2024 virtual

institute for trustees


The 2024 IFT is now underway and closed for new registrations. Board members who are part of an already-purchased full board registration can still sign up for sessions here.

Presented by Essex County Community Foundation, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation and The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

The annual Institute for Trustees (IFT) brings nearly 1,000 nonprofit leaders together for six weeks of educational workshops led by experts in the sector.

This spring, attendees are invited to participate in the IFT Keynote Session plus 19 educational workshops. New in 2024, participants in Essex County will have the option to attend an in-person kick-off event. All aspects of the conference will be available virtually, providing attendees with both flexibility and value. Attendees can participate in as many live or recorded sessions as they’d like.

IFT 2024 Keynote Speaker

March 20, 2024 | 6PM – 7PM
Dr. Marquis Victor
Founder & Executive Director | Elevated Thought

about Marquis

Marquis Victor is founder and executive director of Elevated Thought. He leads ET’s vision, goals, and mission. He believes “creativity is essential for human flourishing” and grounds his personal and professional pursuits in this perceived truth. Prioritizing a process of conversation, creativity, and collaboration, Marquis built and facilitated the art and social justice framework that serves as the foundation for all of ET’s creative youth development work and support for artists of color. In addition to being a poet and artist, Marquis has a Doctor of Education from Northeastern University with a focus on Organizational Leadership.

keynote session

Creating Something New: Pursuing Liberation Through Nonprofit Leadership & Practices

How do we pursue freedom within organizational structures? How can we emphasize and cater to individual and collective growth while the organization’s mission progresses in parallel? Dr. Marquis Victor will discuss organizational practices, structures, and leadership – grounded in the pursuit of human flourishing – that can bolster creativity, strengthen critical reflection and dialogue, and challenge the antiquated systems we exist in.


Registration Opens: January 16
In-Person Event with Keynote Session: March 20
In-Person Event Location: Pingree School, Hamilton*
Event Schedule Details.
Virtual Workshop Sessions: March 21 – May 9
*Zoom option available for the Keynote Session. 


Early Bird Individual Registration: $110 through February 20
Individual Registration: $130
Early Bird Full Board Registration: $500 through February 20
Full Board Registration (Register your entire board for one price. No limit on board size.): $550

A limited number of scholarships (based on region) are available for the IFT. Please apply here to be considered for a scholarship slot.

virtual workshop sessions

Addressing the challenges of a truly inclusive, multicultural board | March 21

9:00AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Dr. Jeanne K Firth, Elika Dadsetan-Foley, Vincent Johnson, Louise Coggins, Prahba Sankaranarayan & Stephanie Blount, VISIONS Inc

All or mostly white boards often complain they cannot find “talented” Black, Indigenous or People of Color to join their boards. In many communities the same few, prominent People of Color are recruited over and over. Diverse but predominantly white boards also often lose these members because of unacknowledged micro-aggressions and other limiting behaviors that drive them away. Most historically white organizations that started 30 or so years ago, also may have structures and processes that inadvertently reinforce “white cultural norms and values.” This workshop addresses and provides actionable solutions for these common board challenges. Participants will leave with a tool and resources that will help them begin to strengthen their internal board relationships, align their cultures with a multicultural worldview, and attract and retain Black, Indigenous and other People of Color. A panel of VISIONS, Inc. board members will discuss the significance of having a uniquely multicultural board in an organization that operates with African-centered values and practices such as collectivism, community, empathy, and relationships. They will discuss the advantages and challenges of having such a diverse board, and will share what attracted (and kept!) them on the VISIONS, Inc. Board of Directors. Participants will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the panel members. The panel will be followed by a presentation that introduces some basic tools participants can immediately begin using to address challenges related to this topic. Participants will then be given an opportunity to “try on” these new tools in small breakout groups at the close of the session, and will leave the session with a list of resources to deepen their knowledge.


