Fearless Leaders

The board of directors of any nonprofit organization plays a vital role in its work. According to Board Source, boards have many roles, such as monitoring and strengthening programs and services, ensuring financial stability, and determining the mission and purpose of the organization and driving it to meet that mission. This is meaningful work, so it’s important to have a group of strong leaders doing the job. So who makes up our board?

NLIHC works to ensure its board of directors is a diverse group, and our mission dictates the requirements for selecting directors. We seek broad diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, and as a national organization, we aim for geographic diversity as well. Of the up to 25 seats on our board, six are reserved for representatives from state housing coalitions.

The rest of the positions are made up of six low income persons, six representatives of allied national organizations, and up to six at-large members. At least 90% of board members must be people who are either low income themselves, or who are engaged directly in working with low income persons to meet their housing needs. You can see a list of our board members here.

Our board members participate in and lead our policy committees, oversee our finances, assist with fundraising and membership development, and choose those we honor with awards like our State and Local Organizing Award and Media Award each year.

Have you served on a nonprofit board of directors? How do you think the makeup of boards influences the way they do their work? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Consumer-based representation on boards is crucial, especially in the area of housing access for very low income individuals. As a point of communication sharing on this issue, how about some strategies to identify or develop state-based advocates for a signficant population of low income communities where no tenant associations exist? Far too much decision making or policy outcomes rest with federal or state housing agencies who don’t even bother to keep housing communities “in the loop” on issues affecting residents. Even low income housing residents are connected to public schools, social service agencies, hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores, etc.

    What ideas do others have on how to share the extremely valuable information compiled by your board with the most important group, low income housing consumers? Thanks!

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