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How to Use charitySTRONG to Build a Stronger Board - Webinar Recording

Are you searching for diverse, talented board members who are passionate about your organization? Would your organization benefit from free training and board matching services? If so, check out this recording of our charitySTRONG introductory webinar to learn how to best utilize our programming:

This webinar covers:

  • How our onBOARD program can connect your nonprofit with talented candidates and how to post a board opportunity
  • Tips for engaging candidates
  • How the Directors U program provides both new and experienced board members and chief executives with governance training and leadership resources to support organizational success
  • Testimonials from nonprofits who have successfully used our services

Finding and Serving on a Nonprofit Board in WNY Workshop, November 14


A Free, Primer Workshop for charitySTRONG Board Registrants

Join us for this free training session exclusively for individuals in the Western New York area who are registered on and are searching for the “right” board to serve on and/or want to learn more about board service.

As a registrant, you have joined the pool of candidates looking for a nonprofit board that appeals to you, and can benefit from your time, talent, voice and networks. Serving on a nonprofit board can provide a lot of opportunities and be very rewarding, both professionally and personally, however it should not be taken lightly. Governance Matters, Inc., the sponsor of and the WNY charitySTRONG Regional Advisory Council are supportive of your interests and efforts and are making available to you this highly informative session that will walk you through the various types and missions of nonprofits, how they are organized, helpful tips in the recruitment and selection process, and much, much more.


Thursday, November 14, 2019 I 4:00-6:00pm



United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

742 Delaware Avenue





Presented by

Doug Sauer, CEO, Governance Matters; New York Council of Nonprofits

Click Here to Register

OCS Nonprofits in New York State Report

Here is the report from the Office of New York State Comptroller:

Nonprofit Organizations in New York State: Profile of Employment and Wages

Leading with Intent: BoardSource Index of Nonprofit Board Practices Survey is Now Open

A Letter from BoardSource President & CEO, Anne Wallestead

Dear     ,

The survey for the next edition of Leading with Intent: BoardSource Index of Nonprofit Board Practices is now open.

It is imperative that we hear from as many chief executives and board chairs as possible. If you are not a CEO or board chair, please forward this email to any and all chief executives and board chairs you know.

What is Leading with Intent?

Leading with Intent provides valuable information about what is happening within nonprofit boardrooms. Nonprofit leaders rely on it for insights into board trends, strengths, and challenges. It highlights important sector-wide areas for improvement as well as opportunities for reflection and board development within individual boardrooms. The information being collected now will be analyzed and reported on in early 2020.

What you need to know before completing the survey:     

  • Incentives include a free BoardSource publication and entry in a raffle for two registrations (CEO and board chair) to the 2020 BoardSource Leadership Forum. Lodging included.
  • You can start and then come back to complete the survey at a later time. It has taken some participants as much as an hour to complete the survey. While this is considerable, we believe — and hope you agree — that contributing to this research is an important use of your time.
  • Nearly all the questions can be answered from your existing knowledge. The only additional information that you will need to collect ahead of time is
    • organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), which can be found in Box D of your organization’s IRS Form 990. If you lead a private foundation, that information can be found in Box A of your organization’s Form 990-PF.
    • organization’s total revenues from the most recently completed fiscal year. This information can be found in line 12 of your organization’s IRS Form 990 or Form 990-PF if you represent a foundation.
    • demographic information for your board members, including age range, race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation (if known), and whether they identify as a person with a disability (if known).

Thank you for participating in this crucial research.


Anne Wallestad

President & CEO

Nonprofit Board Match Event - Arts and Culture, May 30

Are you interested in serving on the board of a nonprofit arts organization? If you are, we hope you will join us for a special board matching event that features only arts and cultural institutions.

New York City’s cultural offerings are among the best in the world. From major symphonies, to small ensembles who create new music with experimental technologies; from Broadway to off-off-off; from Lincoln Center to black box theaters in former warehouses; the landscape offers something for everyone. While major arts institutions have large boards of directors, most small to mid-sized nonprofits struggle to find board members.

Governance Matters works with many of New York’s arts organization to help them find new board members.

On May 30th, we are hosting an event for nonprofits in music, dance, theater and more, so that these organizations can meet prospective board members in one place, at one time. Please join us, so that you can make the connection and start on the board of an organization whose art inspires you.

This is free and open to all -- no board experience is necessary, everyone from young professionals to retirees.

To register, visit:

Governance Matters in the Wall Street Journal - Fall in Love With Your Next Board Member

We are excited to report that our board placement services were featured in a Wall Street Journal article about board matching!

“Barbara Paxton, chief program officer at Governance Matters, a nonprofit consulting firm for fellow nonprofits, said that in making a match, she meets with candidates to review their interests, skills, ability to make a time commitment and expectations.”

“She encourages candidates to ask, ‘Do I like these people? Do I want to be on a board with these people?’ ‘There are so many great causes out there,’ she said. ‘Board service should be a happy experience.’ ”

Click here to access the article.

Nonprofit Board Service Workshop: An Introduction, June 20

Are you interested in volunteering to serve on a nonprofit board?

Do you want help finding the right one? Do you know about the responsibilities of nonprofit board members?

Please join us on June 20th at 6:00 pm for this free workshop on finding and serving on a nonprofit board.

Board service is rewarding for many reasons. The appeal of giving your time, talent and treasure to a nonprofit that serves a cause or community that you care about has its own intrinsic rewards. In addition, board members are leaders and can expect professional growth, networking opportunities and perhaps even a certain level of recognition in the community.

Board service is serious business and carries with it a significant level of responsibility. It is not a position to be taken lightly, so it is very important that current or prospective board members be fully aware of the responsibilities, the performance expectations, and the opportunities associated with serving on the board of a nonprofit.

Governance Matters can help empower you with the education, tools and resources necessary to be the most effective board member possible and also connect you with the “right” nonprofit match. In this workshop, Barbara Paxton, Chief Program Officer of Governance Matters, will walk you through the steps of what it means to serve on the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization and what you should know before you join one.

To register, visit:

NYCON and Governance Matters Launch Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Assessment Tool

The New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON) and its affiliate Governance Matters, Inc. have announced the launch of a comprehensive online Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Assessment tool for nonprofits in the state. The assessment is available through an exclusive partnership with the Michigan Nonprofits Association.

This innovative and tested online assessment tool gathers proven metrics for both board members and staff in three key areas: diversity, equity and inclusion. Participating nonprofits receive an in-depth report that aggregates the data graphically, provides an overall organizational status rating; insights into policy and practices with recommendations for improvement; and, a format for developing an implementation plan along with helpful resource materials.  As an additional service, NYCON has engaged a network of DEI experts who are available to provide customized follow-up support.

“New York’s nonprofits are diverse in mission but we all exist to promote quality of life and make a positive difference.  Our effectiveness and relevance relies on meaningfully representing, engaging and embracing the diverse voices, talents, and segments of our communities,” observed Doug Sauer, CEO of both NYCON and Governance Matters. “Through this initiative and our newly acquired board recruitment site,, we are proactively calling for New York’s nonprofit community, both upstate and downstate, to join us in much needed self-reflection, meaningful dialogue, and actionable organizational change.”

The assessment will be available to nonprofits starting on February 8, 2019. NYCON members can participate in the assessment for half the cost of non-members. For more information, and to participate in the assessment, visit today.

charitySTRONG Launches New Version of Core Governance Course Intended for Use in a Group or Board Meeting Setting

With support from the John R. Oishei Foundation, charitySTRONG has developed a new version of our core governance course, Good Practices for Good Boards, for use in a group or board meeting setting. Good Practices is a free, online course covering the essentials on governance of NY State public charities.

