Arts + Business Council offers intensive board training program

The Business on Board Intensive is a new program by the Arts + Business Council (ABC) that will investigate the complexities, nuances and realities of the nonprofit leadership relationship between board and staff in an intimate experiential space. Organizations will participate in board and staff member pairs. A similar program does not exist in the Greater Philadelphia area or nationally.

Each pair will bring to the program one challenge the organization is currently facing. Examples of challenges organizations may consider include how to:

  • Address disengaged board members.
  • Diversify the board and organization.
  • Activate the board to effectively fundraise.
  • Strengthen the executive director / board relationship.
  • Move from day-to-day management to strategic thinking and planning.
  • Reach new communities.
  • Transition to post-pandemic culture and operations.

Through a framework focusing on building trust, power dynamics, accountability, and navigating resistance, organizations will examine their current practices and how they work to both resolve and perpetuate their challenge. Organizations will apply their learnings to an action plan and receive feedback and support from the program cohort.


Introductions and Building Trust: Get to know the cohort and program objectives and approaches. Experiment with ways to meaningful foster trust organizationally and among colleagues.

Navigating Soft Power: Investigate the complications and unspoken factors around power and influence between board and staff. Recognize when to share power, empower and relinquish control.

Resistance as Opportunity: Understand sources of conflict on the structural and interpersonal levels and how to reframe it to move the organization forward.

Setting Goals and Expectations: Explore accountability practices around executive leadership and board engagement. Walk away with an action plan to effect change at your organization.


The Intensive will be conducted through a hybrid in person and virtual format over 4 weeks in October 2021.


ABC recommends a $1,750 program fee for organizational pairs. Philanthropic grants enable ABC to provide financial assistance. If an organization or business is interested in participating but the fee poses a hardship, ABC may be able to accommodate different budgets.


I have not taken Business on Board and I am not an ABC program alumni, is the Business on Board Intensive for me?
Yes! Priority is given to ABC program alumni, but ABC welcomes all individuals affiliated with an arts and culture organization in the Greater Philadelphia area to participate. Individuals participating as a board representative must be affiliated with the organization for at least 1 year.

What is the time commitment for participants?
During the four-week curriculum, participants can expect to dedicate varying amounts of time from 6-10 hours per week.

What are ABC’s COVID-19 protocols and emergency plans for the in-person sessions?
ABC will monitor and adhere to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and City of Philadelphia guidelines for in-person gatherings. Adjustments will be made as needed leading up to the program. In-person sessions will be at the Philadelphia Ethical Society (1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103) where large windows may be opened to increase airflow.

I do not currently reside or work in the Greater Philadelphia area, can I still apply for the program?
Due to BOBI’s hybrid in-person and virtual format and an emphasis on relationship building among the cohort, only individuals from the Greater Philadelphia area are encouraged to apply.

For more information, please visit ABC's website here and contact Liz Thompson for more information.