During this gathering of Board Café we’d like to suggest having a discussion about decision-making in our nonprofits.

Of course, one size does not fit all, but are there areas in which we could agree about the right place for decision-making. Which decisions belong solely to the board? And what authority can be given to committees/task forces and staff for other decisions? Which decisions are best made in partnerships between the board and the ED?

We can also discuss whatever is on your mind, but we hope this topic will spark an interesting discussion that could be helpful in a wide range of organizations!


Monthly 90 minute drop-in sessions are being offered upon the request of participants who took part in recent sessions about nonprofit boards, including Nancy March’s recent session on “Tips for New Board Chairs” and “An Open Conversation about Principles and Best Practices.” Nancy March and Paula Van Ness will co-facilitate these sessions.

These sessions will provide an open, candid forum addressing the concerns and challenges that the participants bring to the session whether they are board leaders, board members or the executive staff who work most closely with boards. All are welcome, including those who are interested in serving on a board but have not had an opportunity to serve in that role previously.

In advance we encourage you to give some thought to your situation.  Are your board meetings dull and lifeless? Do you engage in conversations with your board that matter? Are you having trouble recruiting new board members, particularly from diverse communities?  Are you satisfied with how you orient and on-board new board members? How are the relationships working between your board and staff? Do you have too many committees? Do your board members help open doors and raise funds?

There are many questions and dilemmas that can discussed so “Board Café” will focus on what you are interested in exploring with your peers across the community.  We hope you will join us for lively discussions and problem-solving.

Please note that this workshop is held via Zoom.

About the Facilitators:

Nancy March, a retired Tucson attorney, has served as Board President for several non-profit organizations of different sizes over the last 25 years, and has been fortunate to work alongside some inspirational leaders along the way.  These non-profits have included Arts for All/Third Street Kids, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation and, currently, True Concord Voices and Orchestra.

Paula Van Ness, a semi-retired nonprofit executive, now serves as Director for CFSA’s Center for Healthy Nonprofits.  She has served on several nonprofit boards over the last 45 years, including many stints as Chair or in another leadership role in addition to partnering with boards when she served as CEO.  Currently she chairs a nonprofit homelessness organization based in Los Angeles and serves as Secretary of the Pima Foundation (Pima Community College Foundation) and in a leadership position for her church. She has a master’s degree in Organizational Development.