Nonprofit and Public Management CenterUniversity of Michigan
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Board Fellowship Program

The Board Fellowship Program places qualified graduate students as Board Fellows on the governing boards of nonprofit organizations in Southeast Michigan.
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Board Fellowship Program

The Nonprofit and Public Management Center's Board Fellowship Program places qualified graduate students in our three partners schools as Board Fellows on the governing boards of nonprofit organizations in Southeast Michigan. The program is designed to create a cadre of professionals ready to take on board leadership roles upon graduation. It provides graduate students in Business, Public Policy, and Social Work with firsthand insight into the workings and procedures of an actual board, as well as opportunities to contribute to the board's success.

Students apply to participate in the program and are matched to organizations based on the mutual interest of both parties. Students participating in the program must have:

  • A record of academic and professional excellence
  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the particular agency
  • Sensitivity and commitment to issues of community needs, financial concerns, and confidentiality
  • A commitment to serving the nonprofit sector

Board Fellow Responsibilities

Students serving as Board Fellows are expected to serve as a non-voting board member for one academic year, from mid-October through April. In addition, Board Fellows should:

  • Attend all board meetings and serve on a board committee
  • Help with and attend special events, similar to other board members of the hosting organizations
  • Complete a board-level project that is designed to meet the needs of the organization
  • Commit approximately the same amount of time to the board as a full board member (8 hours a month)

Benefits of Being a Board Fellow

There are many benefits of serving as a Board Fellow, which include:

  • A meaningful opportunity to participate in the governance of a nonprofit organization
  • Professional knowledge and skill in board governance
  • Skills for effective collaboration with community leaders
  • An opportunity to integrate tools learned in the classroom with the fellowship experience

Application Process

Application for the 2013-14 Board Fellowship program is now closed. Details for 2014-15 program will be available on our website in August 2014.


  • Students must attend one of the two Board Fellow kickoff events in September.
  • Applications are due in September.
  • Select applicants are invited for an in-person interview.
  • Board Fellows are announced in early-mid October.
  • Board Fellows are required to attend a mandatory orientation.
  • Board Fellows are required to attend a training session on board governance.
  • Students serve as Board Fellows from mid-October through April.

Additional Links

Nonprofit organizations that would like information about having a Board Fellow on your board can find additional information.