Strategic, Supportive and Equity Centered: Board Best Practices We Need Today

  • Policy & Advocacy

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This session involved a discussion about how board members can lead from the front in dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19. Nonprofit executives also discussed how governance can promote equity and racial justice.

Session Overview

Know What Your Board Members Can Do for the Organization
  • Board members should lead from the front in addressing large social issues like inequality, racial injustice and poverty.
  • Ask board members what ‘WE’ are doing about those issues.
  • Challenge board members and ask them tough questions. Do not be afraid of the answers.
  • Your organization’s success and mission should be defined. After that, board members can make decisions to help the organization succeed.
  • Be careful of giving a board too much power, which can blockade actions the nonprofit can take.
  • Boards must think critically about inclusion and recruitment — both how their organization conducts these activities and the potential outcomes.
Board and Membership Requirements During a Pandemic
  • The Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act allows for conference phone calls and remote communication and video calls if all members are able to communicate with each other.
  • Emails and proxies do not allow for meaningful discussion even when making quick and intelligent decisions.
  • Consent without meeting is only allowed if the decisions are unanimous.
  • Michigan’s Open Meetings Act(OMA) requires certain meetings of certain public bodies to be open to the public; to require notice and the keeping of minutes of meetings. A meeting of public body cannot be held unless public notice is given consistent with OMA.
  • Update governing documents so they comply with Michigan laws in regard to process changes, quorum, election of officers and director terms.

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  • Board members impact the entire organization and surrounding community.
  • Board members must think about the bigger picture when making decisions.
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