This version of the course is intended to be more accessible for boards and board members. It includes a facilitator-ready discussion guide and has been reformatted to better suit the needs of a group. This updated version also has the added benefit of helping to ensure that board members share a common framework and approach to board service and promotes group discussion of board responsibilities, governance principles and the board’s experience as a team.

For more information about Good Practices and accessing the group version of the course, click here.

 charitySTRONG and Governance Matters Announce Merger



Albany, NY (July 18, 2018)–Governance Matters, Inc., an affiliate of the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) has recently merged with charitySTRONG, Inc., a prominent New York State-specific digital nonprofit board recruitment and education platform.


Governance Matters’ services, including personalized board placement, a national digital recruitment platform, board consulting, and in-person educational trainings, will be bolstered and expanded by the complimentary offerings of charitySTRONG, which include a digital matching database, e-learning modules, and an extensive resource library. All services provided by both nonprofits are now merged under the Governance Matters brand.


In addition, because Governance Matters is part of the NYCON family of organizations, clients can easily access insurance and benefits products, legal advice, strategic planning services, merger and affiliation assistance, financial management consultation, and fiscal sponsorship services.

According to Governance Matters’ board chair, David Birdsell, “For the first time, New York State will have access to a one-stop shop for everything that makes nonprofit boards successful. From Montauk to Buffalo, Governance Matters will connect, and provide nonprofits access to, diverse board candidates with a passion to serve, while helping boards make best use of the talent around the table, and preparing new board members to serve as effectively as possible. Everyone will have access to the full spectrum of services available, but we are encouraging communities and organizations to customize and utilize the tools and features that best meet their needs. That’s the beauty of having such a comprehensive spectrum of service offerings.”

The newly merged organization is positioned to provide region-specific, outcome-driven programming and reporting to communities across the state, measuring board engagement, training outcomes and more. Active advisory committees have already convened in Buffalo and New York City. In the coming months, additional councils are expected to launch in the Greater Rochester and Greater Syracuse regions.

“When we launched charitySTRONG in late 2016, we were responding to an expressed need for support of nonprofit boards in their recruitment efforts. That was validated very quickly as participation in charitySTRONG has exceeded our expectations resulting in more than 79 matches statewide,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo and founding Chair of the charitySTRONG Board of Directors. “This merger between charitySTRONG and Governance Matters is an exciting opportunity to expand service offerings to strengthen nonprofit Boards and accelerate the fulfillment of their missions.”

“This merger is an important advancement for nonprofits across the state,” stated Doug Sauer, CEO of NYCON and Governance Matters. “An informed, engaged and diverse Board of Directors is the cornerstone of an effective nonprofit. Creating a one-stop shop for quality board building services that is highly accessible to diverse board candidates and nonprofits of all sizes will create stronger communities.”


About the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON)


NYCON and its affiliates work to develop and promote an effective, vibrant charitable community in New York State. With close to 3,000 nonprofit members, NYCON strengthens the organizational capacity of nonprofits, acts as an advocate and unifying voice, helps to inform philanthropic giving, and conducts research to demonstrate the relevance and impact of nonprofits. NYCON provides practical solutions to nonprofit challenges of all kinds. We offer a complete continuum of services through NYCON, Governance Matters, Council Services Plus, and Innovative Charitable Initiatives.

Visit to learn more.

Media Contact:

For questions related to the merger or the NYCON family’s many nonprofit services contact Emily Cote, Vice President of Communications & Engagement, at (800) 515-5012 x121 or

To Get Started:

To access the charitySTRONG digital board-matching platform, visit

For in-person trainings, consulting and personalized board placement opportunities, contact Governance Matters at

To sign up for NYCON membership or to access other NYCON services, contact NYCON Member Services at

2018 Salary and Benefits Survey

Every year, NYCON receives numerous requests from members for access to the latest Nonprofit Salary and Benefits study through the Nonprofit Times. This very comprehensive study is compiled by Bluewater Nonprofit Solutions and covers more than 300 job titles and countless benefits. Anyone who has purchased this report knows how in-depth and high quality the study is and how useful it can be when hiring new employees or restructuring benefits packages. NYCON works closely with both the Nonprofit Times and Bluewater each cycle to ensure this survey and report is a success.

On years when we are fortunate to get a large enough data sample, Bluewater and Nonprofit Times will publish a NEW YORK STATE Salary and Benefits Report. In general, we have found that this compilation of state-specific data is what our members find most valuable, as compared to the national report. It's not as though the national report isn't a great resource - however, we know first-hand that New York is a very unique state, with the city's data in stark contrast to upstate. As such, it is ideal for everyone when we are able to submit enough data to generate a New York State Salary and Benefits report.

Looking for a New York State Specific Salary Report? We Need Your Help to Make it Happen!

Last year, we were unable to gather a data set large enough to compile such a report, much to the chagrin of our members. However, the 2018 Salary Survey has just been released, and this is our chance to make sure we can get a New York State report in October of this year. 

Please take the Salary and Benefits Survey via the link below, and please send the link to all of your nonprofit friends. We need AT LEAST 200 nonprofits to participate in order to generate a New York Salary and Benefits Report. 

Nonprofits who complete the survey will receive:

  • A Free Executive Summary of the Report
  • 50% Off the Full Salary and Benefits Survey


Albany Law School's Nonprofit Legal Needs Survey

Research Project: Non-Profit Legal Needs

Please take a few moments to answer this quick, anonymous survey by from researchers at Albany Law School and the University at Albany.  The survey seeks to understand how non-profit groups throughout New York State are or are not able to address their organizational legal needs.  

If you have any questions before or after taking the survey, please do not hesitate to reach out to the main author of the study, Ray Brescia, a professor at Albany Law School (and former Associate Director of the Urban Justice Center):

Please click here to start the survey.

charitySTRONG's January 2018 Newsletter

charitySTRONG Latest News - January 31, 2018

charitySTRONG Reaches Major Milestones

Launched 15 months ago in Western New York and New York City, charitySTRONG has reached several important milestones. Last month, the organization registered its 2,500th participant statewide and 1,000th in Western New York. charitySTRONG also achieved its goal of 50 board matches -- with 30 of these in the Greater Buffalo area and the remainder in metropolitan New York City.

“We recognized a critical need to support nonprofit board recruitment and that has translated into participation in charitySTRONG during the first year that has exceeded our expectations,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and founding Chair of the charitySTRONG Board of Directors. “Our numbers are growing on a weekly basis and we are hearing from many nonprofits who are actively using charitySTRONG to recruit board members and use the resources available on governance best practices.”

“charitySTRONG is a valuable asset to Western New York organizations. The process of attracting and recruiting board candidates utilizing the onBOARD database was a seamless, user friendly process. Leadership Niagara was thrilled that we were quickly matched with candidates that met our specific needs and are happy to share that we recently elected a candidate to our board,” said Liz Zulawski, President & CEO of Leadership Niagara.

“Many great organizations have reached out to me since joining charitySTRONG... As a result, I am now a member of the Community Services Support Foundation Board of Directors... It has been very rewarding thus far, and it is likely I would not have been granted this opportunity were it not for charitySTRONG," said Justin Johnston, new board member at Community Services Support Foundation.

