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Nonprofits ISO New Board Members for Possible Relationship Get a Matchmaker in BoardsWork!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pittsburgh – A new matchmaker service finds nonprofit organizations that are seeking new board members, sets them up with local corporate executives eager to build a relationship with a nonprofit, and arranges their first encounter.

BoardsWork!, a new program offered by the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management  at Robert Morris University, has chosen the first of 10 nonprofit organizations to pair with one or two new board members each from the center's "match pool" of 150 trained executives from Alcoa, American Eagle Outfitters, Bayer, Huntington Bank, and PNC.

The executives, all volunteers, have undergone a full day of training at the center's Downtown headquarters at the Heinz 57 Center, where they have studied principles of financial oversight, fundraising, and planning for nonprofit boards of directors.

Now with the help of a $17,500 grant from partner The Forbes Funds, BoardsWork! will hold a four-hour custom "retreat" for each organization and its new board members. Retreats will focus on issues that a preliminary review has identified as most significant for each nonprofit — such as annual review standards, executive compensation guidelines, or other best practices — to ensure the new relationship functions at the highest level.

"Pittsburgh has been known as a place where the business community is very engaged with civic life," said Peggy Morrison Outon, executive director of the Bayer Center. "BoardsWork! has given the Bayer Center its best opportunity to find its friends in the business community and put them to work in building stronger nonprofits."

The 10 nonprofits are Allegheny Family Network, Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, Mainstay Life Service, New Hazlett Center for the Performing Arts, Pulse, South Hills Interfaith Ministries, Northside Christian Health Center, Shady Lane School, Spina Bifida Association, and Just Harvest Education Fund. Each is now being evaluated at BoardsWork!, and retreats are being scheduled with their new prospective board members, Orr said.

"The role of the board in helping to navigate an organization's future is becoming more critically important each day," said Kate Dewey, president of The Forbes Funds. "We're delighted to partner with the Bayer Center in an effort to help boards develop plans that enable them to continue to strengthen and improve their oversight and governance of the organizations over which they are charged to be stewards."

Orr said 37 nonprofits applied for BoardsWork! Efforts are underway to secure funding for an additional 10 nonprofits to participate in the program, she said.

The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University was founded in 1999 to provide the necessary tools for nonprofit organizations to effectively manage and compete in today's society. The center works with clients to assure that the money invested from public and private sources is efficiently and effectively spent to advance their charitable mission. The center offers consulting services and workshops in many areas including: board development, business planning, collaboration and alliances, financial management, fund development, organizational effectiveness, technology planning, and other management topics. For more information, go to

Since 1982 The Forbes Funds, a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation, has focused on strengthening the management and policy-making capacity of the nonprofit sector. The Forbes Funds accomplishes its mission through grantmaking, applied research, and sector leadership activities. For more information, go to