South Side organization launches board leadership program

The Southside Arts & Humanities Network has launched a board leadership program designed to benefit South Side cultural organizations in Chicago. 

The network, a program of the Civic Knowledge Project at the University of Chicago, is a collection of small and midsized cultural organizations based on the South Side. Its aim is to connect these organizations with the resources of the University.

Small South Side organizations with arts and humanities at their core missions will be encouraged to apply for one of the ten slots to receive a new board member. Individuals from throughout the University community and the city can apply to be trained and placed on the boards of the ten selected organizations.

“The network will act as a matchmaker, connecting talented individuals who seek new leadership opportunities with culturally rich organizations who need dedicated board members,” said coordinator Joanie Friedman.

The individuals selected for the program will be enrolled in a board leadership certificate program offered by the Graham School of General Studies. This program includes 12 hours of training designed by the Arts & Business Council of Chicago, which has run a successful board training program for 11 years.

"The Arts & Business Council is delighted to participate in this targeted board training and placement effort, and pleased to be able to share the insights and expertise we've gathered over more than a decade of work helping to build stronger nonprofit boards," said Peter Kuntz, the organization's executive director.

“We see our collaboration with the Arts and Business Council and the Southside Arts & Humanities Network as a natural extension of what we do: enhance the ability of people to make meaningful contributions to their work and the community," added Steve Laymon, Associate Director for Business and Professional Programs at the Graham School.

Over the past five years, the network has strengthened member organizations through annual professional development conferences, including “Meet the Press” and “Meet the Funders,” which included workshops on marketing, fundraising, technology and board development. In addition, the network conducts the Southside Roundtable, a peer-mentoring professional development series in which a small group of cultural leaders meets regularly over six months to build a group of professional peers who can help share resources and knowledge.

“The board leadership program is an important addition to the organizational support the network currently offers, and we are thrilled to offer this new service,” Friedman said.

Interested parties can contact Friedman at There will be an information session March 22 at the Press Building, 1427 E. 60th St., Room 201.