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Nonprofit Governance Conference


Convened by
The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri - Kansas City
and The Nonprofit Quarterly
Co-Sponsored by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management
and the Governance Section of ARNOVA


The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and The Nonprofit Quarterly, in collaboration with the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and the Governance Section of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), are pleased to announce and invite you to attend our 2015 Nonprofit Governance Conference. This year's conference theme, Complications and Conundrums: The New Era of Research on Nonprofit Governance and the Work of Boards, reflects our appreciation for the growing diversity of important insights that are being generated as researchers and practitioners from a growing range of disciplines and fields examine in greater depth and complexity the world of nonprofit governance and boards. We have learned much about the ways that governance is organized, the practices boards employ, and the impact they have on organizational performance. We have greater insight into the behaviors of the people who are a part of the governance process, what motivates them, how they engage in their work, and the implications of their performance for board and organizational success. Likewise, more is being learned about systems of governance that operate beyond the scope of individual organizations as more and more nonprofits are active in networks, alliances and collaborations. This is an exciting time for the nonprofit governance research!

Significant progress notwithstanding, practitioners and researchers alike continue to find it a challenge to fully understand the variations that exist among nonprofit boards and the ways they engage in governance. There is strong interest among researchers and practitioners alike to come together to engage in substantive and thoughtful dialogue about the ways that governance systems of nonprofit and other civil society and public service organizations are evolving, adapting, growing, and performing. This conference creates a truly collegial space for such engaged dialogue among colleagues, and we invite researchers, scholars, consultants, executives, and other civil society leaders from across the globe to join us for this set of critical conversations.

This highly participative conference will employ the Midwest Center model that has been successful in our previous academic-practitioner conferences. It serves as a relatively intimate gathering of those who are serious about sharing and shaping governance ideas and learning, and it will offer multiple opportunities for formal and informal discussion and dialogue among the consultants, executives, and academics who are most engaged in addressing these challenges. A key element of the conference is sharing highlights and insights emerging from recent governance research. Equally valuable are the opportunities to build on and go beyond the theory and research - for experienced leaders who are exploring new and innovative strategies and approaches in their communities and organizations to share their perspectives in facilitated and informal discussions. Half of the conference sessions will be facilitated (non-presentation) dialogue sessions, each focused on a specific issue or topic of interest.

As we identify and work to understand all of these kinds of challenges and dynamics, are we developing new research models or methods that are better suited to the next generation of governance research? Where should we enhance our fields of inquiry?

The conference is designed to be a relatively intimate gathering of those who are serious about sharing and shaping governance ideas and learning. To facilitate active dialogue, the conference will be limited to 150 participants, about half of whom will be nonprofit and community leaders and practitioners.

The topics of the sessions will include:

Thursday, April 23, 2015 (Conference Preliminary Schedule)

7:30 a.m. -
Noon

Conference Registration

7:30 a.m. to
8:30 a.m.

Networking and Breakfast
Note: Buffet breakfast will be available until 8:30 a.m.

8:30 -
10:30 a.m.

Opening Plenary
Welcome
Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly
David Renz, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Brent Never, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

Plenary Address
"Fast Forward: Building Out from BoardSource's Leading with Intent Survey Findings"
Vernetta Walker, Vice President and Chief Governance Officer, BoardSource

Panel of Respondents:
Judith Milleson, Associate Professor, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University
David Renz, Director, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC
Jamie Smith, Communications & Network Engagement Director, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network
Ruth McCambridge, Moderator

10:45 -
11:45 a.m.

Introductory Dialogue Session
Dialogue sessions have no formal presentations. Rather, they are facilitated discussions on a specific topic among interested participants.

Session A

Group 1 - David Renz, Facilitator

Session B

Group 2 - Brent Never, Facilitator

Session C

Group 3 - Ruth McCambridge, Facilitator

Noon -
1:30 p.m.

Luncheon Plenary
Plenary Address
"Staying Alive and Staying Free: The Challenges of Nonprofit Governance in South Africa."
Christopher Tapscott, School of Government, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

1:45 -
3:15 p.m.

Concurrent Paper Sessions

Session D

Who's In Charge? Governance and Board Leadership

Max Freund
Governance Mental Models: Board member interpretation and decision making on strategic challenges

Fredrik Andersson, Avery Edenfield
Expanding Nonprofit Governance Research: Linking Actor-Network Theory with the Dominant Coalitions Perspective

Skylar Rolf
Founder-CEO & Board of Director Influence on Nonprofit Organizational Performance

Session E

Governance and Board Development

Yvonne Harrison
How Do Boards Make Decisions About Changing Their Governance Practices? Data From a Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Performance Assessment on Nonprofit Board Governance Effectiveness

Douglas Ihrke, Nathan Grasse, E. Grant MacDonald
Board Development Practices in Wisconsin and Nova Scotia: Is There a Difference?

Session F

Perspectives on Board Leadership Roles

Memo Diriker, Mark Edney, Kathleen Momme
From Data to Results: Can Current and Future Nonprofit Governance Research be Successfully Translated into Managerial Action in Nonprofit Organizations?

