. Participants will understand the core roles and responsibilities of board members.
Experienced board leaders, including alumni of this program, will talk candidly with the cohort about the joys and realities of board service, including how they navigated racism and sexism to make impact.
Board Budgets, Financials, and Philanthropic Giving
This session will prepare the cohort to understand and fulfill their financial and fundraising duties as board members.
"Level Up" Field Day
This open-ended session will provide the cohort with additional tools and resources to prepare for the Meet & Greet Reception and to present their best professional selves.
To date, the Board Pipeline Project has trained over 598 professionals to serve on boards.
More than 327 organizations have connected to ABC’s Board Pipeline Program.
Any individual that is interested in participating in the Board Pipeline Program must complete an Applicant Questionnaire and submit a one-page professional biography within the application window.
Board Pipeline cycles happen in the spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) and applications are typically open for one month (February and August). The applicant must commit to attending and participating in all five learning sessions and the Meet & Greet.
If the dates for a particular cycle do not fit your schedule, we invite you to stay connected and join in a future cycle. Details about each Board Pipeline cycle will vary.
For more information, the application questionnaire, and specific session dates, please contact Jon Law at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An organization that is interested in connecting with our Board Pipeline professionals must first complete our Organizational Profile, which overviews the organization’s mission, board demographics, and board needs. This profile helps our professionals and nonprofit partners make the best connections that fit both of their needs.
Once an Organizational Profile is received, the organization will join our nonprofit partner mailing list and be notified of and invited to opportunities to connect with our Board Pipeline professionals, including the Meet & Greet Reception and other opportunities including our Board Pipeline alumni newsletter.
Typically, there is a Meet & Greet Reception in June and in December. Details about each Meet & Greet Reception will vary. For more information and for the Organizational Profile template, please contact Jon Law at email@example.com.