Empowering Boards. Inspiring Leadership

aka National Center for Nonprofit Boards   |   Washington, DC   |


We envision a future where the nonprofit community has the leadership to fulfill its purpose and create a just world where all can thrive. Our mission is to inspire and support nonprofit boards and executives to lead justly and with purpose.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Ms. Anne Wallestad

Main address

750 9th street NW Suite 650

Washington, DC 20001 USA

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Formerly known as

National Center for Nonprofit Boards



NTEE code info

Management & Technical Assistance (S02)

Voluntarism Promotion (T40)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Established in 1988, BoardSource is an organization working to strengthen nonprofit board leadership. We envision a world where every social sector organization has the leadership it needs to fulfill its mission and advance the public good, and we are dedicated to inspiring and supporting excellence in nonprofit governance and board and staff leadership.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Leadership Campaigns and Initiatives

BoardSource plays a powerful role in helping to identify opportunities to strengthen organizational leadership and impact across the nonprofit sector.
In support of our strategic imperative to create positive change by directing attention to key opportunities and challenges facing nonprofit leaders, BoardSource has launched the following campaigns and initiatives:

1. Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity- BoardSource envisions a world where every social sector organization has the leadership it needs to fulfill its mission and advance the public good. While many factors contribute to strong and effective board and staff leadership, we believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity is essential to making this vision a reality. We are committed to supporting and encouraging boards as they work to strengthen their leadership on diversity, inclusion and equity, both within their institutions and in the work their organizations do.

As leaders and the ultimate decision-making bodies for nonprofit organizations, boards of directors guide the way that each organization articulates and upholds its purpose, its values, and its responsibility to advance the public good. Through these focused efforts, BoardSource aspires to help unleash the full potential of the social sector to be a force for a more just society and world.

Learn more about BoardSource’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity: For Ourselves and the Social Sector.

2. The Stand For Your Mission Campaign- Launched by BoardSource in 2014 — together with the Alliance for Justice, the Campion Foundation, the National Council of Nonprofits, and the United Philanthropy Forum — this campaign seeks to unleash the full potential of the nonprofit sector to create positive impact by engaging board leaders more directly in the advocacy work of their organizations. Advocacy is a powerful lever for real impact, but — according to BoardSource’s Leading with Intent 2017 report — only 52 percent of organizations report that their board members are actively involved in advocating for their missions, and many organizations aren’t advocating at all. The campaign helps organizations understand the importance of advocacy and the need for their voices to be heard in policy discussions and educates boards around their roles in advocacy.

For more information, visit
3. The Power of Possibility Campaign- The Power of Possibility campaign seeks to build a nonprofit sector culture that respects and celebrates an organization’s willingness to reflect on its potential for impact and to encourage proactive consideration around collaborating for greater impact. Whether an organization is discussing strategy, addressing significant shifts in the internal or external operating environment, or undergoing a leadership transition, boards are wise to reflect in these moments on the opportunity of strategic alliances and restructuring, and the powerful possibilities it might create. The campaign provides new resources and tools to help guide board discussion. The campaign is a joint effort by: BoardSource, The Bridgespan Group, La Piana Consulting, The Lodestar Foundation, Lyda Hill, Propel Nonprofits, and The Patterson Foundation, with additional support from The Trustees’ Philanthropy Fund of Fidelity Charitable and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

For more information, visit
4. Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness- BoardSource, along with our colleagues at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar, has developed a new framework — a more balanced approach — for evaluating fundraising effectiveness. It emphasizes how important it is to invest in strong and sustainable fundraising programs as well as to ensure that your organization is being smart and strategic about the return on investment that it is getting from those investments, and explains why it’s so dangerous to rely solely on the cost of fundraising as the primary measure of fundraising effectiveness.

For more information, visit

5. Board Transparency Initiative- Early in 2014, BoardSource worked with GuideStar to launch a new section of the GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles that enables organizations to share information about essential board leadership practices, including board orientation and education, executive oversight, ethics and transparency, board composition and diversity, and board performance and assessment. BoardSource and GuideStar continue to work together to encourage greater transparency around board leadership practices, a key strategy for building greater awareness and trust around how nonprofit organizations are being led.

For more information, visit

Population(s) Served

BoardSource is committed to providing support that is relevant and accessible to organizations of every size, stage, geography, and programmatic focus. The Board Support Program provides self-guided, ongoing board development for nonprofit organizations when and where they need it most.