While many organizations are using charitySTRONG for recruitment, nonprofit board education is also an essential part of the mission. In fact, charitySTRONG’s 1,000th Western New York participant is Diane Ceravolo-- a board member of Child and Family Services in Buffalo. This organization has not yet recruited any board members from charitySTRONG but they have encouraged all of their current board members to complete the Good Practices for Good Boards course. "I found the core governance course very helpful. It is a great refresher for experienced board members and serves as an excellent orientation for newcomers," said Diane.

"V-ELMS brought on three new board members from charitySTRONGand we are all working to help grow their organization. Right now they are in need of funding and potentially a new school for their after school program. Thus far it has been a great experience. I am excited because it is an organization that I truly connect with and would not have found without charitySTRONG.”

Megan Grehan

charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Peter Dunn

As a member of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, Peter Dunn, President & CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation, was part of the group that recommended the creation of charitySTRONG’s programs. Peter was tapped to join the board of charitySTRONG in July 2016 for his governance and nonprofit expertise and to heighten the organization’s presence in the central part of the state.

Peter has been at the helm of CNYCF since 2008. Previously, he was Vice President, Philanthropic Services with the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles, CA. Peter joined the California Community Foundation as Gift Planning Officer in 1996, became Director of Gift Planning in 1998 and the foundation’s chief development officer in 2006. From 1994 to 1996, Peter was Program Coordinator for Community Foundation Services at the Council on Foundations in Washington, DC. Peter received a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1987 and a Juris Doctor from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 1990. He was admitted to practice law in New York State in January 1991 and practiced with a focus on civil litigation in Buffalo until 1993.

“I am enthusiastic about introducing charitySTRONG’s services in the Syracuse area,” commented Peter. “We and other local funders have had a long commitment to nonprofit capacity building and board development in Central New York.I believe that charitySTRONG’s services will complement this work and fill in some key gaps.”
Make charitySTRONG Part of Your New Year's Resolution!

Is your 2018 resolution to make a difference in your community? Board service is a great way to support a cause that you care about with the added bonus of expanding your skill set and network. Learn more about what board service entails and search for opportunities in your area by joining charitySTRONG. And, don't forget to spread the word about our free services to your network!

Featured Board Positions

Friends of New York City Nurse Family PartnershipNew York City
Boys on the Right track, Inc.Lake View (Erie County)

    Click hereto learn more about these openings and other board opportunities

    471 candidates are looking for board positions; 259 organizations are seeking board members; 113 board opportunities can be viewed at onBOARD.
    Find your match today!
    Things We Love:Wilmington Trust's Philanthropic Speaker Series Event on Best Board Practices

    This abridged recording of Wilmington Trust's Philanthropic Speaker Series Event, facilitated by charitySTRONG's former Executive Director Laura Colin Klein, covers best practices for nonprofit boards.The panel discussion includes a variety of important questions related to nonprofit board member recruitment, orientation and engagement.While geared towards current board members and chief executives who want to build their boards, it also contains helpful guidance about how to be a good board member for prospective candidates.

    Board Member Education Programs Showcased in Westchester

    charitySTRONG had a unique opportunity to present information to Westchester nonprofit leaders and prospective board members at Volunteer New York!’s third annual Board Speed Dating Event on November 1. This session capped off the organization’s Next Gen Nonprofit Board Development Boot Camp and paired program participants, who completed nonprofit board training, with organizations interested in recruiting board members. charitySTRONG’s Executive Director, Laura Klein, provided an overview of the onBOARD and Directors U programs highlighting ways in which they could complement the Volunteer New York! session. “Directors U, charitySTRONG’s education program, has a free online course that is a great review for current board members,” Klein noted. “We also have lots of other helpful, free material on topics of interest to Executive Directors and board members.” 

    Nonprofits seeking board members at the event include A-Home, Abbott HouseAbility BeyondApril's ChildBedford Audubon SocietyBlue DoorCAREERS Support SolutionsChild Care Council of Westchester, Inc.Clay Art CenterCLUSTER Community ServicesFamily Ties of Westchester, Inc.Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Inc.Hudson Valley Community ServicesHuguenot & New Rochelle Historical AssociationMAC AngelsMusic Conservatory of WestchesterSharp Again NaturallySt. Christopher's, Inc.Center For Aging In PlaceWestchester Children's AssociationWestFair RidesWesthabWhite Plains YOUTH BUREAUYes She CanYWCA White Plains & Central Westchester. “If you don’t find your dream board members at this event,” commented Klein, “please visit our website and sign up for onBOARD, so we can help you with recruitment too.”

    It’s A Jungle Out There

    Guiding you through the difficult terrain of nonprofit governance was the theme for Laura Klein’s presentation at It’s a Jungle Out There, sponsored by the United Way of Northern New York. Bob Gorman, CEO of the United Way put together an educational morning for local nonprofits featuring Jeremy Zogby of the polling firm, Zogby Analytics along with Klein.

    Zogby focused on the big picture – helping organizations understand their target audiences in new ways, as outlined in John Zogby’s 2016 bestseller, Tribal Analytics. Klein offered a set of practical tips on how nonprofits can make sure that their board members are sufficiently prepared for their roles and able to recruit skilled, diverse board members. “While on the surface, it might be easy to miss the connection between our work,” commented Klein, “environmental scanning is a critical role for board members, board members are supposed to think big picture and long term so that they can help their organizations understand and prepare for how their communities are developing over time.”

    Participants agreed and appreciated the multi-dimensional approach. “I would like to thank you and United Way for organizing this morning's informative training,” commented Cecilia Brock, Executive Director of Literacy of Northern New York. “I was unaware of the charitySTRONG website and its many resources. I have registered and asked all my board members to complete the Good Practices for Good Boards training. The three board members who attended this morning's training with me agreed that it would benefit our board. I did the training this morning to see what it was all about and found it to be a useful tool for board members.

    Board Recruitment Made Simpler

    Board recruitment through charitySTRONG just got even simpler. Our technology partner has implemented a new sign on procedure so that you only need to sign into your account once to access charitySTRONG’s Directors U and onBOARD programs. This new feature allows us to maintain security around participant e-mails and other important information while streamlining access to different parts of the site. Please click here to visit onBOARD to check out our current list of opportunities to serve on New York State nonprofit boards or see resumes of qualified candidates for your open board position. And remember that onBOARD continues to be available only to nonprofit organization representatives and individuals who have completed our core course, Good Practices for Good Boards. 

    charitySTRONG's October Newsletter

    charitySTRONG Latest News - October 10, 2017

    charitySTRONG Celebrates Our First Year!

    Launched one year ago, charitySTRONG is gaining momentum. On September 28, 2016, charitySTRONG’s free, online nonprofit board recruitment and director education programs opened for business in Buffalo and New York City. Since then, the response has been terrific: 2,200 volunteers, board members and nonprofit leaders have joined our network, and 900 have completed our essential governance education course –Good Practices for Good Boards. Forty individuals have been matched to board seats.

    “The Good Practices course completion rate has greatly exceeded our expectations,” noted Victoria Bjorklund, a founding member of charitySTRONG’s board of directors and co-creator of the course. “When the research leading to charitySTRONG's programming was underway, we learned about the lack of inexpensive, accessible governance training, but we had no idea how well received and used this material would be.” In fact, new uses for the course have emerged over the year. Some nonprofits are adding it to their board member orientation while others are including it in leadership training programming.

