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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.

Program Details

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 then a Meet & Greet Reception with nonprofits recruiting for their boards. The learning sessions are from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM and are all required to complete the program, as is the Meet & Greet.

All sessions have remained virtual during and since the COVID-19 pandemic. Our five required sessions break down as follows:

Nonprofit Boards


This session introduces and addresses the basic roles and responsibilities of nonprofit board members. Participants develop a high-level understanding of board service and the nonprofit sector.

Board Service: A Kaleidoscopic View


This session moves from the legal and institutional responsibilities and best practices of the first session to the realities of board service from the perspective of experienced board members of color

Negotiating the ‘Isms’

of Board Service

This session examines addresses the realities that professionals who are profiled by race, gender, and/or other forms of prejudice and oppression continue to face.

Board Budgets, Financials, and Philanthropic Giving


This session focuses on the financial aspects of board service, both managing the organization’s finances and fundraising for the organization’s activities.

ABC & You


The final session features rotating topics relevant to current trends in nonprofit board service. The session focuses on moving toward transforming nonprofit organizations. Finally, there will be an overview of the ongoing ways that ABC will support our program alumni.

To date, the Board Pipeline Project has trained over 500 professionals to serve on boards.

More than 250 organizations have connected to ABC’s Board Pipeline Program.


Non-Profit Organizations

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 (October-November) 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

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


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Program Details

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