Working with Foundations

BoardSource works with foundations to help support their, as well as their grantees’, board leadership and development. We also depend on the support of foundations to accomplish our important sector-wide work.

Investments by foundations make a difference, and help nonprofit organizations sustain the important work that they do. Similar to the way that the financial resources you grant to your nonprofit partners help support and sustain their work, the work of each foundation’s board can provide the leadership, strategy, and oversight needed to build the organization’s impact and resilience.

Boards play a pivotal role in organizational leadership. Strong boards make an organization more effective and resilient; weak boards do the opposite. That’s why more and more grantmakers are acknowledging the critical leadership role that boards play.

BoardSource celebrates and supports the critical role that foundations play in strengthening board leadership in the following ways:

Support Your Board

Foundations can model the importance of thoughtful and strategic board leadership through their own board’s leadership and governance practices.

We’ve designed the Foundation Board Assessment Program to help you do that. It includes year-round board support with access to the Foundation Board Self-Assessment tool and many other valuable resources.

Support Your Grantees

Foundations work to build the effectiveness of grantees’ boards by providing them with programs and resources to strengthen their leadership.

We partner with grantmakers to design and implement board development programs that meet grantee organizations where they are and help them identify and achieve goals for their board’s performance.

Support the Sector

BoardSource’s leadership agenda relies on the generosity of our philanthropic partners, including members of the Partnership for Effective Board Leadership.

Through an annual commitment, foundation members signal their dedication to strong board leadership – for themselves, their grantees, and the sector as a whole.


If you’re interested in talking with us about your foundation’s specific needs and goals, please reach out to us at