    As for the matches, we know we are going to see these numbers grow over time. In order to complete a match, candidates must not only be interested in the organization’s mission and programs, they must also be available for board and committee meetings, at a specific time, in a specific location and willing to commit to a two- to three-year term. “We are working towards a critical mass of board positions and interested candidates,” commented Allie Schlapp, charitySTRONG’s Program Manager. "But, board service isn't a good fit for everyone." Added, Laura Klein, charitySTRONG's Executive Director, “We are learning that the responsibilities definitely scare some volunteers away, and, this is really not a bad thing – we want to make sure that all of the new board members that are placed are ready to jump right in.”

    charitySTRONG has recently begun efforts to expand our services. The Directors U governance resource library is now available to anyone who would like to sign up, and we are beginning board recruitment activities in Central New York later this fall.

    "I have had a desire to get involved with a nonprofit board for some time, but was not sure about what that process entailed. charitySTRONG provided the foundational knowledge necessary for me to understand the responsibilities of a board member, as well as a fairly extensive database of organizations with which I could potentially partner. I am proud to report that I recently joined the Junior Board of ExpandED Schools, as well as the executive board of DebutanteZ. None of that would have been possible without charitySTRONG!"

    —Rashid Duroseau

    A Conversation with Susan Koch, charitySTRONG's First Match

    Susan Koch, VP at First Niagara Risk Management, who joined the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village Board in December 2016, was the first candidate to find a position through charitySTRONG's onBOARD program. Now that she has been serving for nearly a year, we checked in for an update.

    What has it been like to serveon the board of Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village?
    It has been a great experience. Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village is a great fit for me and is exactly the type of organization I was looking for. I have volunteered at many of their events so far and I am also now serving as their Marketing Committee Chair. I feel like we, as a board, are really making a difference.

    How has the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village Board been a good fit for you?
    The organization’s mission matches my interests and it is the "right sized" nonprofit that I was looking for. It is also in the stage of forming its identity and it has been rewarding to be a part of helping to make it grow.

    Would you recommend charitySTRONG to others who want to join a nonprofit board?
    Absolutely. I was able to find the right board for me which has been very fulfilling and rewarding. And charitySTRONG’s core governance course, Good Practices for Good Boards, proved to be a useful refresher for me.

    charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Carol Kellermann

    Carol Kellermann is President of the Citizens Budget Commission and has been a member of charitySTRONG's Board since 2014. Carol has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions in nonprofit, philanthropic, and government settings. She has served as Interim Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and PENCIL, Inc., and as a consultant to City University of New York, where she initiated a pilot program to improve graduation rates and job outcomes at CUNY’s six community colleges. As Executive Director and CEO of the September 11 Fund, she oversaw $500+ million in charitable giving, providing grants and assistance for the short and long-term needs of victims of the September 11th attacks. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Learning Leaders, the oldest and largest volunteer program in the New York City public schools.

    Given Carol's experience with a diverse group of nonprofits, her involvement with charitySTRONG is a natural fit. "So many small nonprofits are operating close to the margin; they need engaged board members but have no time for recruitment or board member education. charitySTRONG provides a great solution."
    Help charitySTRONG Reach Our 2017 Goals!

    charitySTRONG has set a target of registering 1,000 candidates and current board members in Western New York and a total of 2,500 participants -- candidates, current board members and nonprofit leaders -- in New York State by the end of the year. Thinking about joining a nonprofit board? Want to recruit new board members or get training for your board? No time like the present.
    Register at today.

    Featured Board Positions

    MasterVoices–New York City
    Harvest HouseBuffalo
    Click hereto learn more about these opportunities

    396 candidates are looking for board positions; 219 organizations are seeking board members; 105 board opportunities can be viewed at onBOARD.
    Find your match today!
    Noteworthy: BoardSource’s Leading with Intent:
    2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices

    BoardSource’s most recent Leading with Intent study provides insights about today’s nonprofit boards, including the fact that a lack of diversity on many boards remains. The study shows that boards are no more diverse than they were two years ago with 84% of board members identifying as Caucasian in 2017 compared to 80% in 2015. An even more troubling finding is that many boards are not placing high priority on expanding their recruitment efforts. While many executives said they are extremely dissatisfied with their board's diversity, just 25% of those also report that it is a "recruitment priority" for the board. To learn more, you can read the full report here.


    charitySTRONG's August Newsletter

    charitySTRONG Latest News - August 3, 2017

    A New Approach to Board Development

    charitySTRONG kicked off the United Way of New York State’s Summer Conference in Ithaca, NY on Wednesday, July 19. “charitySTRONG is a free, turnkey resource for you, for funded agencies and for the employers in your communities,” Laura Klein, charitySTRONG’s Executive Director explained to a group of leaders from United Ways across the state. “Some of you may want to support volunteering in your community; others may be more interested in organizational development for agencies. We want to find ways of adding value for all of your partners and complementing the work you are doing already.”

    Several session participants mentioned that their organizations were no longer offering leadership development programs and were interested in charitySTRONG as a possible tool for filling this gap. To this end, Klein described charitySTRONG's educational offerings including the core governance course, Good Practices for Good Boards.

    But, several leaders said they would be hesitant to recruit board members through a website rather than more traditional methods such as established business networks and word of mouth. “Yes,” countered Michael Weiner, President & CEO of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and a member of charitySTRONG's Western New York Advisory Council, “That is the point. A lot of agencies do not have large networks. And, there have been a several well-publicized scandals where boards were insular and inattentive. Maybe boards in your area are not recruiting this way now, but it would be a good option for the future.”

    Klein added that using charitySTRONG's online recruiting tool -- onBOARD, is not a substitute for a thoughtful process. “Our version of helps with introductions,” noted Klein. “Organizations and candidates still need toget to know one another and make sure there is a good fit."

    charitySTRONG’s Directors U program which provides board member educationis currently available throughout New York State. onBOARD is available in the Greater Buffalo and New York City Metropolitan Areas. Organizations that wish to bring onBOARD to their communities should contact charitySTRONG’s staff at to get started.

    "All our board members found Good Practices for Good Boards helpful. The course provided a solid foundation that everyone could work from, regardless of how long they had been on the board."

    Jessica Pirro, CEO, Crisis Services

    charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Reg Foster

    Reg Foster, President and CEO of United Way of New York State, joined charitySTRONG's Board in November 2014, following in the footsteps of his United Way predecessor, Susan Hager, a founding charitySTRONG Board member. "United Way was involved with charitySTRONG from the start," noted Foster. "United Way organizations in counties across the state support agencies in hundreds of communities. Good governance is a key to ensuring proper oversight and stewardship of valuable donor resources. As a result, getting involved with charitySTRONG seemed like a natural fit."

    Foster's career has spanned corporate social responsibility and the nonprofit sector, so he understands the benefits of employee board service. Before joining the United Way, Foster was the Global Coordinator for Corporate Responsibility for the IBM Corporation, leading IBM’s internal working group on corporate responsibility and relations with outside organizations. Foster also worked at United Way of New York City, held human service policy roles in New York State and City government and worked as an analyst in several nonprofits, including the Vera Institute of Justice. Foster is currently the Chair of charitySTRONG's Program Committee and has been instrumental in ensuring that charitySTRONG's service model addresses the interests of prospective board members and the agencies that they will serve.

    Featured Resource: Board Service from the Perspective of the Young Professional

    Many board candidates on charitySTRONG are young professionals, joining boards for the first time. If this describes you, listen to this short, free podcast from the Foundation Center to learn what to expect. And, if you are a leader at an organization that is recruiting young, first-time board members, you will not want to miss the chance to see how your board may appear to a novice and get advice about engaging new talent.

