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A Roadmap to Better Boards

Effective board training goes beyond the boardroom during a site visit to 2014 Fellow Blair Glencorse's organization, Accountability Lab, in Nepal.

Echoing Green’s Director of Direct Impact, Kate Hayes, authored this article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Read an excerpt below, or view the full article here.

Only 20 percent of nonprofit board members in the United States are people of color. Twenty-five percent of boards are entirely comprised of white people, and 90 percent of board chairs are white. What’s more, 89 percent of nonprofit CEOs are white. This is a big problem, because diversity matters; there’s a causal relationship between diversity and groups that are more innovative, creative, problem-solving, and better performing overall. If we want to optimize the social sector’s potential to create impact, diverse nonprofit boards are not a “nice to have,” they are a “must have.”

The good news is that nearly 70 percent of board members are not satisfied with the racial and ethnic diversity on their board, which indicates there exists a desire to carve a different path forward. And creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable boards does not need to be a complicated endeavor.

As the leader of Direct Impact, Echoing Green’s board leadership program, my goal is to prepare the next generation of board members through an experiential program that goes beyond classroom training and is grounded in the idea that we can fundamentally shift the role that boards play in solving social problems. And to my mind, developing a diverse, inclusive, and equitable board comes down to a simple notion, said best by Yoda: “Do or not do. There is no try.”

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Direct Impact is Echoing Green’s board leadership program, designed to equip the next generation of corporate leaders to make a positive social impact on the world. Over the course of three months, individuals participate in experiential retreats, workshops, and immersive site visits. Upon successful completion, graduates are able to join the Direct Impact board matching program. Learn more and apply here.


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