Board Stories (Plus Board Development Scholarship Info)

I don’t often see blog entries on someone’s practical experience solving board related problems so I was pleased to follow a link on a Non Profit Law blog Tweets of the Week Entry to BoardSource’s Board Life Matters blog. There Melissa Sines talks about her experience on a board experiencing Battered Board Syndrome in the wake of the Executive Director’s unexpected departure.

She relates some very common problems her board faced:

“The relationship between board and staff had always been a rocky one in our organization. It was hard to ignore the finger-pointing taking place on both sides of the table. It was a classic case of management saying, “The board doesn’t fundraise enough, what good are they?” and the board saying, “The staff doesn’t listen to anything we say, anyway, what use are we?”

She credits a grant that allowed her board to engage in a year long training process covering myriad issues with saving the organization.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read the rest of the blog to see how useful it might be, but I couldn’t help but notice the most recent entry offering 20 scholarships to allow “emerging nonprofit leaders to participate in the annual BoardSource Leadership Forum to deepen their governance knowledge.”

This is the first scholarship I have heard with the aim of improving board governance so it bears attention. The criteria are:

* Are either
o nonprofit board members with less than three years of experience serving on a nonprofit board
o nonprofit executives or staff members with less than three years of experience working with a nonprofit board
* Have demonstrated leadership ability and potential for their organization and the nonprofit community
* Are affiliated with a nonprofit organization that has an annual budget less than $5 million
* Will enrich the diversity of the sector. Diversity includes but is not limited to age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability.
* Would not otherwise be able to attend the BoardSource Leadership Forum and have not attended a previous Forum

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


1 thought on “Board Stories (Plus Board Development Scholarship Info)”

  1. Hey, thanks for the mention of my blog! much appreciated!

    (and sorry for the late reply, was just doing the google search of my name and got pointed here!)



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