    Featured Board Positions

    Kennedy Child Study CenterNew York City
    Housing Opportunities Made EqualBuffalo
    Click here to learn more about these opportunities

    350 candidates are looking for board positions; 203 organizations are seeking board members; 93 board opportunities can be viewed at onBOARD.
    Find your match today!
    Things We Love: Taproot+, the simple, free way to get skilled volunteers
    Taproot+ is a simple-to-use online platform for nonprofits to find and manage skilled volunteers who help their organization with projects like: developing key messages, optimizing Salesforce, designing marketing collateral, updating HR policies, and
    much more! Thousands of nonprofits are using Taproot+ to get valuable outside expertise for their organization.

    Access to Taproot+ is completely free for nonprofits, so, what can skilled volunteers do for you? Find out today.



    Utica Observer-Dispatch: charitySTRONG offering to teach local nonprofit boards

    Leaders of local nonprofits who want to strengthen their agency have a new resource.

    The nonprofit charitySTRONG has expanded access to its educational library of resources for nonprofit directors from the Buffalo and New York City metropolitan areas to the entire state.

    Joining a board comes with specific roles and responsibilities, community obligations and legal liability for fiduciary responsibility, said Executive Director Laura Klein. “So before joining a board, you really need to understand what you’re getting yourself into,” she said.

    The library, called Directors U, includes about 200 publications, webinars and videos, most of them available for free, that teach board members and would-be board members about a variety of topics, such as what committees boards should have, how to read a nonprofit financial statement and what directors need to know about the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act.

    A cornerstone of Directors U is a 45-minute online course, created by charitySTRONG, on the fundamentals of being a good board member, Good Practices for Good Boards, Klein said. As of Thursday, 742 people have taken the class, she said.

    All of the board members at the Buffalo-based nonprofit Crisis Services took the “Good Practices” course, said CEO Jessica Pirro. Having it online let each board member do it at his or her personal convenience, she said.

    “It was really helpful because it just continued to spark discussion at each board meeting,” Pirro said.

    And a lot detail goes into managing a nonprofit, which the course helped to explain, she said. “That attention to detail is critical to the success of a not-for-profit,” Pirro said.

    Crisis Services also benefited from another charitySTRONG service — an online database to pair up people who want to serve on nonprofit boards and nonprofits looking for board members. That service still isn’t available in Central New York, but Klein said she hopes it will be eventually, after the nonprofit builds up a strong, local network.

    “What a lot of organizations are finding is that their boards are aging, that there are some of the same people bring tapped for board service over and over again in communities,” Klein said. “So they are looking for ways to expand their network of people that they can call on.

    “And by the same token, we’re seeing the younger generation wants to get involved. ... Young people network online. This is a way to bring this additional volunteer opportunity to where the next generation of leaders is ready.”

    For more on charitySTRONG, go to


    Spreading the Word About charitySTRONG

    charitySTRONG staff have been busy talking up our free online board recruitment and director education programs.

    On June 7, Laura Klein, Executive Director, spoke about developing the talent on your board to a group of local nonprofit leaders convened by Sax LLP as part of their Fist to Five series on nonprofit sustainability.

    Later that day, Klein and Allie Schlapp, charitySTRONG’s Program Manager, attended The Board Match’s second annual nonprofit board recruitment fair. Schlapp and Klein met nonprofit leaders from around the city and provided information about charitySTRONG’s free director education program, Directors U, and our core course, Good Practices for Good Boards.

    Tapping interest in board service among young leaders, Klein discussed the benefits of joining a board with a group of volunteers at Franklin Templeton Investments on June 14. “It’s a great way to use your skills to help an organization that you care about,” Klein commented. “You are all really smart; there are lots of nonprofits that need you.”


    charitySTRONG's June Newsletter

    charitySTRONG Latest News - June 8, 2017

    charitySTRONG's Directors U Expands:
    Organizations Across NYS Are Welcome to Join

    charitySTRONG is increasing our reach. Now, nonprofit leaders in communities across New York State – from Saratoga to the Southern Tier, and all points in between – are encouraged to create a free account and use Directors U, our online governance education program.
    Directors U includes 200 videos, publications and webinars – and most are free. There is material from the New York State Charities Bureau, Nonprofit Finance Fund, BoardSource and other national governance experts. It includes sample policies, board job descriptions and much more.

    charitySTRONG’s free core course, Good Practices for Good Boards, covering key aspects of nonprofit governance, will also be available for boards statewide. “We always envisioned the course as one that would be beneficial not only for newcomers to board service but also as a refresher for long-time board members,” said Paul Hogan, Executive Vice President of the John R. Oishei Foundation and one of charitySTRONG’s program advisors. The Oishei Foundation is requiring Buffalo nonprofits seeking governance consulting to take the course first. Now nonprofits in other areas can take advantage of this helpful board education tool.

    charitySTRONG will continue to offer board recruitment programming for organizations in the Greater Buffalo and New York City metropolitan areas. But, we will be expanding this service soon too. Please email if you would like additional information about our plans for your area.

    Many great organizations have reached out to me since joining charitySTRONG. In fact, I was invited to discuss a few potential board positions. As a result, I am now a member of the Community Services Support Foundation Board of Directors, which raises funds and promotes the work of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled. It has been very rewarding thus far, and it is likely I would not have been granted this opportunity were it not for charitySTRONG."

    —Justin Johnston, new member of theCommunity Services Support Foundation Board of Directors

    charitySTRONG Congratulates United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
    Board Leadership Trainees!

    Each year, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County offers a Board Leadership Training Program for civic minded community members. This time around, participants were asked to sign up with charitySTRONG to complete our core governance course, Good Practices for Good Boards. A total of 88 passed with flying colors – gaining a fundamental understanding of board service and enabling them to take better advantage of additional training offered by the United Way.

    Molly Sievenpiper, an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader at the Service Collaborative of WNY, Inc., comments on how she has benefited. "Before charitySTRONG, I had no idea how to get onto a board or what the expectations were. After taking their core course and completing the Board Leadership Training Program through United Way, I feel like I'm ready to look for an opportunity," said Molly.

    charitySTRONG Congratulates the Following Nonprofits That Have Recently Found New Board and Committee Members Through onBOARD

    charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Lee Perlman

    Lee H. Perlman, charitySTRONG's Treasurer, is President of GNYHA Ventures, Inc., a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA). Lee has been with the organization since 1983. Lee is also GNYHA’s Executive Vice President of Administration and is the Chief Financial Officer.

    Lee was asked by the Attorney General to serve on the New York State Leadership Committee for Non-Profit Revitalization and then on charitySTRONG's founding board. While Lee is a board member at a number of nonprofit organizations including the Actor’s Fund, Rosie’s Theatre Kids, Ronald McDonald House of New York, Berkshire Theatre Group, and the New York Organ Donor Network, he has been able to make a distinctive contribution at charitySTRONG. "I have worked with so many great groups, and understand the critical role that a board can play," Lee commented. "I appreciate being able to contribute to the development of a small, new nonprofit like charitySTRONG that has the potential for a greater impact."

    Featured Board Positions

    Behind the Book–New York City
    Springville Center for the ArtsBuffalo
    Click here to learn more about these opportunities

    298 candidates are looking for board positions; 176 organizations are seeking board members; 81 board opportunities can be viewed at onBOARD.

    Find your match today!
    Things We Love: Free Resources on Improving Board Effectiveness
    from OPEN SUNY and University at Albany, SUNY

    SUNY Albany offers a well-designed and tested, secure online board performance self-assessment questionnaire that can be used by your organization at no charge! Get confidential input from all your board members and then involve them all in any needed upgrades.

