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Online Resource Center Documents

The Common Roof Partner Meetings – Terms of Reference
Tramway Summary Report Recommendations include the execution of two MOUs as well as guidance on how best to staff and manage the space.
Community Building’s Executive Committee Bylaws


Topics Below

Tenant Council and Advisory Groups
Advisory for Facilities Committee
Shared Space and Tenant Council Examples

Tenant Council and Advisory Groups

Ask-NCN Conversation on 2/13/2014

Katie Edwards, NCN
I’ve been digging through our resource library, and I can’t seem to put my hands on any documents related to tenant advisory groups at the moment. I’m looking for resources from centers with formal or semi-formal groups of tenants that exist to give feedback to the overall owner/landlord.

Do you have a job description or a guiding document that details the roles and responsibility of this tenant group? Would you share it with us?

I’m interested in knowing more about:

  • What role does your tenant advisory group play? Are they a governing body like a nonprofit board? Do they have a say in setting rents or recruiting tenants? Or are their responsibilities more focused on building community and special events in the space? What are the limits of their power?
  • Does each tenant have a representative? Are only major tenant involved? Are the representatives the same from time to time?
  • How often does your tenant group meet?
  • Do you have term limits for representatives?
  • How do you set expectations with this group?

Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We are just forming our group and calling it a Leadership Committee. The only structure we have so far:

Monthly meetings, one representative (senior staff level) from each organization.
Purpose: Provide leadership to Center development through:

  • setting priorities on goals, projects, amenities to be implemented
  • establish and enforce a tenant selection process
  • provide input/leadership in developing special events for the Center
  • problem solve/establish priorities with the landlord (the landlord is a nonprofit partner and will attend the meetings when requested) – all property management issues are to be relayed by each tenant directly to the landlord and this meeting to be resolved to talk about greater issues, establish priorities, and discuss with the landlord
  • develop, implement, monitor steps to achieve community impact goals

They will not have a “legal” existence, but a leadership committee to help guide the development of the Center echo-system is important for buy-in and so our organization does not become the only voice.

We had our first meeting a week ago to share the development progress of the Center; establish a member agreement; and set the tone for a future leadership committee.

I’m looking forward to seeing what others do as we could use some structure and move from vision to action on this.

P.S. We officially open our doors on April 1st, 2014 as the Connecticut Nonprofit Center in Hartford Connecticut, a 86,000 square foot campus of two buildings! We will be developing our ecosystem of nonprofit members as for-profit leases expire and nonprofits replace them over the next five years. We open our doors with 9 nonprofits occupying 45% of the space and envision 20 – 30 nonprofits with 250 employees by 2018. Thanks to the efforts of the Nonprofit Center Network, both as consultants and to the network for your best practices, guidance, etc. We could NEVER have gotten to this stage without everyone’s support. Even though we haven’t met any of you personally, know that your exchange of ideas have been utilized fully during our development phase.

Glen Newby, The Common Roof
I am attaching the Terms of Reference for the monthly Partner meetings in our Common Roof facilities. Please feel free to share.

LINK: The Common Roof Partner Meetings – Terms of Reference

Jody Ensign, Third Street Center
In the two years of planning and construction, before the Center actually opened, we did have a Tenants’ Advisory Council to hear updates on the progress, set guidelines for building operations and to answer questions that the developers/architects had. They did advise on policies to be considered. However once the Center opened we began having monthly tenant meetings, opened to all tenant organizations. Tenant organizations usually assigned this task to either their ED or Office Manager. The first year, attendance was good, so many questions to answer and to learn how the building operated. We now, after 3 ½ years, only have quarterly meetings or as major issues arise. The tenants have two representatives on the Board of Directors. These two reps help coordinate the quarterly meetings and bring important issues to the Board’s attention. These representatives serve a three year term, as all other Board members.

The tenants are asked to bring issues to be discussed, problems which need to be addressed and then once or twice a year they do organize social gatherings. Tenants are encouraged make all decisions which affect them; give opinions on extra CAM expenses to be incurred, setting policies on scheduling common spaces, organizing “Friend Raisers” or fund raisers to benefit the whole building. We are now exploring necessary security measures.

Tenants have learned to realize that they need to participate in the meetings, as decisions will be made which affect them, such as the electrical consumption policy enacted last year, and they will be expected to abide by them. The Board of Directors of Third Street Center and I highly respect the opinions of the tenants so while the B of D has the ultimate authority, we usually defer to the opinions of the tenants when making decisions. The tenants greatly appreciate this respect and we want to make our tenants happy so they stay with us. This approach has created a positive “family” atmosphere where tenants are collaborating more on programs, events and freely offer assistance wherever needed. And when issues are to be decided I am always amazed that they are thinking of the collective group, not just their personal needs. This has taken awhile to accomplish and of course we still have differences, but they seem to work them out amicably.

