Berkeley Board Fellows

Avinash Javaji“Through Berkeley Board Fellows, I got to work on a very interesting problem for a well established national non-profit. The skills needed directly built on tools I was learning in my classes (Micro Economics and Marketing), and the role I got to play was very similar to one I’m trying to pivot my career into – Product Management” 

– Avinash Javaji, MBA Class of 2021

2020-2021 BBF Participant Timeline Overview

BBF Tmeeline

Benefits for Berkeley Board Fellows

Organizations in many of our local communities are especially stretched thin as they strain to provide extra help to children, youth and their families, in childcare, schools, food provision, afterschool activities and more. In response to this particularly high need, Berkeley Board Fellows this year will focus on local organizations serving children. Key components and Fellow requirements include:

  • Time Commitment. Fellows commit to spending approximately eight hours/month on nonprofit board service. This includes time attending board meetings (usually in the evening) and completing a strategically significant project identified by the Board.
  • Board Project. Together with the participating BBF nonprofit organizations, selected Fellows will scope out a strategically significant business project typically drawing from finance, marketing, strategy, or governance. As one nonprofit partner quipped, “Do not check your business training at the door. Your educational and practical business skills are what are required to propel our mission-driven enterprise.” Project work is usually carried out through an identified Committee (on which the Fellow will serve). Completed project work is presented to the Board or Committee at the Fellow’s last meeting (usually in April or May) and archived with the Center.
  • Mentors. Fellows are integrated into host boards with the guidance of a board member who is the primary board resource for the duration of service (October – May). Mentors also field questions and provide feedback for Fellows on the required Board project work.
  • Students receive two units of credit; one unit of credit for the Nonprofit Boards course and one unit of credit for Berkeley Board Fellows experiential learning.
  • Kickoff. Fellows and Mentors meet to discuss and develop project and work plans and agree upon cadence, board and committee meeting dates, methods of communication, etc. Usually planned in October.
  • Finale. Wrap-up meeting in April where Fellows share service experiences with each other and discuss future board service goals.

Fellows are required to take the Nonprofit Boards: Governance and Leadership class offered both spring and fall semesters . This one-unit course provides students with a working knowledge of the role played by boards of directors in the nonprofit sector and prepares them to be active and informed members of nonprofit board.  Get exposed to all the things you need to know before starting your own nonprofit board career.  Specifically, the course will explore the following aspects of boards:

  • Why boards exist, their legal and fiduciary responsibilities, and the differences between for-profit and nonprofit boards, including Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements.
  • The responsibilities of nonprofit boards, with a special focus on practical issues that are likely to emerge as boards seek to fulfill their responsibilities?
  • The enablers of strong board performance and how good boards deal with the many practical challenges and tradeoffs in executing these best practices?
  • How boards interact with chief executives, staff and community?
  • Board assessment tools and other resources board members can draw on to improve governance?
  • How should you think about joining a nonprofit board and becoming an effective director?

Students will have the opportunity to meet members of the Bay Area nonprofit sector, including current board members, chief executives, and fundraisers to discuss their roles and learn firsthand the challenges facing these different leaders in an increasingly competitive nonprofit marketplace. In order to enroll in this course, students will need to use 80 bid points.


Application Process

  • Nonprofit Applications – due August 14th, 2020
  • Student Info Session – September 10th, 2020, 12:30-1:30 via Zoom
  • Student Applications – Due September 14th, 2020 by 5pm
  • Student and Nonprofit Notification – end of September

Program Year

  • Kick-off Meeting – October 6th, 3pm – 5pm
  • Final project due / Board presentation – April/May
  • Student Program Finale – end of April

Matching Process

Students are selected to participate in the Berkeley Board Fellows program through a competitive application process. Once the Center selects Fellows, it matches them to the nonprofits that align best with Fellows’ industry experience and personal interests. If you have specific questions about the application process, please email

Hear from Berkeley Board Fellows alumni:

Information Session Video from 2019-2020


Berkeley Board Fellows will have experienced board members and nonprofit consultants as coaches to guide their experience, supplement their understanding of nonprofits and governance, and provide consultation on their projects. Please expect to meet with your coaches several times over the duration of the fellowship.

Irvenia Waters

Irvenia Waters
Irvenia Waters is an executive coach, team performance coach, and consultant. She guides leaders, teams, and organizations through challenge, building on their strengths to create meaningful results that stick. Irvenia holds an MBA from Haas and a Masters  in Health Policy and Administration from University of North Carolina. Irvenia has served as chair of the board and trustee at the Marin County Day School.

Read more here.

Nora Silver

Nora Silver is Founder and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Sector Leadership and Adjunct Professor at University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business. Nora holds a Ph.D. in organizational and clinical psychology. She teaches Large Scale Social Change: Social Movements, and Social Sector Solutions at Haas, and most recently she served on the board of the Learning by Giving Foundation.

Read more here.

Paul Jansen

Paul Jansen
Paul Jansen is Director Emeritus from McKinsey & Company and Adjunct Professor at the Haas School of Business. Paul was a Berkeley undergraduate and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He teaches Nonprofit Boards, and Social Sector Solutions at Haas. Paul currently serves on the board of CARE USA (where he served as board chair), as a director of the SCE Fund, and as a director of Zymergen.  Paul previously served as board chair of the SF Zoo.

Read more here.

Lynne LaMarca Heinrich

Lynne Heinrich
Lynne LaMarca Heinrich is a Senior Consultant at Marts & Lundy where she works closely with nonprofit boards and executives to provide strategic planning, leadership and governance training and advancement counsel. She has co-led the firm’s Arts & Culture Practice Group. Lynne teaches Nonprofit Boards at Haas. She is a member of the board of Marin Agricultural Land Trust and Cal Performances.

Read more here.

Colin Boyle

Colin Boyle
Colin Boyle is the Deputy Director of UCSF Global Health Sciences and former Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group. Colin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPP from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Colin teaches Strategy and Leadership for Social Impact, and Social Impact Metrics at Haas. Colin currently serves as a trustee of the Oakland Museum of California

Read more here.


Next: Resources

Fellow perspective

“Working with Tandem has been an incredible experience to learn how a nonprofit board and a leadership team make decisions in partnership to advance organizational impact. Throughout my experience, I supported strategic decision-making that was inclusive, responsive, and centered Bay Area communities. I am excited to continue working alongside Tandem as a committee member to address the changing and emerging needs of families.”
Diana Garcia, MPH
Program Analyst, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
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