“Memorial Health System has always believed that high-quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We must establish a culture where everyone’s voice can be heard,” said Mitch Rogers, vice president and chief EDI officer for Memorial Health System. “To that end, the work of Building Board Diversity to increase nonprofit board diversity aligns with our goal to help create that culture. We are excited to join with them on their mission.”

Building Board Diversity is launching a community call-to-action in an effort to increase nonprofit board diversity in Central Illinois.

Building Board Diversity is a three-part initiative:

  • Encouraging nonprofit organizations to be intentional in their efforts to diversify their boards through education, evaluation and inclusion.
  • Encouraging local businesses to be supportive of their employees in seeking out and serving on nonprofit boards to engage in community efforts.
  • Creating a space for community members to find nonprofit board opportunities that are connected to their passions.

“Diversity on boards and committees ensure a wider range of experience, knowledge and perspective when making decisions,” says John Kelker, president of the United Way of Central Illinois.

Nonprofit organizations can take the Building Board Diversity pledge to broaden the experiences and perspectives of their board members, strengthening their organizations from within. Businesses can take the pledge to ensure that their workplace cultures allow for employees to serve on those boards. In order to help community members find nonprofit board opportunities, the Building Board Diversity tag has been included in The United Way of Central Illinois’ Get Connected database. Meanwhile, Building Board Diversity will provide regular training and resources to support new board members, board diversity preparedness and community connection.

Building Board Diversity was created by a volunteer task force in the Sangamon County community, which included Forefront and the United Way of Central Illinois. As the initiative gained momentum, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, Innovate Springfield, The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce and Memorial Health System joined the team.

Forefront is an education and advocacy association that supports both nonprofits and grantmakers in Illinois. While the Building Board Diversity Initiative has focused its efforts primarily in Central Illinois, with Forefront as a founder and lead partner, this initiative has potential to impact organizations statewide.

Nonprofit organizations, local businesses and community members can find more information about Building Board Diversity and take the pledge at https://myforefront.org/building-board-diversity/