Tag Archives: nonprofit boards

Burlington College: Politics or Governance?

I’ve been watching the national effort to politicize Burlington College’s demise and am saddened by the venality of our politics and our dangerous ignorance of non-profit governance. It’s endemic in Vermont. Where too many of our major non-profits have limped through a decade or two of un-reviewed leadership performance, mission decay, and disconnection from constituents because their boards have no idea what the obligations and liabilities of board members are or even what board service means. I won’t dwell on the details of Burlington College except to say that the entire fault lies with the Board. It can be said that Jane Sanders has a checkered history leading colleges, but all presidents serve at the will of their boards. It’s …
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Nonprofit Boards and Leadership Failures

Some 20% of Vermont’s economy and much of our social safety net depend on Vermont’s nonprofits. Yet the governance principles that help them achieve their missions are widely misunderstood or ignored by the 6000 largely unregulated organizations licensed to operate in Vermont. Recently, we’ve seen several nonprofits falter, followed by charges and counter-charges with the blame falling on the Executive Director – or E.D. – when it’s the board which bears responsibility for the performance of their chief executive, their organization’s effective delivery on mission, and its fiscal and ethical integrity. An E.D. serves solely at the will of the board and when he or she has failed, by definition it’s a board failure. The annual performance review of the …
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