Last year we began having an annual joint B of D/ Tenant meeting to discuss any issues and to coordinate the tenants’ vision with the TSC mission. This has helped a lot to diminish the feeling of “we” and “they”. Other than the tenant reps being elected to the board of Directors, we do not have anything official or in writing. The working relationship has just evolved as the building is maturing.

Megan Devenport, Denver Shared Spaces
We provide annual consulting grants to local shared spaces. Last year, one grantee was the Tramway Nonprofit Center that worked with the consultant to develop a more effective structure for managing the center, building relationships and collaborative opportunities between tenants, and formalizing the relationship of the tenant group to the landlord. The recommendations included the execution of two MOUs as well as guidance on how best to staff and manage the space. I’ve attached the final report for your reference. The MOUs are in the appendix along with the survey tools that were used to gather info and guide the process.

Link: Tramway Summary Report

Judy Lind, Kukui Children’s Center
Better late than never.
I did send you the amendment to our leases which is a Collaboration Agreement.
I’d like to add the following:
For a year before we opened, we met monthly with the ED’s of prospective tenant social services programs as a group. We got their input on the physical site, operations, rules, and management of the building although we employ a commercial management company. That was a very useful process as it insured we would have buy in when we opened.We called it our Tenant Advisory Group.
For the first year we met monthly, then bi-monthly (second year) and now quarterly since our 4th year. In our meetings each program provides an update, reports collaborations among programs, and has produced products such as our collaborative center brochure, newsletter, website etc. Each has brought important resources to the table and each contributes to the agenda. We problem solve, generate ideas for new initiatives such as collaborative board training, staff training and pot lucks.
To answer your questions:
1. They are not a governing board and have no say in the rents; they are tenants
2. They are advisory to our foundation which owns and operates the building but we almost always agree on what directions to take
3. The tenant representative is always the ED; because we set the date to everyone’s convenience it is rare that we don’t have 100% attendence
4.Our meetings are for 90 minutes quarterly and the same people attend; it is a management group.

Advisory for Facilities Committee

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 2/15/17

Debbie Shoemaker, Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
Our organization is in the process of buying a building and developing a nonprofit center. We have found the location and almost through the purchasing phase and need to turn our sites toward the next phase of space design and development. We are currently starting up a Facilities Committee that will need members that have experience in helping the project manager during the development, design, and renovation process. An example would be a consulting general contractor willing to act as a consultant only and guide us through the construction process.

Alexandra Urbanowski, SVCreates
Our advisory committee includes several people in the real estate development and construction fields who volunteer and provide advice but are not paid consultants or formal contractors on the project. We have a developer, a civil engineer and others. Very helpful!

Judy Lind, Kukui Children’s Center
I think your next stage would be to identify potential tenant programs so they can indicate how much space they need and be involved in designing the interiors. That is what we did and it worked very well for us.
We had an architect who acted as our space designer and worked with each prospective tenant to customize their areas. For example, some will need waiting rooms, a staff kitchen/lounge, conference room etc. where others may not.

I also advise people taking more space than they immediately need so they don’t have to move out as they grow their programs.
You can go online to to see what our center looks like.

Pam Mauk, Together Center
Larger organizations in our area have staff members that lead facility development for their organizations. We have had tremendous help from high-level managers in our area at, for example, Microsoft and Group Health (now Kaiser Permanente). Their backgrounds are often in planning/urban development, construction and law. They are more the big picture people around process, decision-making, accountability and checks and balances. You might see who does the kind of work you are doing but at a major corporation, which may allot a certain time for community volunteer engagement.

Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
We used facility design task force that ended with build out and then a facilities committee of our board members after that.

The task force had a large GC, and 2 engineers, and architect, a leasing professional and a guy from the building department.

We established goals for the project design focused on:

  • Energy Conservation
  • Efficient flow from lobby to all office spaces
  • Highest density of gross leasable area
  • General “Built Environment”

The committee helped us with governance and policy goals and more input on organizations and community needs to target. We had great results in build out costs, but did not have enough influence on the built environment and needed to go back and “open up” some of our space for a more open and warm feel to the center.

Vincent Tilford, Luella Hannan Memorial Fund
If there isn’t a bank involved, then someone needs to manage the draw process and ensure that lien waivers are obtained before each payment. That person could be a committee member.

