Leadership Council prepared to help nonprofits diversify their boards

Recently, a local nonprofit executive director contacted Leadership Council for Nonprofits to request help finding new board members.

           “I am interested in learning more about how I can work with Leadership Council to find individuals available and interested in serving on nonprofit boards,” she said to Jack FitzGerald, who manages Leadership Council’s Board Orientation + Leadership Development program (BOLD).

She said her board has over 20 people on it and only one minority member. As a result of what she learned about BOLD, she no longer wants to rely on the traditional means of referral – asking board members who they know – but plans to work strategically with Leadership Council to identify a list of diverse and board-educated candidates aligned with her nonprofit’s needs.  

BOLD, a program established by United Way of Greater Cincinnati in 1991, transitioned to Leadership Council for Nonprofits in 2019. BOLD serves the nonprofit community by developing board leaders representative of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities. 

Leadership Council for Nonprofits was founded in 1977 as the Council of Agency Executives, made up of all the Executive Directors/CEO’s of United Way of Greater Cincinnati funded agencies. Today, Leadership Council works with its 230 members to maximize impact, develop their leaders, and strengthen the community. Leadership Council’s mission aligns with the purpose of BOLD, and during the 2019-2020 year, 137 professionals became trained for nonprofit board service, with nearly 50% placed onto nonprofit boards.

BOLD training in action during COVID-19

Nonprofit boards reportedly are no more diverse today than they were 30 years ago, and current recruitment priorities indicate, as found in the Leading With Intent Study, this is unlikely to change.

Additional research from Koya Partners found nonprofits do not have the connections or knowledge of how to diversify their boards. In light of this research and increased racial tensions earlier this year, BOLD partnered with Black Achievers to strategically and intentionally advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nonprofit community. Modeling the way, BOLD has pledged that future classes will have 50% minority representation.

As Leadership Council looks forward to the new year, BOLD will add value to both the nonprofit and private sector through nonprofit board training. Data from the Better World Leadership group links nonprofit board training and service to employee leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and corporate social responsibility. 

Individuals and organizations can work with Leadership Council to serve the nonprofit community by developing board leaders through BOLD. Many notable Cincinnati companies participated and sponsored BOLD in 2020.  In 2021, BOLD will be held once per quarter and is offering new package options to sponsor employee participation.  Applications for the next BOLD class are on Leadership Council’s website. Scholarships are available on an as-needed basis.

More about BOLD

BOLD is Greater Cincinnati’s leading nonprofit board leadership development program. Our purpose is to provide a transformational board leadership development experience to educate and empower local leaders to serve boldly. 

  • We prepare participants for meaningful nonprofit board service through our robust 8-week curriculum.​We connect leaders to a network of more than 200 local nonprofits and hundreds of BOLD alumni. ​
  • We advance company goals through leadership development, recruitment and retention, and corporate social responsibility. ​
  • We strengthen the community through a commitment to inclusive and racially diverse leadership.

Since 1991, the BOLD program, formerly offered by United Way of Greater Cincinnati, has provided board leadership training to more than 1,500 community leaders serve hundreds of nonprofits.

The 2020 sponsors of the BOLD program include: Fifth Third BankBKD CPAs & AdvisorsNextStep Networking, & JPS Nonprofit Strategies.


This content gratefully provided by Leadership Council for Nonprofits.

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