Highlights From Taproot Foundation's 2021 U.S. Pro Bono Summit

Taproot Foundation celebrated its annual U.S. Pro Bono Summit, exploring how the power of pro bono service can transform nonprofits and social change organizations.
Nov 18, 2021 11:05 AM ET
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Taproot’s 2021 Pro Bono Summit provided innovative tips and facilitated open discussions between corporate pro bono practitioners to share best practices and challenges in developing skills-based volunteering opportunities.

Key takeaways from the five webinars touched on critical aspects of capacity-building, board development, DEI in pro bono support, and more.

Building trust while building capacity

In the first session, “Transforming Impact Through Meaningful Capacity Building,” panelists from Taproot Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPPCD) shared their experiences designing an innovative program called The Newark Nonprofit Capacity Accelerator.

They worked together to confront challenges that can undermine the potential of capacity-building programs. One technique on counter-balancing power dynamics: encourage the nonprofit to invest how they see fit, not restricting funds based on a grantmaker’s assumptions.

How to create a strong nonprofit board

The “Pro Bono + Nonprofit Boards” webinar examined the elements of a strong nonprofit board of directors. Tips included:

  • Board members should specialize in critical service areas all nonprofits need to succeed: HR, marketing, technology, and strategy.
  • Boards should aim to be diverse in both skills and backgrounds, reflecting the community they serve.
  • They should focus on governance and advising, not day-to-day tasks.
  • Most importantly, every board member should be expected to raise resources, financial or otherwise.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in pro bono programming

In “Keeping DEI Front and Center in Your Pro Bono Programming,” Kevin Nigarura, DEI Strategist from Justice Informed, spoke on why corporate programming should be linked with DEI principles and how to strengthen accessibility and inclusivity.

He reinforced that pro bono, like all capacity building, can either perpetuate or combat systemic inequities, but acknowledging these inequities is the first step to increase inclusivity.

Read more about Taproot’s 2021 U.S. Pro Bono Summit.

The 2021 U.S. Pro Bono Summit session was presented free of cost thanks to our Leadership Sponsors, PwC and RBC, and our Series Sponsors, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, and MetLife.