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Capacity Building and Technical Assistance / Board Building Initiatives

Cause Strategy Partners

Following initial 2015 funding that helped launch Cause Strategy Partners (CSP), the foundation provided a second round of funding in 2016 to build on CSP’s success at placing younger, next-generation members on the boards of New York City nonprofits, including Heckscher grantees.

Funding will support a new cohort of BoardLead, a program focused solely on next-generation board development, with the goal of diversifying and strengthening nonprofit boards by offering an on-ramp for earlier-career professionals to connect to board service. Through the 2015 and 2016 investments, 36 board members were elected to serve on the boards of 16 nonprofits serving children and youth in New York City, adding diversity to these boards in terms of age, race, ethnic background, and skill sets.

Those elected to serve as board members received training through a unique 12-month CSP course and are supported to help troubleshoot early challenges that develop in their tenure as new board members. Measures of success for this initiative center on full board engagement and include length of service, contributions, and leadership positions.

In its initial year, BoardLead engaged eight corporate partners, two foundations, 40 nonprofits, and 150-plus board candidates, demonstrating early success in cultivating a growing interest by young professionals in joining nonprofit boards. In 2016, CSP expanded BoardLead from New York City to Chicago and plans to add one additional city in the next year.