Tim O’Donnell, City of Edmonton
I would highly advise that you incorporate a person or people who have building operations experience, as they can provide input into how to design efficiently or how design will ultimately affect operation routines and the building’s financial bottom line. At the City of Edmonton, we have myself and another staff person who support shared spaces in the mutli-cultural and support to newcomer settlement realms. The non-profit partner groups we have invested in to operate these buildings/spaces are the experts in community needs and we provide the support/advice to the governing boards and their staff on operations, maintenance and programming strategies. We have heard that our support in this way has helped quite a bit, so maybe you can tap into municipal staff in your area in a similar way.


Shared Space and Tenant Council Examples

From Ask-NCN 2.21.18

Jessica McDonald, Greenbelt Land Trust
I am looking for examples of Tenant Council (or Advisory Council/Executive Council/etc.) guiding documents, such as a Charter or MOA. This would be for a Council that is formed separately from the Center’s board to guide governance/policy/tenant decisions within the Center. Any examples would be appreciated!

Katy Sheehan, Community Building
Attached is a copy of the by-laws for our executive committee. Just as a piece of (unsolicited) advice that is not reflected in this document, we have found that by not having a clear overall purpose or project, a lot of times this committee devolves into a complain-fest…”the pigeon poop is still on my window sill” or “the faucet in the 2nd floor bathroom is still loose” or “my office is too cold.” And while those issues are important, its also important to have a larger purpose that feels like they are contributing to our community in a meaningful way, otherwise no one comes.

In the past, they organized Earth Day celebrations and put on a Community Breakfast for homeless folks but those got co-opted by other organizations eventually. Right now they are our main way to get information out to our tenants fast and in person. So, to help revitalize the group, this year we are giving them a budget to do a project of their choice. We’re excited to see what they come up with and (if its good 😉 I’ll share it with the group.

Judy Lind, The Kukui CenterThe Kukui Center has a tenant management team comprised of all the Executive Directors of our programs.. We met monthly for a year before we opened and this attachment to the lease is one of the products. It has served us well as it sets up expectations and makes them clear.
The group met monthly for the first few years, then bi-monthly and now every 2-3 months since we opened in 2009 and more than half of the tenants are original. Meeting dates are set well in advance and are sacred. We usually get 100% attendence; rarely is there a need for a sub.
People are committed because we deal with substantive issues and everyone submits agenda items.

If you want to know more about how we operate you can go to our website at and see our short video.
Hope this helps.


Topics Below

Boards that Work for Emerging Orgs

Help Developing an Advisory Board/Committee

Board of Directors, Community Advisory Board & Bylaws

Board Manual

Terms of Reference For Your Board



Boards That Work For Emerging Orgs

Ask-NCN Conversation 11/15/2013

Debbie Walker, Jerry Forbes Centre
NCN members
I need some advice on working with my Board differently as we are an Emerging organization.
Our organization is in year 6 of a capital project, we have created a new legal entity to fundraise and build a multi-tenant centre in the past year…we open in 2 years. All good EXCEPT, the Board expects me to arrive with all the answers as if we are an already Operating entity with basic NP Board issues.
I believe as an Emerging organization we need a ‘transitional agenda’ in a very fast changing year we need to work differently as we move from fundraising into construction and then into Operations in 24 months.
Any suggestions for the AGENDA and Expectations of a Board during these times?


Joe Ader, Serve Denton
Debbie, We are in a very similar place as an organization. I have been talking with my board about our organization moving from a startup phase to a growth phase. It is like putting an airplane together while it is in flight. I even showed them this old EDS commercial and then let them know that what I needed from them is to build the framework and guidance system and then the staff could fill in the rest and fly the plane. I feel like this will be an ongoing theme for us in this phase.
I want to know, though, are you still raising funds or have you already raised the funds?


Dan Meyers, Al Sigl Community of Agencies
We went through this transition 45 years ago.
Our founding Board Chair was a rock; he guided the six year start up period and stayed on for the first 2 years of operation.
He was a young attorney of unusual skill; we are blessed that he is still active on our Foundation Board 51 years later.
A key board member or two can work with you to guide the plane to safe landing.
The other strength we had at the beginning was the experience and commitment of the larger member agency executives (2 of 7).
They anticipated operation needs and led the other members to practical solutions as needed.
Another resource may be a respected local not for profit leader to serve as your advisor;
Or you could hire an organizational development consultant to facilitate a transition planning process for you and your key stakeholders.
Good luck to you and happy to correspond more.
Peace, Dan


Andy Johnston, Loudoun Cares
Hey Debbie,

There are so many questions generated by your email. I think Dan is correct in suggesting a consultant to come in and work with you and your board.