Onboarding and beyond – Helping new board members become their very best | March 22


Speaker: Gayle Gifford, Cause & Effect

No more dumping newbie trustees onto the board and expecting them to crawl their way up to speed! In this workshop, you’ll discover better ways to grow great board members, starting with your recruitment process. Then, you’ll explore ways to develop the knowledge, skills and participation of those newly elected trustees and conclude with the ongoing practices that keep fine tuning your board team. And let’s learn from each other, so please come prepared to share your favorite well-honed practices.

Sleep better at night: 11 answers to 10 questions about best practices in financial management | March 25

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: David Orlinoff, Concord Financial Organization

In this interactive session, participants will learn the basics of financial statements, budgeting, cash flow, fiduciary responsibility, and risk management and how to apply the learning to their specific situations and organizations.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: The Collaborative Art of Fundraising | March 26

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Kelly Segal, Effect Collective

Team Work Makes the Dream Work: The Collaborative Art of Fundraising” is a webinar for nonprofit board leaders and fundraising professionals. This session explores the transformative power of collaboration within your organization, uncovering how various positions work together seamlessly to achieve fundraising success. Board chairs and board members will discover their essential role in fostering outcomes-based teamwork. The session delves into the crucial elements of mindset, skill, and will that are pivotal to organizational fundraising success. Moreover, we reveal the art of asking the right questions to engage and activate your board members effectively.

Resilience: Preparing Your Nonprofit for the Unplanned | March 28


Speaker: David Harris, Interim Executive Solutions

The pressure on nonprofit leaders and boards continues to mount given competition for funding, increasing turnover at all levels, scrutiny of programs and heightened focus on social impact from for-profit organizations. Resilience is the key to surviving and thriving in this environment and this workshop will explore concrete strategic, operational, financial and leadership strategies nonprofit leaders and board members can and should implement to increase their organization’s resilience to unplanned forces. After this workshop, attendees will be able to: – assess the current state of their organization, where the vulnerabilities are and how they might be addressed – engage the leadership team and board in conversations to build awareness and develop action plans – prioritize steps to increase resilience and develop communication strategies to key stakeholders

Meeting Funders Where They Are | April 1

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Phyllis Corkum, Philanthropy MA

Drawing on a half century of work with the grantmaking community, Philanthropy Massachusetts staff will offer perspectives on how the funding community has been changing in response to the pandemic, to the renewed exposure of racial inequities, and now to the challenge of helping to create a new and better normal. Participants will learn about trends in the grant making world that address the calls for transparency, flexibility, and trust-based philanthropy. You will come away with tips on how to initiate and build relationships within the grantmaking community.



People-centered Change Leadership: Honoring the human experience and creating sustainable change | April 2

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Julia Monaghan, People Centered Change

The way we talk about and approach organizational change is often very mechanical: tell people what to stop doing and what to start doing instead. The underlying assumption present here is that the only thing getting in the way of change is lack of clear instruction. But unless you are the first organization made up entirely of robots, we know this doesn’t work! Organizations are made up of human beings with needs, unique histories and lived experiences, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and fears. When that richness is not attended to by change leaders, it not only undermines people’s ability to show up authentically to work, but it also just doesn’t work. Those unmet needs, simmering anxieties, and failed dreams have a way of coming back to bite us, leading to frustration, resistance to change, poor morale, and staff turnover. Centering people, and the human experience, is the key to more responsive and sustainable change, and a more invested team. This session will introduce participants to a framework for people-centered change, and provide hands-on experience exploring the different ways that organizational and change leaders can lead with authenticity, invite meaningful engagement in the change process, advance inclusion and equity, respond to evolving context, and center the emotional and psychological needs of staff in your change process.

Passion doesn't pay the rent: How the Berkshire/Columbia Counties Pay Equity Project is helping the arts and culture sector succeed | April 4

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Aron Goldman, Independent Consultant & Kristen van Ginhoven, Independent Consultant

Passion doesn’t pay the rent. And yet passion is commonly used to justify unlivable wages and benefits for entry and mid-level arts and culture workers. A coalition of six employers, brought together by Multicultural BRIDGE, asked entry- and mid-level workers themselves to tell their stories, complemented those stories with new regional data and national research, and presented the findings along with recommendations and commitments to make change. And a movement was born.