Michael Ford, Douglas Ihrke
Active Charter School Board Member Governance and Performance: Perceptions and Reality

Judy Freiwirth, Mary Hiland, Mike Burns, Gayle Gifford, Debra Beck
Perspectives on Board Chairs: How they Prepare for and Perceive their Role in Relation to the Board, Community, and CEO

3:30 -
5:00 p.m.

Concurrent Dialogue Sessions
Dialogue sessions have no formal presentations. Rather, they are facilitated discussions on a specific topic among interested participants.

Session G

Social Entrepreneurship, Hybrid Organizations, and Governance
With the increased attention that is being paid to social entrepreneurship and "blended value" social enterprise, interesting questions emerge about the ways in which governance and board work are similar to or different from that of conventional nonprofits. What are the implications for board-executive relations, for risk management, for decision making, and for accountability? Is there such a thing as socially-entrepreneurial governance? In practice, are boards of social enterprises different? Do they behave differently? Further, as nonprofit and for-profit forms of enterprise continue to blend, what are we learning about social enterprise governance that might help us understand the governance for each?

Session H

The Blurring of Nonprofit and Public Sector Governance
What are we learning as we continue to examine the relationship between governance in the public sector and in the nonprofit sector, especially in cases where the work of organizations and their boards blurs or blends processes of ‘‘external governance'' (the processes through which societies are governed) and "internal governance" (governance of organizations)? What key questions emerge as we consider what happens at the intersection of external and internal governance, and what insights are we gaining as we study organizations that operate in this space? Are there overarching or integrative frameworks that may be useful to help us better understand blended governance across sectors and levels?

Session I

Who Really Governs? Talking Honestly About Community, Inclusion, and Engagement in Governance
This discussion will explore questions about who really gets to participate in governance in organizations and networks. Are boards really just for the rich? For those who are most aggressive and driven? What actors in and around nonprofits have the power to influence governance, how is this evolving and changing, and with what consequences? Which stakeholders and other actors in and around nonprofits have the power to influence governance and decision making, what do we know about the dynamics by which influence is exercised in the governance process (and with what consequences)? What are we learning about the implications of more- or less-inclusive governance arrangements and systems, and how stakeholders may take the initiative to exercise influence on organizations and their systems of governance?

5:00 -
7:00 p.m.

Reception
Join your conference colleagues and Kansas City nonprofit leaders for informal conversation and hors d'oeuvres.

7:00 p.m.

Dinner on your own
(Visit www.countryclubplaza.com or www.westportkcmo.com for restaurant ideas)

Friday, April 24, 2015 (Conference Preliminary Schedule)

7:15 -
8:15 a.m.

Alliance for Nonprofit Management Governance Affinity Group Meeting

7:15 -
8:30 a.m.

Networking and Breakfast

8:30 -
10:00 a.m.

Concurrent Paper Sessions

Session J

Insights on Social Entrepreneurship and Governance

Mirae Kim, Sheela Pandey, Sanjay K. Pandey
Does Mission Matter for Social Enterprise? A Study of US Arts and Culture Organizations

Charles M. Gray
Mission, Strategy, and Impact Assessment: The Welfare Economics of Governance

Kathleen Garman, John Tyler, Evan Absher, Anthony Luppino
Threat, Opportunity, Neither or Both? Why Those Who Govern Nonprofits Need to Understand Hybrid Forms and What They Need to Understand About Them

Session K

Hybridity, Networks, and Governance

Melissa M. Stone, Francie Ostrower
Researching Organizational Governance in the Context of Hybridity: Critical Questions and Promising Approaches

Judith L. Millesen
A Group Dynamics Approach to Understanding Governance in Multi-Organizational Alliances

Judy Freiwirth
Community Engagement GovernanceTM: A New System-Wide Governance Model for Community Impact A Participatory Action Research Study

10:15 -
11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Dialogue Sessions

Session L

Governance in Networks and Multi-Organizational Alliances
There is growing use of new and unique forms of organization and organized action, including various forms of networks and distributed systems of service delivery (such as collective impact and community engagement governance initiatives). What do we know about how governance in these forms is similar and different, in terms of practices, engagement, and accountability (and more), and what do we need to know? What are the implications of employing these forms of governance, for the communities and for the individual organizations that participate in them?

Session M

Governance and the Work of Boards in Small Nonprofits
A significant share of the research and writing about nonprofit boards and governance addresses the work, needs and challenges of organizations of medium and large organizations, even though the great majority of nonprofit organizations in the US and many other nations are small (e.g., have annual budgets of less than USD100,000). We know that one approach cannot be assumed to serve all sizes of organizations equally well, but what do we really know about the ways that governance and the work of the boards of these small organizations should or does vary? What exists in the way of research and theory development, what have we learned, and what should we be studying and writing about as we seek to inform and support the leaders and boards of these small organizations?

