"J.D. was a very strong advocate of board leadership development. He always told us that high-impact agencies have high-impact boards. Board development remains a strong interest to us at The Memorial Foundation."

-Scott Perry, President of The Memorial Foundation


When J.D. Elliott, beloved and respected community leader and former president of The Memorial Foundation, passed away last year, The Memorial Foundation began wondering how to best honor his legacy. What nonprofit initiative was most important to J.D.?

The answer came easily: board governance.

Generously supported by The Memorial Foundation, the Center for Nonprofit Management is honored to introduce the J.D. Elliott Leadership Development Fund. This fund supports three different opportunities for nonprofit boards, all designed to improve and enhance nonprofit board leadership.

Read below for the programs, qualification information, and how to get involved. Contact our consulting department at consulting@cnm.org with any questions.


What programs are available?

The Governance Catalyst is an innovative and unique opportunity to enhance the key to organizational success: strong relationships between leaders. Together, pairs of executive directors and board chairs will be chosen from a competitive application process to participate in an intensive, four-part series that is designed to improve communication and problem-solving.
The four-part series begins with three customized workshops, completed alongside the selected cohort participants. The workshop subjects are designed to build on one another for maximum impact. Fieldwork activities will be assigned between sessions.

Click here to learn more about the Governance Catalyst.


Through this fund, CNM also offers a broad and deep array of board-focused consulting work to help nonprofit board leaders work through problems or opportunities. Our board-focused services include recruitment modeling, understanding roles and responsibilities, board engagement, and best practices for governance.

Specifically, these services could include establishing and maintaining effective bylaws, dealing with conflict and difficult organizational conversations, service enhancement plans, financial analysis, and more.

While these topics may serve as places to start, the governance consulting services are designed to be customized for each agency depending on the agency's needs. These services are perfect for agencies and boards that want to tackle a specific topic in-depth.

The cost for these consulting services will be supplemented through scholarships provided by the J.D. Elliott Leadership Development Fund, which is part of the NEF program. The amount of total funding and the percentage of scholarship support are based on agency budget size as well as the nature and scope of your project. Requests are reviewed in the order in which they are received and funds are subject to availability.

Reach out to consulting@cnm.org with inquiries.


Which agencies are eligible?

CNM-member nonprofits that have been recently funded by The Memorial Foundation are eligible to apply for any of the programs that are a part of this fund. Qualifying agencies may also participate in more than one of these programs. Learn more about eligibility and the process of applying for funds.


Who is a part of the consulting team?

CNM experts recommended for these three opportunities within the J.D. Elliott Leadership Development Fund include Meredith Sullivan BentonSusan ChapmanLydia CoxBrad GrayBelinda Dinwiddie Havron, and Noah E. Spiegel.


Why are board development projects needed?

As CNM's former President Lewis Lavine and Scott Perry of The Memorial Foundation wrote in this op-ed in The Tennessean, "nonprofits succeed or fail mainly because of the strength or weakness of their governing boards."

The programs that are a part of this fund are designed to benefit all nonprofit boards.




Interested in board development, but not eligible for the J.D. Elliott Leadership Development Fund? We'd still love to work with you. Reach out to our consulting department at consulting@cnm.org with any inquiries and learn more about all of CNM's consulting services here.