Foundation Board Leadership: A Closer Look at Foundation Board Responses to Leading with Intent 2017

In an effort to better understand the particular dynamics of foundation boards, BoardSource took a closer look at the subset of responses from the 141 foundation leaders who completed the 2017 Leading with Intent survey.


  • When it comes to the board’s perceived impact on foundation performance, there are three board characteristics that may matter most: 1) providing guidance and support to the chief executive, 2) the board’s understanding of its roles and responsibilities, and 3) the extent to which the board is adaptable in the face of changes in the environment.
  • Foundation boards lack racial and ethnic diversity in profound ways — and current recruitment practices demonstrate that is unlikely to change.
  • Foundation boards that assess their own performance regularly report stronger board performance, but too few foundation boards have adopted this recommended practice.

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