Leveraging the Power of Differences in the Board Room

Publication date: 
May, 2016

To effectively address the complex problems of a changing world, today’s foundation needs governance that drives innovation and efficiency and includes the different voices and perspectives of the communities it serves. Research shows that embracing differences and breaking down barriers that keep people from bringing their unique perspectives and experiences and full range of talents and skills to their work can stimulate innovative strategies, strengthen relationships, and improve outcomes.

To help foundation leaders and their boards begin essential conversations about the power of differences and determine the extent to which their board’s composition and operational practices embrace and empower differing voices, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) developed this discussion guide and self-assessment. Building on extensive research and the experiences of some exceptional member foundations, it can be a useful tool for foundation boards at any point in their journey toward leveraging the power of differences.