The 2017 Governance Conference for Practitioners and Researchers

The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance
The 2017 Governance Conference for Practitioners and Researchers

Convened by
The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership
University of Missouri - Kansas City
The Nonprofit Quarterly

April 27-28, 2017
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC and The Nonprofit Quarterly, in collaboration with the Governance Section of ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, are pleased to invite you to attend our 2017 Biennial Conference on Nonprofit Governance. This year's conference theme, The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance, reflects both our appreciation for and recognition of the need to continue to grow our understanding of this important field. Research on nonprofit boards and governance has developed substantially in the past decade, and we are learning more every year as scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and fields provide important new insights and knowledge about governance and the work of boards. For all of our progress, however, we still have much to learn, especially about the practice of governance and the work of boards in the myriad of different contexts and organizational types. How does governance differ in settings as different as associations and member-serving organizations, federations and networks, collective impact initiatives, multi-level organizations and systems, and even social movements? This conference will challenge practitioners and researchers as they come together to examine from multiple perspectives how we engage in governance and how governance and the work of boards is and will continue to be evolving in these challenging and dynamic times.

This highly participative conference will employ the Midwest Center model that has been successful in our previous academic-practitioner conferences and will offer multiple opportunities for formal and informal discussion and dialogue among 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.

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.

This year's conference will include keynote presentations by:

  • Vernetta Walker of BoardSource, presenting the 2017 “Leading with Intent” governance survey,
  • Dr. Beth Gazley of Indiana University, sharing her insights into Transformational Governance, and
  • Dr. David Karpf of George Washington University, speaking on the implications of digital media for nonprofit governance and the work of boards.

Conference includes presentations by leading researchers and engaging facilitated dialogue sessions on:

  • The Changing Nature of Governance in a Digital Environment
  • Social Entrepreneurship, Hybrid Organizations, and Governance
  • Governance in Networks and Multi-Organizational Alliances
  • Governance in Associations and Other Member-Benefit Organizations
  • The Challenge of Effective Leadership Succession for Boards and Executives
  • Who Really Governs? Talking Honestly About Inclusion, Engagement, and Governance
  • A Critical Conversation on Board Development

Thursday, April 27, 2017 (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
Plenary speaker information will be posted soon.

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. Dialogue session topics will be posted soon.

Noon - 1:30 p.m. - Luncheon Plenary
Plenary speaker information will be posted soon.

1:45 - 3:15 p.m. - Concurrent Paper Sessions
Paper presentation schedule will be posted soon.

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Concurrent Dialogue Sessions
Dialogue session topics will be posted soon.

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 or for restaurant ideas)

Friday, April 28, 2017 (Conference Preliminary Schedule)

7:15 - 8:15 a.m. - Alliance for Nonprofit Management Governance Affinity Group will also be holding a breakout meeting during breakfast.

7:15 - 8:30 a.m. - Networking and Breakfast

8:30 - 10:00 a.m. - Concurrent Paper Sessions
Paper presentation schedule will be posted soon.

10:15 - 11:45 a.m. - Concurrent Dialogue Sessions
Dialogue session topics will be posted soon.

Noon - 1:45 p.m. - Luncheon Plenary and Dialogue Session:
Plenary speaker information will be posted soon.

1:45 - 2:00 p.m. - Closing Comments

Paper proposals accepted for the 2017 conference:

Ruth Bernstein
The Many Faces of Nonprofit Governance: Maximizing Nonprofit Board Diversity

Yvonne D. Harrison
The Impact of Online Self-Assessment of Board Performance on Nonprofit Governance Behavior and Practices: Results from a Large Scale Longitudinal International Quantitative Empirical Research Investigation

Michelle Walker
Governance Teams and Intellectual Property Management as Fiduciary Duty

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

Mirae Kim, Shuyang Peng
The dilemma for small human service nonprofits: Engagement in networks and working with a limited number of salaried staff

William Brown, Mark Engle
Factors that influence governance priorities and needs

Douglas Ihrke, Mick Ford, Nathan Grasse
Examining Nonprofit Executive Director – Board Relations in Two Countries as they Relate to Perceptions of Board Effectiveness: Executive Director Perspectives

David Renz
Governance in Corporate Foundations

About the Conference
The conference begins on Thursday morning, April 27, 2017, and runs through mid-afternoon on April 28. 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 of $135/night (King Bed Suite) or $155/night (Double Bed Suite). Note: The special room rate will be available until April 5th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. To reserve your room online, click here. Note: When making your hotel reservation for the discounted rate make sure the box for the Governance Conference is checked and you should enter in the group code: GCU. 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 $275. Late registration (after April 14) is $350. Note: there is a special student rate of $175 per student.

Register Here

Questions about the conference may be directed to conference co-directors, David Renz ( or Brent Never (

Henry W. Bloch School of Management
5110 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110

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