Join project leaders, Kristen van Ginhoven and Aron Goldman, for a multimedia presentation and discussion of the project. Hear how the movement, now ten arts and culture employers and growing, is going forward with implementing the report recommendations and turning the dial on pay equity.

Berkshire/Columbia Counties Pay Equity Project is now fifteen organizations strong (and growing): Art Omi, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Arts Center, Berkshire Dance, Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Music School, CATA, Flying Cloud Institute, The Hudson Eye, Jacob’s Pillow, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, The Mount, Ventfort Hall, WAM Theatre, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.”

How To Approach Strategy Through A Financial Sustainability Lens | April 8

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Stephen Pratt, Impact Catalysts

We’re in this work—you know, changing the world and stuff—to realize an impact on hard to solve social issues. We make that happen by developing a strong and sustainable strategy, which at its core, is about understanding who your customer is and what value you offer that customer in a complex and crowded world. Nonprofit strategy is more challenging because that customer is usually two audiences—those you serve (clients) and those who pay you to serve (customers). Balancing the interests of those audiences is what makes a strategy sustainable. In this interactive session, participants will get a refresher on strategy essentials and consider how to bridge the interests of customers and clients. Real world case examples will be used, and attendees should come prepared to share their own stories.


Generation Give: Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Trends, philosophies and strategies in your funding and fundraising | April 9

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Blair Evans Steck, Independent Consultant

In this workshop, we will delve into the philanthropic trends in giving by the different generations, discuss the generational philosophies and attitudes towards giving, and shape a toolkit for how you and your organization can use this information to craft effective fundraising plans. Expect to leave the session with key practices to you can apply to your program.

From Vision to Reality: Manifesting Equity | April 11

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Consuela Greene & Lucas Orwig, Root Cause

This session will address the critical steps needed to move a DEIJ effort forward from an aspiration to a concrete strategy ready for implementation. We will discuss how to approach essential initial steps, such as gathering perspectives, recruiting a strategy development team, and establishing shared values. As a group, we will also examine how to anticipate and navigate potential challenges, so that those involved can be prepared to move through difficult conversations rather than allowing conflict to derail the effort before it has even begun.


Board Practices - Trends and Considerations for Board Service | April 25

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Anne Yurasek, Fio Partners, LLC

Join this interactive, engaging reflection on current trends and considerations for nonprofit board service.  This session will acknowledge challenges inherent in the models of nonprofit governance, explore how Board members can be supported to act as ambassadors, explore opportunities to improve Board dynamics, expand Board recruitment approaches and practices and ensure Board members are aligned and actively contributing creatively to supporting their organizations. 


Breaking the Burnout Epidemic: Emerging Research Related to the Wellbeing of our Nonprofit Workforce | April 26


Speakers: Patrick Kirby, James Liou & Hanh Tran, Institute for Nonprofit Practice

Now more than ever, social sector leaders and their staff are struggling with extreme burnout and a mental health crisis – in need of connection, inspiration, and support. What are the largest contributing factors to burnout for nonprofit leaders in the social sector? How can leaders mitigate employee burnout and nurture well-being in the workplace? What are promising and innovative practices to attract and retain staff at a time when it’s needed most? What roles do leaders, boards and funders play in supporting the people behind the causes at this pivotal time?

Join the Institute for Nonprofit Practice team to learn about the latest burnout and well-being trends among nonprofit leaders, as well as research-backed tools for increasing well-being in the workplace. Beyond the research, we will gather insights from local leaders and explore ways all of us can contribute to solutions at the micro and macros levels.

Arts Lunch Hour | May 1

12:00PM – 1:00PM

Speaker: Dr. Marquis Victor, Elevated Thought

Attendees (those from arts and culture nonprofits in particular) are invited to join us for a lunch-hour discussion/Q&A session with our keynote speaker, Dr. Marquis Victor, Executive Director of art and social justice nonprofit, Elevated Thought.

