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The Nonprofit Board Leadership Program at Columbia Business School cultivates the next generation of nonprofit board leaders while providing a valuable service to alumni and the nonprofit organizations on whose boards they serve. The program was created in response to the high level of student interest in nonprofit board service and nonprofit organizations’ growing need for board members with business training and experience.
Participating students gain:
- Practical experience to help them better understand strategic and tactical issues facing nonprofit boards;
- Insight into the differing roles of board members and nonprofit managers and the challenges both parties encounter in driving the nonprofit’s success;
- Inspiration and excitement in anticipation of contributing as future board members in the nonprofit sector.
The program has three components: training sessions at the School; observation of the nonprofit organization and its board or appropriate committees of the board; and a student project conducted with the alumnus and the executive director of the relevant nonprofit organization.
Alumni play a key role in the program. Each alumnus introduces the student to the executive director of the nonprofit organization, and together they agree on a project to be completed during the course of the academic year. This project bolsters the alumnus board member’s and executive director’s understanding of an issue important to the nonprofit and provides the student with a meaningful experience that draws on his or her course work at the School. Before attending any board or committee meetings, students are expected to have gained an understanding of the nonprofit as a whole. To that end, we expect students to observe the nonprofit’s operations by attending one or more staff meetings and serving as a volunteer, if applicable.