Berkeley Board Fellows

Interested in joining a nonprofit board?  Becoming a Berkeley Board Fellow is the perfect way to experience board service while leveraging your graduate education.

What is Berkeley Board Fellows?

The Berkeley Board Fellows Program develops the next generation of nonprofit board leadership.  Nonprofits representing a range of service areas (community/economic development, education, children/youth, housing, environment, health, international, etc), welcome Fellows for an academic year (October – May) as non-voting members.  Pairs of MBA and other graduate students are matched to nonprofits where Fellows’ business expertise are employed to address strategic needs of the board. Key components and Fellow requirements include:

    • Time Commitment.  Fellows commit to spending approximately eight hours/month on nonprofit board service.  This includes time attending board meetings (usually in the evening) and completing a strategically significant project identified by the Board.
    • Board Project.  As an example, a list of last year’s 2017 nonprofit applicants with their related projects can be found here.  Together with the participating BBF nonprofit organizations, selected Fellows will scope out a strategically significant business project typically drawing from finance, marketing, strategy, or governance.  As one nonprofit partner quipped, “Do not check your business training at the door. Your educational and practical business skills are what are required to propel our mission-driven enterprise.” Project work is usually carried out through an identified Committee (on which the Fellow will serve).  Completed project work is presented to the Board or Committee at the Fellow’s last meeting (usually in April or May) and archived with the Center.
    • Mentors.  Fellows are integrated into host boards with the guidance of a board member who is the primary board resource for the duration of service (October – May).   Mentors also field questions and provide feedback for Fellows on the required Board project work.
    • Kickoff.  Fellows and Mentors meet to discuss and agree upon work plans, board and committee meeting dates, methods of communication, etc. Scheduled for October 10th, 2018.
    • Governance TrainingHaas professors and/or other industry professionals facilitate a workshop timed to allow for Fellows to have attended board meetings and absorbed their hosts’ mission and purpose.  Fellows must attend board governance training at Haas in late November 2018 (date TBD).
    • FinaleWrap-up meeting on April 3, 2019 (date TBC) where Fellows share service experiences with each other and discuss future board service goals.

Fellows are also strongly encouraged to take the Nonprofit Boards:  Governance and Leadership class offered both spring and fall semesters and to frequently check our resources page containing information useful to completion of board projects.

Apply and Participate

  • August 20 – Fellow applications open
  • September 9 – Fellow applications close
  • September 21 – Matches of organizations and fellows announced
  • October 10 – Kickoff at Connie & Kevin Chou Hall
  • Late November (date TBD) – Fellow Governance Training
  • April 3, 2019 (date TBC) – Program Finale

Matching Process

Students are selected to participate in the Berkeley Board Fellows program through a competitive application process. Once the Center selects Fellows, it matches them to the nonprofits that align best with Fellows’ industry experience and personal interests. If you have specific questions about the application process, please email