    Need more help? Take a look at Guidelines for Improving the Effectiveness of Boards of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations. This resource can be used on its own or in connection with the board assessment.

    Both items are available for free on Directors U. Click here to create or sign in to your account.

    Adding Muscle for Staten Island Nonprofits

    Nonprofit organizations employ more Staten Islanders than any other industry, so it is critical that their boards are in top shape. During Adding Muscle: Building a Strong Board of Directors, Laura Colin Klein, Executive Director of charitySTRONG and Rebecca Gallanter, Assistant Executive Director of the JCC of Staten Island provided advice on recruiting and engaging board members to maximize their effectiveness at the Staten Island Not for Profit Association’s Annual Conference on May 9.

    Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs at the College of Staten Island, who moderated the session, led off with a challenge -- ‘the same people seem to be tapped for every board in the community, how do we go beyond this network?’ Gallanter, who works extensively with the JCC’s Board, discussed the importance of looking at your current volunteers, donors and friends and beginning a careful cultivation process. Klein discussed methods for building a deep bench of new leaders including designating a nominating committee to oversee recruitment, adding junior committees to engage younger volunteers, attending board fairs, participating on free online matching sites and asking for suggestions from funders.

    Gallanter and Klein also discussed a range of strategies for ensuring board members are responsible and supportive. Gallanter shared the JCC’s comprehensive orientation binder and approach to educating new board members. Klein commented that “you need to make it easy for new board members to get involved,” including providing “job descriptions” and sample e-mails that can be forwarded to friends and prospective donors.

    Participants represented a wide variety of organizations and shared thoughtful suggestions with one another. The session ended with a reminder -- nonprofit board members have a fiduciary responsibility to their organizations, and while organized recruitment and education and training may be time consuming, they definitely pay off in the end.

    CEOs and Executive Directors Discuss Governance Principles with charitySTRONG and the BBB Foundation of Metro New York

    On April 20, Laura Colin Klein, Executive Director of charitySTRONG, and Luana Lewis, Senior Vice President-Programs and Services Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York, facilitated the first in a series of training sessions on nonprofit governance sponsored by NYC Service’s Nonprofit Board Development Coalition. “The session focused on the fiduciary responsibilities of individual board members and the roles and responsibilities of the board,” noted Klein. “Fiduciary is not a term that gets used a lot in every day conversation, so we wanted to clarify any confusion. We know that there are even some long-time board members out there who never really understood what the term means.” “Too often, board members are afraid to ask basic questions,” added Lewis. “We hope that this session and the Good Governance Blueprint will help nonprofit leaders address concerns about their boards and implement best practices.”

    In May 2016, NYC Service’s Nonprofit Board Development Coalition, a group of 20 City agencies and nonprofit organizations, issued the Good Governance Blueprint – a comprehensive set of resources and tools for nonprofit executive directors and board members. Nonprofit organizations are critical to the health of New York City. The Blueprint is there to help leaders ensure that their organizations are operating legally, ethically and to their fullest potential.

    Governance Principles was the first in a series of four workshops covering elements of the Blueprint. The three other workshops in the series are Strategic Planning (May 17), Financial Management & Oversight (June 6), and Board & Staff Roles, Responsibility & Assessment (June 20). All workshops are free of charge.  Visit to register.

    You may also download the Good Governance Blueprint from charitySTRONG’s Directors U Resource Library if you have already created a free account. If not, please visit our website at to register.

    charitySTRONG's April Newsletter
    charitySTRONG Latest News -April 6, 2017

    charitySTRONG Unveils Board Honor Roll

    charitySTRONG congratulates the first four boards to achieve 100% completion of Good Practices for Good Boards,our signature governance education course. You can check out our new Board Honor Roll here.

    charitySTRONG asks sitting board members of organizations registered on our site to complete this free, online course, which was co-created with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit director education. The course serves as a useful refresher for experienced board members and helps ensure that sitting board members and newcomers share a common framework when it comes to approaching board service.

    "All of us found the governance course helpful and informative. And, we are continuing to look for educational opportunities on the site," said Cynthia Hammer, President, Crisis Services Agency Board of Directors.

    The Erie County Youth Board has added three new board members, thanks to charitySTRONG's innovative and valuable onBOARD tool. We are extremely pleased to have benefited from their unique matching service
    to find these quality individuals

    —John Kordrupel,Youth Services Planning Coordinator, Erie County

    New Resources Available to Help Diversify Your Board

    Due to overwhelming interest in the topic of board diversity, charitySTRONG has added a number of resources to our Directors U platform. New articles and tip sheets provide information on building a diverse board, why diversity matters in the board room, and how diversity is understood for the nonprofit sector as a whole."Studies show diversity is important because a range of perspectives among directors leads to collaborative tension, and that tension is the essence of good governance," said charitySTRONG Board Member Victoria Bjorklund. Click here to access our resources on diversity (please note that you must first be registered with charitySTRONG to view them).

    As a result of our commitment to board diversity, charitySTRONG has received support from several funders, including the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "The Community Foundation firmly believes that boards which reflect a diverse set of life experiences representative of their community, are better positioned to serve their mission in increasingly dynamic environments. charitySTRONG builds a unique bridge to a diverse talent pool of individuals willing to serve," said Clotilde Pezer-Bode Dedecker, President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and charitySTRONG Board Member.

    Take charitySTRONG's Directors U Survey for a Chance to
    Win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon!

    As a new organization, we are always looking for ways to improve our services and are currently seeking feedback on Directors U, our governance education platform. If you are registered with charitySTRONG and have visited Directors U, we ask that you please click here to complete our 3-question survey.

    The survey should only take one minute and upon completion your name will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win a
    $25 Amazon gift card.

    charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Victoria Bjorklund

    Victoria B. Bjorklund, Esq. is one of charitySTRONG's founding Board Members, Audit Committee Chair and an active participant in charitySTRONG's Program Committee. Bjorklund's name will be familiar to all who have completed Good Practices for Good Boards as she authored and co-presents this course. A nonprofit governance expert, Bjorklund was the founder of the Exempt Organizations Group at the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, from which she has recently retired as Partner. She also is a Lecturer-in-Law, “The Law of Nonprofits” for Harvard Law School; a post she has held since 2009.

    In addition to serving on charitySTRONG's Board, Victoria is on the boards of Friends of Fondation de France, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Princeton University, Robin Hood Foundation, and she chairs the Doctors Without Borders USA Board of Advisors. She is co-author of the treatise "New York Nonprofit Law and Practice" Third Edition, which is widely available in public libraries and online. Victoria earned her BA degree from Princeton University; an MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees from Yale University and a JD from Columbia University Law School.

    Featured Board Positions

    NYLaughsNew York City
    CCNY, Inc. (Community Connections of NY)Buffalo
    Click here to learn more about these opportunities

    201 candidates are looking for board positions; 143 organizations are seeking board members; 67 board opportunities can be viewed at onBOARD.
    Find your match today!
    Things We Love: Blue Avocado

    Have you checked out, a bi-monthly, free online magazine for community nonprofits that focuses on finance and business management in a hands-on and approachable way? From budgets to the boardroom, Blue Avocado includes practical advice conveniently delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.