Accounting/Tax considerations for funding received from individual donors, government agencies, foundations, and corporations | May 2

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Greg Rogers, Johnson O’Connor Feron & Carucci, LLP

This workshop will: provide a primer on charitable contribution theory; highlight recent accounting changes impacting grant funding; and present a fundamental overview of accounting and tax reporting best practices as they pertain to grant revenue received from donors of all types. The workshop will highlight common accounting and tax reporting errors and advise the audience on how to avoid those reporting errors. The workshop will also provide some basic tips and resources for nonprofit development professionals to consider in order to raise as much funding as possible in the current environment.

The impact of AI on the Workforce: Are we ready for this AI-driven future? | May 3


Speaker: Rejoyce Owusu, Comprehensive Community Action Program

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly advancing and can replace specific jobs. As AI systems
become increasingly sophisticated, they are poised to automate tasks and processes humans
once performed. While this automation may bring about increased efficiency and productivity, it
also raises concerns about the readiness of the workforce to adapt to this transformative
change. In this workshop, we’ll talk about how various jobs across different industries are at risk
of being replaced by AI, explore whether the workforce is ready for this AI-driven future, and
discuss how to prepare the workforce for the impact of AI.

Building Healthy, Equitable Organizations Through Succession Planning | May 6

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Molly Penn & Marissa Lewis, PENN Creative Strategy

The Great Resignation has had a significant impact in the nonprofit sector. Employees, especially those in executive roles, are leaving positions at unprecedented levels, and already-strained, small nonprofits feel these losses acutely. At the same time, many nonprofits are reflecting on their organizational environment in the wake of a nation-wide racial reckoning. Nonprofits are in a pivotal position to determine leadership that will be best suited to promote equitable outcomes for the constituencies they serve and to create an internal environment that centers diversity, equity, inclusiveness and belonging. This online training program in succession planning will help nonprofit leaders plan for organizational sustainability. The workshop has an explicit focus on equity issues in succession planning and essential considerations when seeking to amplify the influence of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ voices within an organization’s leadership.

Demystifying the Capital Campaign | May 7

12:00PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Sharon Danosky & John Brooks, Danosky & Associates

Campaigns — the Holy Grail of Fundraising! Exciting, Intimidating, Overwhelming. Yet, the most effective way of raising funds for an urgent, compelling need in a very short amount of time. Today, many non-profits are considering whether or not they should launch that Campaign. If you’re one of those organizations, what exactly does that mean – for you, your Board, your CEO, your organization? What do you need to do to prepare? And how do you know if you’re ready for a campaign or not? Campaigns are unique in fund-raising strategies. They work because they are so highly defined and organized. But they don’t just happen – they are structured, methodical, controlled and require careful planning before you even decide whether or not to conduct a campaign. And you don’t want to enter into a campaign unless you know you will be successful. If there is a campaign in your future, then learn about the three critical elements necessary to undertake prior to launching a campaign and how you can prepare. Discover the key success factors that allow campaigns to overachieve their goals. Learn what the difference is between successful and unsuccessful campaigns and the outcomes of those that have succeeded and those that have not. Learn by bringing your own questions and circumstances – and by hearing what your colleagues are facing, as well.

How Advocacy Accelerates Your Mission | May 9


Speaker: Rick Jakious, Chief of Staff for Congressman Seth Moulton

Effective policy advocacy and lobbying can be a game changer for your nonprofit and the people it serves. Break through the myths, confusions and stereotypes to become an effective advocate.

the IFT is generously supported by ECCF’s Corporate Partners

Sponsorship inquiries can be sent to l.vanalen@eccf.org

get in touch

Rebecca Turner
IFT Consultant


thank you IFT partners!

Brace Cove Foundation
John and Mollie Byrnes
Amelia Peabody Foundation
Peter and Elizabeth Tower Foundation
Edwin S. Webster Foundation
ECCF Trustees

community voices

“I am grateful for the opportunity to improve and strengthen my knowledge in nonprofit management and governance. I do not know where else I could go and find such a range of opportunities!”

– Institute for Trustees attendee

thank you to our corporate partners

ECCF Logo in White Overlay


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