Hamilton, MA – On March 9, more than 300 nonprofit leaders from across the region gathered at the Pingree School for Essex County Community Foundation’s Institute for Trustees.
This year marks the 10th anniversary for the IFT, the region’s premier leadership conference for nonprofit board members and executive directors. The 2019 Institute featured more than 20 workshops on timely nonprofit topics, networking opportunities and keynote speaker Dr. Patti Fletcher, who spoke to the crowd about unconscious bias.
Workshop topics included Fundraising: A Major Gifts Intensive; From Start-Up to Stable – Ensuring Healthy Growth and a Robust Future; Deeper than Racial Diversity – The Journey to Inclusion and Equity; Generational Giving: Similarities and Differences and many others focused on board development, financial sustainability, strategic planning and more.
This year, ECCF also implemented the brand new BoardCONNECT program, which connected nonprofit organizations looking to expand their boards with aspiring board members. Prospective board members met in the morning with nonprofit consultant Bernadette Orr for a primer on effective board leadership, then later met for a round of “speed-dating” with nonprofit organizations seeking new board members.
“We saw this as a way to explore a more fulfilling life and scale our impact,” said BoardCONNECT participant, Paul Swindlehurst, explaining the similarities he shared with others participating in the new program.
ECCF Vice President for Grants and Services Carol Lavoie Schuster said that BoardCONNECT is an innovative program that ECCF anticipates will grow in coming years.
“There are so many people in Essex County ready and willing to share their talents and passions with a nonprofit board,” she said. “And a program like BoardCONNECT is a great way for them to begin that process of service.”
Throughout the day, the energy level was high as attendees made new connections, networked with peers and gained new perspective from workshop leaders. Both attendees and presenters – many of who stay for additional workshop sessions – consistently talk about the value of the IFT to the local nonprofit community, and how they look forward to it every year.
“Intensive Institute for Trustees training is so important for the future strength of our communities and sustaining our missions,” said Michael De Koster, executive director of Maritime Gloucester, in a tweet during the event.
“I attend a lot of conferences, and none of them are as well-organized or well-staffed as the Institute for Trustees,” said David Orlinoff, principal of Concord Financial Organization, who presented a workshop on nonprofit budgeting. “I always enjoy coming out here even though it means getting up way earlier than I want to.”