    Four Boards Are Inaugural Members of charitySTRONG's Board Honor Roll

    charitySTRONG congratulates the first four boards to have 100% completion of Good Practices for Good Boards, our signature governance education course.




    charitySTRONG Teams up with Wendy Seligson Consulting to Discuss Risk Management and Nonprofit Boards

    On February 23, Laura Colin Klein, Executive Director of charitySTRONG, and Wendy Seligson, founder of Wendy Seligson Consulting, facilitated a workshop at the New York Nonprofit Coordinating Committee on how boards of nonprofits can identify and address risks their organizations face. “Managing risk makes nonprofits healthier, stronger and better able to meet their mission,” noted Seligson in kicking off the discussion. And, while many of us think of risk as a negative concept, boards also need to prepare for “positive risks (that) fuel growth and innovation.”


    The workshop included 25 senior board and staff leaders from agencies, large and small, across New York City. Discussion focused on the different roles that staff and board members play in managing organizational risk and practical steps that organizations can take to tap positive risks and mitigate negative ones. Klein commented on the importance of recognizing “business critical risks” which have a high probability of occurring or significant consequences. She encouraged participants to provide training to board members, designate a group of board members to focus on risk and set aside time annually for an organizational scan. Seligson emphasized the importance of an organizational culture with positive and open communication that fosters informed discussion of risk and indicated that organizations do not typically need to build new systems to address risk but can deepen current assessment efforts by board and staff to account for risk in an intentional manner.


    For more information on risk management and nonprofit boards, please click here to access the workshop resource list.

    charitySTRONG's February Newsletter
    charitySTRONG Latest News - February 2, 2017

    charitySTRONG Achieves First Board Match

    charitySTRONG is excited to announce our first nonprofit board match. Through participation in charitySTRONG's onBOARD program, Susan Koch, Vice President and Commercial Lines Manager at KeyBank, has recently joined the board of Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village. “For someone interested in board service, charitySTRONG helped me find a nonprofit organization that was not only aligned with my interests and values, but also right for me on other levels,” said Susan. “charitySTRONG helped me find that perfect fit.”

    Buffalo Business First featured charitySTRONG's milestone in a recent article. Click here to read more about how Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village used onBOARD to find a community-oriented candidate with marketing skills and how Susan found a meaningful cause to support.

    “It was a very good board, but still a bit of a founding board. We’ve been growing the depth of the board, adding people with different skill sets and making it more diverse.”

    —Herbert Schmidt III, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, on his reasons for joining charitySTRONG

    Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Supports charitySTRONG

    The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has made an important commitment to nonprofit board development in Western New York through a three-year grant to charitySTRONG. The grant will be dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations in the Greater Buffalo and Rochester areas identify new board members who can help advance their missions and providing governance education to prospective and current directors. "We look forward to expanding our services throughout the region," noted Laura Klein, charitySTRONG's Executive Director. "This funding is critical to our efforts to establish a presence and work in a hands-on way with organizations and candidates in these communities."

    Personalized Matching Service for Board Candidates Now Available!

    Looking for one-on-one help finding a nonprofit board that suits your interests, skill set and availability?

    Contact us at

    charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Jason Lilien

    Jason Lilien, Esq., charitySTRONG's new Board Chair, has extensive experience working with nonprofits on governance and compliance matters. A former Chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, Lilien now co-chairs the Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice at the law firm Loeb & Loeb.

    Lilien was principal author of the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013, which spearheaded the most comprehensive reform of New York’s nonprofit laws since they were enacted in the 1960s. In 2012, he drafted best practices for cause marketing that were adopted by some of the country’s most prominent charities and have since become a national model.

    Lilien has served as a member of numerous boards, including the National Association of State Charity Officials. A lifelong New Yorker, he was instrumental in the formation of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and was active in establishing the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the state-city agency charged with overseeing the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan.

    In discussing the reasons for launching charitySTRONG, Lilien commented, "Our state is home to 102,000 nonprofit organizations that employ 1.25 million workers and generate $262 billion in annual revenue.The value of our nonprofit sector cannot be overstated. This is why it is critical that nonprofits have the resources they need to carry out their missions with maximum effectiveness.”

    Featured Board Positions
    Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility–New York City
    Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara, Inc.
    Click hereto learn more about these opportunities

    145 candidates are looking for board positions; 110 organizations are seeking board members; 45 board opportunities can be viewed at onBOARD.
    Find your match today!

    charitySTRONG's First Board Match Featured in Buffalo Business First

    Matchmaking success: charityStrong coming on --
    click here to read the article

    charitySTRONG Honors Founding Board Chair Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker
    Current Board Chair Jason Lilien recently presented charitySTRONG’s founding Board Chair Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker with a Certificate of Appreciation following the end of her term on December 31, 2016.  Dedecker has served charitySTRONG with outstanding leadership, dedication and enthusiasm since the very beginning and we are delighted to recognize her for her tremendous efforts and continued support.

    charitySTRONG Participates in Nonprofit BoardCon 
    On January 18, charitySTRONG participated in NYN Media’s first BoardCon, an all-day conference to discuss best practices and strategies for nonprofit boards. As an exhibitor, charitySTRONG had the opportunity to meet with board members and senior executives to share information about how they can utilize our programs to strengthen their boards.


    charitySTRONG Newsletter - December 1, 2016

    charitySTRONG Launches in Pilot Sites

    charitySTRONG launched with a press conference at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Programs are now open for enrollment in the New York City metropolitan area and greater Buffalo. There are plans to expand to other communities in New York State starting in 2017. charitySTRONG is providing nonprofit governance educational material and board recruitment services. Board Chair Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker commented, "This new resource will help nonprofits and potential board members find each other while enhancing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations."

    Habitat for Humanity Joins charitySTRONG Board Honor Roll

    Congratulations to Habitat for Humanity Buffalo for being the first nonprofit board to join the charitySTRONG Board Honor Roll. All 16 members of the organization’s board completed Good Practices for Good Boards, charitySTRONG's director education course, to prepare for a governance retreat. Karen Lee Spaulding, Vice President of Philanthropic Support at The John R. Oishei Foundation and a member of charitySTRONG’s Western New York Advisory Council, encouraged Habitat's Board to complete Good Practices after agreeing to facilitate the retreat. "Good Practices for Good Boards is the perfect governance overview, as orientation for the new trustee and refresher for the more seasoned trustee. I wanted to make sure we focused on the right topics and spent our time together wisely. Having a grounding in board roles was essential to a productive conversation. charitySTRONG is an invaluable resource, and I recommend it on a daily basis."

    charitySTRONG created Good Practices for Good Boards with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit director education. This free online course can be completed in less than an hour and is available to all who are interested in serving on the board of a New York State public charity. For more information, please register for an account at charitySTRONG.

    "If I could give the nonprofits I work with anything, it would be to find them good board members who support organizational missions in a wide variety of ways. Board members are essential partners for nonprofits large or small."
    Eileen Newman, Executive Director, The Center for Bronx Nonprofits

    Buffalo Funding Community Supports charitySTRONG

    The Buffalo funding community is demonstrating its commitment to effective nonprofit governance through support for charitySTRONG. Recent grants from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the First Niagara Foundation/Key Bank, M&T Bank, and The John R. Oishei Foundation are aimed at connecting with individuals who want to volunteer as board members and to working with nonprofits aiming to develop their boards. “This support could not have come at a better time for charitySTRONG,” commented Laura Klein, the organization’s Executive Director. “We are enthusiastic about working in Greater Buffalo and contributing to the valuable efforts of nonprofits in the region.” charitySTRONG has convened a group of experienced advisors to guide program development in Greater Buffalo representing the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, the Service Collaborative of Western New York, Leadership Buffalo, Leadership Niagara, The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and the University at Buffalo School of Management, among others. "These leaders were instrumental in generating interest among local funders and will help spread the word about our programs and services," said Klein.

    charitySTRONG Board Member Profile, Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker
    Founding charitySTRONG Board Chair, 2013-2016
    President/CEO Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

    Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker was one of the key voices on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, so it was no surprise when she was tapped to be charitySTRONG’s founding Board Chair. As President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Clotilde is a passionate advocate and champion for the nonprofits in the region and has spearheaded major initiatives to promote racial equity, school readiness, post-secondary attainment, lead-poisoning prevention, organizational development for arts organizations, and environmental stewardship. Clotilde was formerly the Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and has been an active community volunteer and board leader for years. She sees charitySTRONG as “an excellent resource for individuals seeking board service, nonprofit organizations seeking help with recruitment and governance resources, as well as employers looking to provide their employees with community leadership opportunities” and is “proud to support this effort."

