A Legacy of Leadership
Ready, Set, Go! Board Leadership Workshop Series
What’s your favorite way to give back to the community you love?
Sharing time at the local food pantry. Donating directly to a scholarship fund. No matter what causes are close to your heart, there are plenty of ways to make a difference.
For Dr. Myron Downs and Victoria Prevatt, giving back includes helping nurture local nonprofits with educational opportunities.
And that’s exactly what happened when the Athens Area Community Foundation debuted its one-of-a-kind board leadership workshops, Ready, Set, Go! (Refresh).
“This board has always supported nonprofit training and had a training series,” explained Dr. Downs, vice chair of the Athens Area Community Foundation board, “but this dives a little deeper.”
Their Ready, Set, Go! (Refresh) series includes four separate classes: “Ready,” for people who haven’t served on a board; “Set,” for current board members; “Go,” for board chairs and executive directors; and “Refresh” for staff members.
The leadership training program debuted in 2022 and immediately sold out.
“It was a way to give our [nonprofit] community a chance to be in community together and to have conversations about this tricky topic, to learn from each other, and for us to guide and facilitate these best practices,” explained Victoria.
Victoria, a nonprofit mentor and owner of GoodWorks, developed the one-of-a-kind curriculum with support from AACF President and CEO Sarah McKinney, as well as the foundation staff and its board.
“Everyone walks into a room feeling like other people have it all figured out and they’re the only ones who don’t. It’s been really refreshing to watch [participants] relax into this framework and see how board leadership could look in a best-case scenario,” said Victoria.
The classes cover essential board leadership basics and expand shared knowledge. An extra bonus? The sense of community that develops along the way.
“I’m offering tips and tricks and guideposts in the conversation, but they’re learning an awful lot from each other,” she explained. “They hang out after and talk and exchange business cards and make connections. So, that has been wonderful to see.”
For the Athens Area Community Foundation, classes like this also create new opportunities.
“Typically, in the community, some of the same leadership will end up being on many of the boards,” explained Dr. Downs. “The board really felt this could support the development of new leadership in our community from under-represented groups.”
It’s one way to help cultivate new community leaders.
“The goal was to get more people in the community involved in leadership,” he said. “To have that wide spectrum and to make sure everybody has an opportunity to be part of leadership.”
And that’s an important part of the Athens Area Community Foundation.
They’re connecting donors and nonprofits, but they’re also expanding the idea of what giving back can mean.
“I’m so happy to be part of the community foundation. It’s opened up a whole new world in terms of philanthropy,” added Dr. Downs. “The community foundation is different in that it harnesses the power of our local organizations, and it’s also a resource to help strengthen those organizations at the same time.”