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Staff Reporter

Wednesday, 25th July 2012 at 9:57 am

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Increase in NFP Board Scholarships

By Staff Reporter,

Perpetual Trustees has announced additional funding to increase the number of scholarships available to chairmen and directors of Not for Profit boards, following a strong response to its program to promote education and governance in the sector.

Administered by the Australian Scholarships Foundation, and funded by the Perpetual Foundation and JS Love Trust, 440 scholarships will be offered to chairmen and board directors of charitable organisations to attend the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ The Not-For-Profit Board or The Role of the Not-for-Profit Chairman courses.

This is an increase from 325 scholarships offered in the 2011 program.

The announcement follows research undertaken during the inaugural 2011 program, which found that over a quarter of organisations governed by participants in The Role of the Not-for-Profit Chairman course had no budget for training, and there were vast differences in the application of governance practices across the sector.

Andrew Thomas, Perpetual General Manager, Philanthropy, said many NFPs lack the funds for formal professional development.

“Providing access to education is a vital part of improving governance and outcomes across the sector,” he said.

“Financial constraints and pressure to focus on social impacts often mean board education is not adequately funded. This can have a negative effect on the organisation’s ability to achieve outcomes.

“These scholarships give organisations and directors across the charitable sector greater access to formal governance education, enabling them to strengthen governance practices. They also prepare board members for making the tough decisions that come with leading an organisation.

“Given the high demand for places last year, we have decided to add 115 scholarships to the program to help more NFP board members perform their challenging roles.”

Amy Lyden, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Scholarships Foundation, said the scholarships are an opportunity to support the work of NFPs.

“The overwhelming demand for scholarships offered in 2011 is testament to the desire for board education in Australia’s NFP community.

“By providing opportunities like this, we’re hoping participants will share their new skills with colleagues, and therefore strengthening leadership and effectiveness throughout their organisations,” said Lyden.

Thomas added that current debate around the role of board directors should encourage NFPs to assess their leadership practices.

“Community and stakeholder expectations, and the misunderstanding between the roles of management and directors, mean it is essential that directors and boards understand their obligations. Good governance is paramount for directors at all levels, not just those working in the for-profit sector.

“Developing understanding of accountability is a vital part of helping organisations grow,” he said.

“Overall, knowledge, experience and training play a key role in building capacity in the sector.”

John Colvin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Company Directors, said The Not-For-Profit Board course was designed specifically for NFP directors looking to develop a deeper knowledge of directorship responsibilities, governance and performance issues relating to NFPs.

“The benefits from these scholarships extend beyond those experienced by the individual participants. The boards they serve on will also benefit significantly from the skills acquired by those individual directors who have completed the course,” Colvin said.

The Perpetual Foundation has funded the scholarships in partnership with the JS Love Trust.

Scholarship applications are now open until Sunday 5th August 2012. Applications are open to all existing board directors and chairmen of Australian charitable organisations. For more information on the scholarships, visit the Australian Scholarships Foundation’s website here.

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