Nonprofits Hosting A Berkeley Board Fellow

Benefits for Nonprofit Boards

Berkeley Board Fellows is an experiential learning program for MBA students and other graduate students created to develop the next generation of nonprofit board leadership.   Nonprofit partners welcome Fellows for an academic year as (non-voting) board members, providing exposure to their mission and the leadership that guides that mission.  The Fellows undertake a strategic project identified by the Board applying classroom learnings and the expertise of faculty and coaches, experienced nonprofit volunteers and professionals provided by the Center for Social Sector Leadership.  These same faculty and coaches provide training for Berkeley Board Fellows nonprofit partners on the Berkeley campus.  The Center supplements training by posting relevant and topical governance research and interest pieces on our Board Fellows Resources page.


Apply and Participate

  • TBA – Professional Development for Berkeley Board Fellows Nonprofit Partners
  • October 2020 through May 2021 – Berkeley Board Fellows serve with nonprofits

* Please note that not all nonprofits are matched with Fellows and that the number of host applications often exceeds the number of Fellows. Fellows average eight hours/month during the program year.  If you have specific questions about the application process, please email

Hosting a Fellow

Nonprofits that have participated in the Berkeley Board Fellows program have enjoyed mentoring the next generation of board leaders and expanding their network.  Berkeley Board Fellows seeks a range of high-performing nonprofits in a range of service areas:  community/economic development, education, children/youth, housing, environment, international, health, etc. Other criteria include:

Mentoring  An experienced board member serves as a mentor to the Fellow for the term of the Fellowship.

Strategically Significant Project  Fellows complete a strategically significant project identified by the Board. Projects must fall into one of four categories:

  • 1) performance measurement/assessment
  • 2) business strategy/planning
  • 3) financial management
  • 4) marketing

Committee Structure  Fellows serve on a board committee or task force, frequently associated with the project they are asked to complete.

Governing Board Structure  Fellows are expected to understand the legal and fiduciary duties of a Board. Advisory Boards do not qualify for the program.

Robust Board/Management  Participating nonprofits must have at least eight active board members and two paid staff members.

Board Meetings  Boards must have a schedule of meetings that include at least two in-person board meetings between October and April located in the Bay Area.


Next: Resources

From our blog


Berkeley Board Fellows Attend Board Leadership Training

The Berkeley Board Fellows program recently convened 2016–17 BBF Fellows for training on nonprofit organization (NPO) board service. In teams of two, BBF Fellows support a local Bay Area NPO in addressing a critical board need, while also learning the particulars of NPO board service by spending the academic year participating in regular board meetings.
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