Business on Board is Philadelphia’s only leadership development program that trains business, legal, and technology professionals in nonprofit board governance and matches them with arts nonprofits. Over the course of four days each spring, we teach best practices for board members, with a specific focus on legal and fiduciary responsibilities, fundraising, advocacy, strategic governance, and oversight. For those business leaders not yet sitting on a board, the Arts + Business Council matches participants with nonprofit organizations in the region.


DAY 1: January 31, 2020 | 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Understanding the Basics: An introduction to the arts and culture sector, board member roles, and board dynamics.

DAY 2: March 13, 2020 | 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Getting Beyond the Basics: A guide to what makes an effective board member and how to leverage business acumen to drive a mission forward.

DAY 3: April 17, 2020 | 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Elevating the Conversation: An overview of strategic leadership, empathy, and the role of a board member as an ambassador.

DAY 4: May 15, 2020 | 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Community Ambassadorship: Address common fundraising challenges in the nonprofit sector by learning the necessary tools and resources to become effective fundraisers and expose biases, both conscious and unconscious, to prepare for community leadership.

January to May 2020

Board Observation: Each prospective new board member is thoughtfully matched as an observer with the board of a nonprofit arts organization. this allows participants to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-life situation, and to assess the fit before joining a board. ABC staff works with each business on board graduate to secure a board placement—often, but not always, with the board they’ve observed.


“Business on Board allowed me to get to know professionals in various fields that I otherwise would not have known. The arts sector is a new domain for me and I was able to learn a lot about the ins and outs of the arts scene in the Philadelphia region.”

Oscar Holmes IV, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management, Rutgers University School of Business-Camden & Board Member, Village of Arts & Humanities

“The mission of Intercultural Journeys jumped off the page when I was doing my research and the reality has been even better. The observership was a great benefit providing a low pressure situation to explore how my values aligned with the organization and the board.”

Ajinkya Joglekar, Senior Director, eCommerce, Comcast NBCUniversal & Board Member, Intercultural Journeys

“I’ve incorporated nearly all of ABC’s training into my professional work. I cannot tell you how frequently I reference the content housed within my Business on Board binder. It’s still relevant and resonates.”

Tracey Santilli, Executive Vice President, Tierney & Board Member, Musicopia + Dancing Classrooms Philly

For Business + Legal Professionals Interested in Business On Board Training

Business on Board prepares business professionals with an interest in the arts to become effective leaders on the boards of nonprofit cultural organizations, and advances the governance knowledge of those already serving on boards.

Tuition for Business On Board is $3,000 for prospective new board members. This fee includes personalized board matching, 25 hours of interactive classroom time, breakfast and lunch on classroom days, materials, ongoing individual support, and board placement at the end of the program. Current board members of nonprofit arts organizations pay $1,500 for the classroom sessions, meals and materials. They also have access, as needed, to individual consultations during the program.

Many employers subsidize these fees as an investment in leadership development, community engagement and good corporate citizenship. Attorneys who participate in Business On Board are eligible for 3 CLE credits.

For Nonprofit Arts + Culture Organizations Looking to Add New Board Members

Business On Board training and placement is available to all nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Region.

Looking to grow your board with enthusiastic and well-prepared business leaders? You can request a board match through Business On Board, and we’ll do our best to find a candidate who aligns with your board development needs.

Arts organizations are initially matched with a board observer, and over the course of several months you have the opportunity to get to know each other and assess the fit. Board observers attend board and committee meetings as well as programs and performances, and they bring to the table what they are learning in the classroom sessions we offer. If you elect a candidate we have placed to your board, we charge a $250 placement fee.

If you have a current board member interested in learning more about good governance practices, he/she may participate in Business On Board.

Title Support

Shapiro Communications

Supported In Part By

PNC Arts Alive Logo

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