The National Center for Family Philanthropy and Youth Philanthropy Connect, a program of the Frieda C. Fox Foundation, have teamed up on the release of our latest Passages Issue Brief entitled, “Igniting the Spark: Creating Effective Next Generation Boards.” This month’s Voices from the Field column features excerpts from interviews by Katie Marcus Reker, a former Junior Board Member and now trustee and Junior Board Advisor of the Freida C. Fox Foundation, with her peers about their involvement on junior boards. Below are responses interviewees gave when asked about their favorite part of being on a junior board and what they learned.
“As a result of my involvement with the Junior Board, I have learned to always ask for help if I have any concerns because while work on my own may be good, work done with the help and collaboration of my peers and advisors is nearly always stronger. Without my early involvement in the foundation, I most likely would never set a foot in it.”
–Jamie Semel, The Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation (senior in high school)
“I was attracted to my junior board because I saw it as an opportunity to see many of my friends and work collectively with them. I love the work we do; it is extremely fulfilling and rewarding. Additionally, the support and encouragement we receive from the outside community in regards to other philanthropic groups or nonprofits is highly motivational.”
–Sahar Afrakhan, Positive Impulse, The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation (junior in high school)
“I always loved that our board meetings and retreats had an open door policy, meaning no matter your age or position in the foundation you were invited and encouraged to sit in on meetings and voice your opinions in a safe space. While in the younger years I did not have very much to add, I learned by listening and experiencing our grantmaking process. As I grew and aged, I was not only more knowledgeable in foundation business, but also more confident in my ability to understand our grantmaking and voice my opinions about it.”
–Katie Marcus Reker, The Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation (first year in college)
“I have learned a lot about the nonprofit world and the process of how giving is conducted, as well as how to make important decisions related to this process from my Junior board experience. I have also learned how to responsibly act and effectively communicate with my fellow junior board members.”
–Sarina Dayal, Tarsadia Foundation (senior in high school)
“I have learned a lot about how to be a leader; this means learning how to set goals and deadlines and meet them, what to do when you don’t, how to work patiently with other people, how to ask for what you want without being demanding, what it means to run a meeting (create bylaws, appoint a secretary and treasurer, etc.), and how to keep the momentum going/not lose motivation over the years. I will use absolutely everything I’ve learned in college and beyond.”
–Miranda Roehrick, Positive Impulse, The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation (senior in high school)
“I’ve been given such a wonderful opportunity. It would be a shame to squander it.”
-Zach Whitten, The Lumpkin Family Foundation (second year of college)
These are just a few of the voices of junior board members across the country. The full Passages paper with more quotes and tips for creating a successful junior board is now available. Please email Jason Born if you would like more information.