Do you already have job descriptions for your board members?
Are the expectations for board members very clear?
Do your board members already give significant financial gifts to the effort?
Do your current board members have the capacity to raise the funds required for the campaign?

Is your start up board a group of people that can get you over the finish line or do you need a very different group with different skills?
Or can you blend your current group or some of your current group with new members that bring new skills needed for moving forward?
Do you have a solid committee structure with committee chairs that are tasked with helping arrive at some of the answers you need to come from your volunteers?

This is a very short list of questions. There are so many more. Again, bringing in someone objective to help you develop a plan for moving forward could be very beneficial. Of course, we have some wonderful consultants, working through the Nonprofit Centers Network. And there are many others that could provide such assistance.


Glorie Magrum, House of Neighborly Service
House of Neighborly Service is in the middle of a two year capital campaign and a renovation project, which included every aspect of planning from architectural to construction and everything in between. It is critical that we have an active, working Board-with every Board member making the effort to insure our project is not only successful, but comes in on time and completely within budget.
If your Board is not fully engaged, perhaps a Board Retreat, bringing in an expert consultant to reinforce the role, expectations and benefits of a working Board could get you back on track and spread the responsibility a little broader.

Help Developing an Advisory Board/Committee

Ask NCN Conversation 1/25/2012

Shanna Martin, MCCOY
Hello All,

My name is Shanna Martin and I’m the Director of an initiative in Indianapolis focused on preventing child abuse, neglect and delinquency through comprehensive community efforts that coordinate, build capacity and advocate for high-quality early intervention and prevention services in our county.

One of the strategies of our strategic plan is to create a co-location of services site where non-profit (and maybe some public) providers of child abuse, neglect and delinquency prevention/early intervention services will co-locate their services under one roof in a neighborhood demonstrated to have need but few existing services.

This project is very new for us (one year) and we’ve conducted some of the needs assessment work to identify the neighborhoods and now we’re going to be working with the NonprofitCenters Network to complete the feasibility study and market assessment.

We are in the process of putting together an advisory board/committee (that may morph into the board of directors) and I was looking for advice regarding sectors that should be represented, sample MOU’s or agreements you may have with advisory committee/board members, the role they play, expectations, etc. etc. We currently have a task force that’s been great but they are all social service providers. So we are looking to expand the group to include folks from real estate, construction, legal, economic development, etc. that can help shape and guide the project. Any information/insight/documents you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Feel free to learn more about our project:


Ardi Korver, Region V
There are a couple of places in Nebraska that do this. You could contact Lynn Ayres at the Child Advocacy Center in Lincoln…402-476-3200…. and in Omaha – don’t have a phone number, but it is called “Project Harmony.”


Beth Hunter, City of Edmonton
Hi there,
There a couple of centres in Edmonton dealing with family violence and child abuse. The two I am aware of are co-located multi-disciplinary teams. You could try to follow up with them directly. The Zebra Centre has been around for a while. The Today Centre is quite new. Website links:
Best of luck


Deb Klevans, Collaboration of Arts, Social Services & Education
Our group has been working for seven years and has not been able to convince donors to provide land or a downpayment on renovating a building, so I am not sure our experience is a role model. Nevertheless, we have had some expertise represented on our board that is very useful. In addition to those you listed, I’d add a banker, someone with strong PR experience and if possible an architect as well as someone who is an experienced and effective meeting facilitator. Also make contact with local office holders — mayor, local legislators, etc. Good Luck.


Peggy Eagan, Children and Family Services Center
Hi Shanna –
CFSC brought a variety of folks onto our planning advisory group, determined by the skills and expertise they possessed. For instance, we had developers, commercial real estate brokers, furniture, technology and signage (way finding) professionals, real estate attorneys and financial experts to name a few. Each of the professionals understood the commitment they were making was to help the project and would not result in paid work for them or the company they represented. We did hire a construction management firm to oversee the two phases of construction, and we also hired a professional fundraising team to manage the capital campaign. I hope this is helpful information!


Jean Butzen, Mission Plus Strategy Consulting
Hello Shanna,
Sorry to be late responding, but you may want to consider the Illinois Facilities Fund for real estate and financing advice/counsel on this project. I am sure they would want to be invited to submit a proposal to be hired, but perhaps initially they would agree to be an adviser. Of
course you are already connected to Tides Center through the Nonprofit Centers, but they have great sample materials. Also, you could check out the collaboration page on the Foundation Center web site which has a really nice database of almost 700 actual collaborations which you can search through, and you may find some co-location samples which you can then contact for direct conversations and copies of documents, etc. Hope this helps!