The Board Support program starts with BoardSource’s Board Self-Assessment, enabling the board to reflect on what it’s doing well and where it’s more challenged. Throughout the year, the organization’s leaders are supported with educational resources and tools, including the following:
• The BoardSource Exchange- The BoardSource Exchange is a collaborative tool that enables you to connect, engage, and share governance information with all BoardSource members like you who are committed to effective board leadership.
• Downloadable Resources- Our Resources + Solutions (R+S) emails include tools you can instantly download, infographics that serve as thought pieces, and other easy-to-access resources. Only members have access to all content.
• Ask-an-Expert Email Service- BoardSource provides guidance via an email service we refer to as Ask-an-Expert. Members can send their question or issue and receive governance guidance from a BoardSource expert.
• Educational Webinars- BoardSource offers educational and timely webinars that are complimentary to all members. Both current and recorded webinars can be found in our store (members have free access, but still need to register).
• Hundreds of Written Resources- BoardSource has a collection of 101-, 201-, and 301-level ‘topic papers’ and articles on a wide range of topics. Members have access to all levels of resources while nonmembers only have access to 101-level resources.
• Additional Benefits- Access to our quarterly e-newsletter, the Spark! and discounts on 40+ publications, additional diagnostic assessment tools, training programs, and the BoardSource Leadership Forum, our biennial conference.

Population(s) Served

The support that BoardSource provides to individual nonprofit leaders and organizations is strengthened by our broader research work to identify and map trends within the nonprofit sector and to unleash the full potential of boards and board leaders to advance the public good through board service. As the leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, BoardSource occupies a unique vantage point and leadership role within the social sector from which to identify trends, opportunities, challenges, and solutions. We do this by going deep into the boardroom experience — gathering data, making observations, and developing and rigorously testing and evaluating various approaches to strengthening governance — and then translating our learning into a call to action for boards across the country and around the globe.

Core program elements include:
• Leading with Intent- As the leading organization focused on strengthening and supporting nonprofit board leadership, BoardSource has been tracking and analyzing trends in nonprofit board leadership practices and composition since 1994, when it launched its first national study of nonprofit boards.
• Board self-assessment tools- BoardSource is widely recognized as the leader in assessing nonprofit board performance. For nearly 30 years, board leaders have looked to us to help them evaluate their board’s — as well as their chief executive’s — performance to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
• Research Advisory Council- BoardSource’s Research Advisory Council is designed to assist and support research projects throughout the year, including Leading with Intent. The council comprises some of the top minds in nonprofit governance research and leaders in their fields.

Population(s) Served

BoardSource is the recognized leader in nonprofit board leadership and supports, trains, and educates nonprofit leaders from across the country and throughout the world. With almost three decades of experience, BoardSource provides leaders with an extensive range of tools, resources, trainings, and education programs to increase board effectiveness and strengthen organizational impact.

Trainings & Education Programs
Educational Webinars- BoardSource offers a 101 and 201-level webinar each month —on a variety of topics to ensure your board and staff have the knowledge they need to effectively lead your organization.
Executive Retreat- A special event exclusively for nonprofit CEOs and executive directors, our executive retreat is a relaxed and safe space for participants to have open and honest conversations about their relationships with their boards.
Onsite Seminars- Our five educational seminars provide an opportunity to bring your full board together and focus on key aspects of nonprofit board service. Whether you are looking to improve your board’s already strong performance in an area or learn more about a topic your board has less experience with, we’re here to help. We offer seminars on board leadership, fundraising, recruitment, board-staff partnership, and the practices of high-performing boards.
Leadership Certificate Programs- We offer certificate programs for board members, board chairs, chief executives, and consultants designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to make an impact and drive your organization to mission fulfillment. Certificate programs are provided in a variety of formats depending on the session.
BoardSource Leadership Forum- Every two years, we gather more than 900 board members, chief executives, staff, and nonprofit professionals to discuss the newest thinking and best practices in nonprofit governance. Through discussions, presentations, and networking events, participants learn how to guide their organizations toward greater impact and mission fulfillment.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Related Program

Other Educational Offerings to Strengthen Board Leadership & Practice

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

BoardSource reaches a network of more than 500,000 nonprofit leaders each year. Within that network are 15,829 individual leaders who engage more deeply through one of our membership programs.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

BoardSource's vision is a world where every social sector organization has the leadership it needs to fulfill its mission and advance the public good. Strong board leadership is not only possible, it's vital to the success and sustainability of each and every nonprofit organization. And given the fact that the nonprofit sector represents $1.51 trillion in annual revenues and 10% of the total US workforce, the stakes are too high to leave effective board leadership to chance.

Unfortunately, there is evidence of widespread dysfunction and weak performance amongst nonprofit boards, which threatens the sustainability and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, ultimately impeding their ability to fulfill their mission.

In 2016, BoardSource launched a new strategic framework that focuses us on what we believe is most important for a national organization working to strengthen nonprofit board leadership, and challenges us to organize all of our programs around our two goals and six strategic imperatives.

Goal #1: Deepen Understanding & Inspire Action On Critical Sector Issues
• Strategic Imperative #1: Generate evidence-based recommendations for board practice.
• Strategic Imperative #2: Identify & interpret trends impacting nonprofit leadership performance & effectiveness.
• Strategic Imperative #3: Create positive change by directing attention to key opportunities and challenges facing nonprofit leaders.
• Strategic Imperative #4: Inspire new and diverse leaders to serve.
Goal #2: Educate Leaders & Support Effective Board Service & Governance
• Strategic Imperative #5: Engage and support a broad network of nonprofit board and staff leaders.
• Strategic Imperative #6: Provide relevant and accessible resources and guidance to strengthen board leadership globally.