Session N

A Critical Conversation on Board Development
Board performance remains a perennial complaint and concern of many leaders and constituents of the sector, in spite of the fact that a growing number of consultants and academics have (for more than two decades) focused on understanding and developing boards. What have we really learned? What is it we can't seem to understand? Is there anything new "out there?" What models are actually most common today, and what other models or approaches are under development? What are the most persistent and perplexing challenges confronting boards and those who seek to enhance board capacity, performance, and impact?

Noon -
1:45 p.m.

Luncheon Plenary and Dialogue Session:
"Stakeholder Engagement and the Changing Dynamics of Board Work"
Moderator: Ruth McCambridge

1:45 -
2:00 p.m.

Closing Comments
Brent Never, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Ruth McCambridge, The Nonprofit Quarterly
David Renz, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

Fourteen paper presentations will be offered on some of the latest of work underway by leading governance researchers and consultants (see table below for full list), plus a set of six no-presentation facilitated dialogue sessions will be convened.

Paper proposals accepted for the 2015 conference:

Fredrik Andersson, Avery Edenfield

The emergence of the dominant coalition: a case study of the Riverwest Public House Cooperative

Skylar Rolf

Founder-CEO & Board of Director Influence on Nonprofit Organizational Performance

Michael Ford, Douglas Ihrke

Charter School Board Member Productivity: Perceptions and Reality

Charles M. Gray

Mission, Strategy, and Impact Assessment: The Welfare Economics of Governance

Melissa M. Stone, Francie Ostrower

Researching Organizational Governance in the Context of Hybridity: Critical Questions and Promising Approaches

Judith L. Millesen

A Group Dynamics Approach to Understanding Governance in Multi-Organizational Alliances

Memo Diriker, Mark Edney, Kathleen Momme

From Data to Results: Can Current and Future Nonprofit Governance Research be Successfully Translated into Managerial Action in Nonprofit Organizations?

Max Freund

Governance Mental Models: Board member interpretation and decision making on strategic challenges

Kathleen Garman, John Tyler, Evan Absher, Anthony Luppino

Threat, Opportunity, Neither or Both? Why Those Who Govern Nonprofits Need to Understand Hybrid Forms and What They Need to Understand About Them

Yvonne Harrison

How do boards make decisions about changing their governance practices? Data from a longitudinal study of the impact of performance assessment on nonprofit board governance effectiveness

Douglas Ihrke, Nathan Grasse, E. Grant MacDonald

Board Development Practices on Wisconsin and Nova Scotia: Is There a Difference?

Mirae Kim, Sheela Pandey, Sanjay K. Pandey

Does Mission Matter for Social Enterprise? A Study of US Arts and Culture Organizations

Judy Freiwirth

Community Engagement GovernanceTM: A New System-Wide Governance Model for Community Impact. A Participatory Action Research Study

Judy Freiwirth, Mary Hiland, Mike Burns, Gayle Gifford, Debra Beck

Perspectives on Board Chairs: How they Prepare for and Perceive their Role in Relation to the Board, Community, and CEO

Conference Details

The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. (registration & buffet breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.) on Thursday, April 23, 2015, and runs through 2:00 p.m. on April 24th. Conference and lodging will be at the Embassy Suite on the Country Club Plaza (220 West 43rd Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111). Conference participants should make their own hotel reservations. The special rate is $139/night (King Bed Suite) or $159/night (Double Bed Suite). Note: The special room rate will be available until March 26th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. To reserve your room online, click here. You can also make your hotel reservations by calling 1-816-756-1720 (Note: you will need to indicate you are attending the governance conference to get the discounted rate).

The conference fee, inclusive of resource materials, breakfast and lunch, and receptions and coffee breaks, is $325. The Early-Bird conference fee is $275 per participant (by April 6). Late registration (after April 19) is $375. Note: there is a special student rate of $175 per student.

We also have an additional opportunity that you may also be interested in attending. The day before the 2015 Nonprofit Governance Conference, April 22, 2015 (1:30 to 5:00pm) we are holding a special community governance workshop - Growing Strong Boards for a New Era (Click here for more information on this workshop). We are holding this special workshop so we can share some special insights from key speaker(s) from the governance conference to our local nonprofit practitioner community. The session will be held on the University of Missouri - Kansas City campus in Pierson Auditorium (Atterbury Student Success Center, 5000 Holmes Street, 64110). The session fee is $65 per participant. Note: If you register for BOTH the special local event and the 2015 Nonprofit Governance Conference you will receive a $15 discount on the special local event.


Register Here


Note: if you need an invoice so you can pay by check/money order please send us an email at mcnl@umkc.edu or call (816) 235-5720.

Questions about the conference may be directed to conference co-directors:

David Renz
Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
University of Missouri - Kansas City
renzd@umkc.edu

Ruth McCambridge
The Nonprofit Quarterly
ruth@npqmag.org

Brent Never
Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
University of Missouri - Kansas City
neverb@umkc.edu

Henry W. Bloch School of Management
5110 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110
816-235-2305

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