In 2010, the Illumination Fund launched an initiative to promote high-impact service initiatives in New York City. Among the first six grants was United Way of New York City for their BoardServeNYC initiative, which builds nonprofit board capacity and encourages board diversification by connecting nonprofits to a pool of prospective board members. The board candidates come from a variety of backgrounds and receive training in nonprofit governance. BoardServeNYC grew out of the implementation of NYC Service, a citywide initiative launched by Mayor Bloomberg to help New Yorkers connect to service opportunities that address the City’s greatest needs and to promote volunteerism as a core part of what it means to be a New Yorker.
During the Illumination Fund’s grant cycle (2010-2012), 1,111 volunteers and 461 non-profit organizations were trained in aspects of being a quality board member. There were over 300 confirmed board placements onto more than 90 non-profits. Board members gave 13,000 hours in board service annually and boards responded with clearer structure, definition, and recruitment strategies.
Some organizations who have benefited from board service are Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, Lower East Side Family Union, Minds Matter, Trevor Project, Union Settlement, and, Artistic Noise.
The Illumination Fund’s values of access and opportunity are embodied through both completely free-of-charge, high-quality governance workshops for nonprofits, and by linking individuals and organizations who otherwise might not connect with each other.