Generate evidence-based recommendations for board practice. We will:
• align our research agenda with learning objectives that can be tested in the boardroom
• expand our focus on research-driven consulting engagements that enable us to work across systems or cohorts of organizations and leaders to document learning and change that occurs over time
• meet the need for consultative support for individual organizations through a streamlined set of consulting methodologies and direct access to BoardSource's vetted pool of consultants

Identify and interpret trends impacting nonprofit leadership performance and effectiveness. We will:
• invest in research expertise and capacity, both on-staff and in partnership with academics and colleague organizations
• refine our assessment and benchmarking tools to ensure that they serve the organizational needs of boards and chief executives, as well as cultivate deeper insight into board performance across the nonprofit sector

Create positive change by directing attention to key opportunities and challenges facing nonprofit leaders. We will:
• expand our efforts to partner with organizations and leaders on critical issues affecting the sector
• leverage our leadership and network as a part of collective efforts to advocate for the sector

Inspire New and Diverse Leaders to Serve. We will:
• create greater urgency around the importance of diversity on nonprofit boards by establishing board diversity as a key criterion for evaluating overall board performance
• expand efforts to identify and inspire new board leaders by celebrating board leadership as a powerful way to advance the public good through individual service
• deepen partnerships with corporations that are building opportunities for their talent to serve on nonprofit boards

Engage and Support a Broad Network of Nonprofit Board and Staff Leaders. We will:
• partner with other organizations and networks to reach beyond our network to reach a greater portion of the more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations
• leverage platform to support peer-to-peer learning and networking, with a special focus on connecting chief executives and board members to their peers and colleagues

Provide Relevant and Accessible Resources and Guidance to Strengthen Board Leadership Globally. We will:
• strengthen our board support program for organizational members and include virtual coaching elements that foster ongoing board development that is informed by an organization's self-assessment of its board's performance.
• offer more — and more comprehensive — educational supports that are available on-demand
• expand the number of open-access educational offerings through regular sharing of relevant and free board resources

With 30 years of experience working with boards to strengthen their leadership capacity, BoardSource is the recognized leader in nonprofit board leadership best practices and support. We partner with some of the largest nonprofit networks in the country, along with foundations and corporations to reach nonprofit organizations of all sizes and mission areas. This depth and breadth of experience gives us a unique and powerful vantage point that combines a deep understanding of nationwide trends in nonprofit board leadership with real-world challenges that boards are facing within their boardrooms.

Goal #1: Deepen Understanding & Inspire Action On Critical Sector Issues
Investing in Important Research to Increase Impact of the Social Sector
Leading with Intent 2017 goes much further than previous studies in terms of exploring the relationships between certain board characteristics and includes an examination of the relationships between board chair and executive perceptions of the board's impact on organizational performance and other board characteristics. The 2019 Leading with Intent will continue to look even deeper into the relationship between board practices and the board's impact on the organization.

Creating Urgency for Boards to Lead on Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity
BoardSource has made a long-term commitment to position boards for stronger leadership on diversity, inclusion, and equity, as was highlighted at our biennial conference in Seattle in 2017. We opened with a powerful and well-received call to action from Anne Wallestad our president and CEO, followed by a moving plenary session by Dr. David Williams. We are taking a multi-pronged approach to our external efforts, which focus on building positive peer pressure, documenting how boards are successfully leading change in a way that inspires others and providing practical resources and guidance to support implementation at the board level.

Leadership on Critical Issues
Advocacy: With a new balance of power at the federal level and a dramatic shift in the presidential policy agenda, the Stand for Your Mission campaign urges nonprofit leaders to be prepared for significant policy and funding changes at the federal, state, and local levels by assessing their new reality, articulating their values and beliefs, and outlining advocacy priorities.

Effective Fundraising: This initiative provides a new framework for measuring fundraising effectiveness using a balanced approach that emphasizes how important it is to invest in strong and sustainable fundraising.

Strategic Alliances & Restructuring: The Power of Possibility campaign invites nonprofit boards and executives to consider whether a strategic alliance or restructuring effort could help them unlock new opportunities for impact.

Goal #2: Educate Leaders & Support Effective Board Service & Governance
Beyond our research and sector leadership, we are seeing strong growth of our Board Support Program, with over 450 organizations enrolled by early 2018. Our online platform for member engagement, the BoardSource Exchange, has 6,000 users. Additionally, we successfully launched a web-based, on-demand version of our core training, the Certificate for Nonprofit Board Education that is being well received by our network.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 12/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Julia Wilson

John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation

Term: 2020 - 2023

Anne Wallestad


Carol Goss

Judy Vredenburgh


Keith Liederman

Kingsley House, Inc.

Kevin Walker

Northwest Area Foundation

Mark Shamley

World Federation of Youth Clubs

Terri Lee Freeman

Reginald F. Lewis of Maryland African American History and Culture (The Lewis)

Gene Takagi

NEO Law Group

Sherece West-Scantlebury

Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/08/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/24/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.