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Board Leadership Training

ArtsFund keeps an eye to the future by helping to train a new generation of leaders for arts organizations.Through its Associates program and Board Leadership Training program, ArtsFund is helping to provide future and current board members with the skills needed to help arts organizations be successful financially and artistically.

Nothing helps a nonprofit organization succeed like a well-trained and effective board of directors. Understanding this, ArtsFund introduced its Board Leadership Training program in 1999 to equip committed volunteers to be highly effective board members.

This five-session training program is taught by a faculty of top nonprofit experts from this region. It covers the topics board members need most, including why and how to get on a nonprofit board, legal and financial responsibilities of boards, strategic planning, best governance practices and fundraising. It includes an internship with the board of a nonprofit arts group.

Enrollment for Spring 2018 will open in mid-February, with classes running through March and April. To be notified when registration opens for Spring 2018, contact Rachel Porter at 206.973.2860 or

Eligibility: The program is open to members of ArtsFund’s Associates program who have served for one or more years, representatives from our corporate partners, and to current arts organization board members.  It is also open to members of Social Venture Partners, Seattle Urban League of Young Professionals, and Washington Women’s Foundation.

Class size is limited. Due to limited capacity, there is a maximum limit of three participants per organization.

Cost: Free for returning ArtsFund Associates; $50 total for non-Associates. The $50 fee includes dinner for all 5 sessions. Payment will be collected upon admittance to the program. Financial aid is available; contact Rachel Porter,

Requirements: Participation in a minimum of 4 out of 5 training sessions is required. 100% attendance strongly encouraged.

Timing: ArtsFund presents the training program once in the fall and once in the spring.

Location: All classes are held in the evening at the ArtsFund offices in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle


Session 1: Setting the Direction
Tuesday, October 10
Strategic planning in an increasingly competitive market

Session 2: Staying Solvent, Knowing the Numbers
Tuesday, October 17
Financial stewardship of your nonprofit

Session 3: Board Service and Legal Stewardship
Tuesday, October 24
What are your legal responsibilities and duties?

Session 4: Capitalizing Nonprofit Missions
Tuesday, November 7
Annual, facility, and endowment fundraising

Session 5: Building Leadership Capacity
Wednesday, November 15
Practices of a high performance board

*Download our printable brochure for more detail on each session.

Fall 2017 FACULTY:

Robert Fleming, CPA, is a shareholder with the Bellevue CPA firm of Clark Nuber P.S. and is Director of the firm’s Not-for-Profit Services Group, which serves over 700 not-for-profit organizations. Prior to Clark Nuber, Rob was a manager in the Seattle and Lagos, Nigeria offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Rob has specialized in not-for-profit entities for over 30 years, focusing on accounting and auditing, board financial stewardship training, and operational efficiency. Rob was founder and chairman of the WA Society of CPAs Not-for-Profit Committee where he was honored as Outstanding Committee Chair. He was also the WA State Society’s 2003-04 President, served on the governing council of the AICPA, and was the 2011-2012 Board Chair of the Washington Athletic Club.  He has a business degree in accounting from UW.

Dwight Gee is a former Executive Vice President of The World Justice Project. He established the Board Leadership Training program as Executive Vice President of ArtsFund where he worked from 1989-2011. Dwight was two-term board president of FareStart, and is Chair of the visiting committee of Seattle University’s Masters in Nonprofit Leadership Program. In 2002, as consultant to the Soros Foundation, he helped establish an arts council in Mongolia. As a volunteer, he serves as president of a US-based nonprofit to support Mongolian culture.

Elizabeth McCaw retired in 2011 from Stokes Lawrence, P.S., where she was a shareholder in the firm’s estate planning group. As an attorney, Beth focused her practice on estate planning, gift and estate taxation, probate and trust administration, charitable giving and the law of tax-exempt organizations. Beth is the Immediate Past President of The Rainier Club and is the incoming Chair of the Board of Directors of the YWCA Seattle/King County and Snohomish County.  She chaired the community advisory board of Dress for Success® Seattle, is a past president of the Book-It Repertory Theatre board and the Washington Planned Giving Council and volunteers as a consultant for United Way of King County.

Christine O’Connor is an arts management consultant and executive recruiter with the national consulting firm AlbertHall&Associates, where her clients have included Sundance Institute, Guthrie Theatre, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep and 5th Avenue Theatre, among others. She has more than 25 years’ experience in fundraising and nonprofit management as senior staff for Seattle Rep, Center Theatre Group, American Conservatory Theatre and San Francisco Opera, managing major endowment, capital and annual fund programs. She teaches at Seattle U’s MFA program in Arts Leadership, taught arts management courses at UW’s Evans School, UW Extension & San Francisco State U., and is a contributing author for Theatre Communications Group’s book The Art of Governance.

Laura Pierce is the owner and principal consultant of Laura Pierce Consulting. Since 1998, she has consulted with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, assisting with strategic planning, board development, organizational assessment and capacity building. She has also served as interim executive director for seven Seattle area nonprofits. Laura received a Master in Public Administration from UW concentrating in nonprofit management. Laura teaches board roles and responsibilities, board development, philanthropy, strategic leadership and other nonprofit management topics at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs, UW Extension, Nonprofit Assistance Center, and United Way of King County.

Special thanks to Glen and Alison Milliman for their generous sponsorship of the Fall 2017 series.

For more information, download our printable brochure or contact Rachel Porter at 206.973.2860 or