Nonprofit Board Fellows
For Nonprofit Organizations
The Board Fellowship Program prepares University of Michigan graduate students for responsible community involvement and practical leadership experience. For an academic year, students are placed on nonprofit governing boards in Southeast Michigan as non-voting members.
Since 1999, over 800 Board Fellows have been placed with over 300 nonprofit organizations. These students have assisted in various board initiatives, including supporting strategic planning development to furthering programs and enterprises. Nonprofit organizations gain access to future community leaders with fresh perspectives and talents, the time and expertise of outstanding graduate students, and a connection with the University of Michigan. Meanwhile, students gain practical board experience, skills, and networks to further their community engagement.
Board Fellows serve as non-voting board members for an academic cycle (from October through April), and complete a board-level project over the course of their placement. Students work closely with the board and executive director of their assigned organization, attend board meetings, serve on committees, and engage with the issues facing the organization. In other words, they serve in the same capacity as any other board member.
Nonprofit Application for 2023-24 closed in July 2023.
- Read the Information sheet about the program
- Watch recording of the 2023 virtual Info Session
- Watch an informational video about the upcoming 2023-24 cohort
NONPROFIT APPLICATION PROCESS
Applications from nonprofit organizations are accepted on a rolling basis through mid-July. Within 2 weeks of submission, the Business+Impact staff reaches out to schedule a meeting to discuss your proposed project and application.
- See photos of four 2022-23 Nonprofit Board Fellows onsite at three regional nonprofits
- Read about the 2022-23 Board Fellows and Organizations
- See photo album from 2022-23 Board Fellows Orientation
— Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK
If you are a nonprofit considering participating in the Board Fellowship Program, there are a few critical elements to ensure a successful experience:
Board Fellows voluntarily commit a similar amount of time per month as a full board member (no more than 10 hours/month); they attend board meetings, committee meetings, and complete their projects. We strongly encourage the Board Fellow(s) and their mentor(s) to set a regular meeting and communication schedule at the beginning of their engagement.
To ensure an effective and mutually beneficial working relationship, the organization must:
- Assign a board member to serve as the Board Fellow’s primary mentor
- Assign an executive staff member as a primary point of contact with the organization
- Provide a formal introduction to the organization and the expectations of board members
- Enable the Board Fellow(s) to complete one or two meaningful, mutually beneficial projects
- Complete a mid-year and final evaluation of the Board Fellow’s progress