    Featured Board Position
    Clubbed Thumb –New York
    Click here to learn more about this opportunity

      105 candidates are seeking opportunities; 76 organizations are seeking board members; 38 opportunities are posted. Find your match today.

      charitySTRONG Provides Board Guidance to Disability Pride NYC
      On November 28, charitySTRONG staff members met with board representatives from Disability Pride NYC, an organization whose mission is to promote inclusion, awareness, and visibility of people with disabilities, and redefine public perception of disability. The organization hosts an annual parade which attracts a great deal of interest and attention but assistance was needed in defining roles and responsibilities for board members who must serve the organization on an ongoing basis. There is also a need to attract new, trained board members. 

      charitySTRONG Connects with Bronx Nonprofits

      On October 21, charitySTRONG provided information about board recruitment and our programs at an Executive Directors Breakfast hosted by the Center for Bronx Nonprofits (CBNP). Participants included Eileen Torres of BronxWorks, Stephen Stritch of Mercy Center and other local leaders. Paula Gavin, Chief Service Officer at NYC Service, and Kajori Chaudhuri, Bronx Community Service Center Director at the NYC Commission on Human Rights kicked off the discussion by describing the services that their offices provide to local nonprofits. Gavin commented that a trend that has been documented nationally is that volunteers want to participate in service opportunities close to home. Eileen Newman, Executive Director of the CBNP, commented that this may be a challenge for organizations that are perceived as having less convenient locations – though the group agreed that technology can help.

      CBNP sponsors the Executive Directors Breakfasts and Speakers Series to provide networking opportunities and bring in outside expert speakers who share the latest on emerging nonprofit innovation. CBNP is part of Hostos Community College’s Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development.

      charitySTRONG Launches in Pilot Sites

      charitySTRONG hosted our launch press conference at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo on September 28 where we announced the opening of our programs in the pilot regions of the New York City metropolitan area and greater Buffalo. We had a great turnout and were able to spread the word about how charitySTRONG is building a bridge between those who want to serve and organizations that can benefit from engaged board members, as well as providing critical resources to new and current board members in New York.


      charitySTRONG Launch Press Release


      charitySTRONG opens programs to support the recruitment and development of strong and diverse boards for New York State nonprofit organizations

      New York, NY, September 28, 2016 – Today marks the official launch of the pilot phase of charitySTRONG, a new statewide initiative to assist nonprofit organizations in achieving the highest standards of board leadership, governance and oversight. The first pilot regions are the New York City metropolitan area and greater Buffalo with statewide rollout to follow.

      charitySTRONG will accomplish its mission to strengthen board leadership through two programs, which are accessible through the organization’s website

      The first program, onBOARD, is an innovative matching service designed to connect community-minded individuals interested in board service to nonprofit organizations in need of board members. The second program, Directors U, is an online library of educational and training resources that focuses on governance best practices and nonprofit laws and regulations. It features our signature course, Good Practices for Good Boards, created with BoardSource, the leader in nonprofit director education and research.

      “Our state is home to 102,000 nonprofit organizations that employ 1.25 million workers and generate $262 billion in annual revenue,”[1] said Jason Lilien, partner at Loeb & Loeb, former Bureau Chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau and member of the charitySTRONG Board of Directors. “The value of our nonprofit sector cannot be overstated. This is why it is critical that nonprofits have the resources they need to carry out their missions with maximum effectiveness.”

      charitySTRONG is an outgrowth of the work of the Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, commissioned by Attorney General Schneiderman. This group, which included nonprofit leaders from across New York State, was tasked with identifying ways to strengthen governance and create efficiencies in the nonprofit sector. Recognizing that strong board leadership is fundamental to the well-being of nonprofit organizations, the Committee recommended the creation of onBOARD and Directors U to improve director recruitment and training throughout the state.

       “We are looking forward to helping organizations develop a pipeline of talented, enthusiastic and diverse new leaders,” said Laura Colin Klein, Executive Director of charitySTRONG. “Because our programs are so convenient and accessible, they will encourage more interest in nonprofit board service and lead to better informed boards.”

      “The Community Foundation is proud to support this effort in collaboration with all of our dedicated partners that have committed their time and talents to make this announcement today a reality,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and Chair of the charitySTRONG Board of Directors. “charitySTRONG is an excellent resource for individuals seeking board service, nonprofit organizations seeking help with recruitment and governance resources, as well as employers looking to provide their employees with community leadership opportunities.”

      charitySTRONG has received financial support from organizations across the state including the Office of the New York State Attorney General, the Walker Family Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the New York Community Trust, Citibank, the John R. Oishei Foundation, the M&T Bank Charitable Foundation, the First Niagara Foundation/Key Bank, KPMG, the Burt Flickinger Jr. Leadership Fund, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, and the Western New York Foundation.

      charitySTRONG’s services are free of charge. All are welcome to learn more at


      About charitySTRONG

      charitySTRONG is a new 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to assist charitable organizations in achieving the highest standards of board leadership, governance and oversight. The organization offers training and educational resources for prospective and current board members and chief executives and an online board recruitment program helps organizations seeking board members connect with community-minded individuals who want to participate in board service. charitySTRONG proudly serves public charities located in New York State.


      About the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

      The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1919 to enhance and encourage long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. The Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. For over 95 years the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care.

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      charitySTRONG Commences Soft-Launch Phase of Directors U and onBOARD

      charitySTRONG is excited to announce that we have begun the soft launch of our two, free online programs. Directors U and onBOARD have been introduced to more than 200 nonprofit umbrella groups and civic and professional associations throughout our pilot sites in the New York City metropolitan area, including Westchester and Long Island, and Greater Buffalo. Our official launch will take place on September 28 during a press conference at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

      charitySTRONG to Hold Press Conference Announcing Launch of Programs

      charitySTRONG will hold a press conference announcing the official launch of our director education and board recruitment programs on September 28 at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Stay tuned for more details!

      charitySTRONG Serves as Board Service Expert at Board Match New York Event

      charitySTRONG served as a expert on board service at Board Match New York’s event on June 8 at the New York Hilton Midtown. In addition to offering resources to individuals interested in joining nonprofit boards in the Metro New York area, we spread the word about our upcoming programming to candidates and representatives of nonprofits. More than 100 nonprofit organizations attended the event along with upwards of 600 candidates.


      charitySTRONG Begins Beta-Testing its Director Education and Board Recruitment Programs

      charitySTRONG has started the beta-testing phase of our two, free, online programs: Directors U, our governance education resource center, and onBOARD, our matching service for director candidates and organizations seeking new board members. We anticipate launching our services in our pilot sites of New York City and Buffalo in fall 2016.

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