Board of Directors, Community Advisory Board, and By-Laws

Ask-NCN Conversation, 5/7/13

Phebe Bell, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Hi all- I am looking for examples of a governance model for a shared space where there is a board of directors but also some type of community advisory board or committee. I would love an example of roles and responsibilities or job descriptions for these two different entities. Thanks!


Peggy Eagan, Children and Family Services Center
Hi Phoebe – we chose just one Board of Directors, with a single Board Representative from each partner agency and an equal number of community “at-large” members. This Board sets policy, accepts fiduciary responsibility, hires/evaluates/fires the Executive Director, etc.

The partner agency Executive Directors also meet as a group regularly, but have no legal responsibility.

I hope this helps!


Phebe Bell
Thanks Peggy – do you have any by laws or job description documents from this group that you could share? Thanks you- Phebe


Peggy Eagen
ATTACHMENTS (updated 2010 version – replace on Member resources?)
ED Agreement – file under Governance Documents?


Heather Holt Villyard, ArtSpan
Hi All,
We recently created this job description for our Board of Directors. I would love to see some writing around Advisory Boards as we are in the process of formulating.


Mary Jo Dike, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Hi Phebe,
This may not be completely relevant as our organization’s community advisory committee was established to give advice and serve as a liaison to the community served by the Foundation and not just as it pertains to our nonprofit center. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has a 15 member Board of Directors and a 31 member Community Advisory Committee (CAC). Broadly, the Board is responsible for establishing policy, strategic direction and fiscal oversight. The Community Advisory Committee is responsible for governance and provides input to the Board as they move through a variety of decision making processes. Operationalizing this has been a challenge, as you don’t want to end of with two Boards.

Here is a link on Grantmakers in Health about CACs –

Attached is a copy of our bylaws. Let me know if I can provide you with more info.

Board Manual

Ask-NCN Conversation 1/21/14

Cesar Gaxiola, J. Walter Cameron Center
Recently we discussed the need for a Board Manual. Do any of you have one or how to go about? Also do any of you is mid way or almost done with your capital campaign and would share how you did for a theme and some of the logistics on how to go above?


Andrew Cutting, Foraker Group
Here is the outline for our board manual, I hope this helps.


1.1 Members of the Board and Their Terms
1.2 Members of the Staff
1.3 Board Job Description
1.4 List of Current Officers
1.5 Roles and Responsibilities of Officers
1.6 Board Committee List and Descriptions (standing/ad hoc)
1.7 Annual Schedule of Meetings
1.8 Governance Board Meeting Minutes
1.9 Operations Board Meeting Minutes

2.1 “The 7 Best Practices of High Performing Boards”
2.2 Orientation Info

3.1 Core Purpose and Core Values
3.2 The Foraker Nonprofit Sustainability Model
3.3 Current Strategic Plan
3.4 Current Operating Plan

4.1 Current Budget
4.2 Current Audit
4.3 Pro-forma Statement of Activities
4.4 Current 990

5.1 Articles of Incorporation
5.2 Foraker By-Laws

6.1 Travel Policy
6.2 Investment Policy
6.3 Summary of Policies

7.1 Code of Ethical Behavior
7.2 Board Member Compensation
7.3 Confidentiality Statement
7.4 Guiding Principles for Consultant and Staff behavior

8.1 Recommended Readings and Websites for Board Improvement
8.2 New Board Member Invitation and Orientation Protocol
8.3 Foraker Office Nomination Process
8.4 In-Kind Contribution Form
8.5 Foraker Business Plan
8.6 CEO Staff Transition Plan


Terms of Reference For Your Board

Ask-NCN Discussion 3/9/16

Katie Edwards, Nonprofit Centers Network
Hi NCN Members,

This question comes to us from Brenda Wong of the City of Edmonton:
We are finalizing our Governance Structure for MacEwan West project. We are exploring establishing a new management board (to oversee the facility operations, possibly leases and to apply for grants, etc.). The city will continue to own the building and provide capital improvements (building renewal) as well as facility maintenance (not custodial but capital maintenance).

Do you have any suggestions or examples of management board terms of references or structure that you could share? We are interested to know if they are typically non-profit groups/ societies/ part 9 companies, how the boards are structured and what the membership is comprised of.

The first part of this question is open to all of you NCN members – do you have a board terms of reference document that you are willing to share? For the second part, I’m particularly calling on our Canadian members to enlighten us on how you are legally structured. Not-for-profit? Charities? Part 9 Companies?

Thanks so much!


Pam Mauk, Together Center
Our American nonprofit started with 4 executive directors of founding agencies plus a board member from each agency. Within about 5 years, we started moving toward a more traditional nonprofit board that oversees the asset but also the mission, outreach, and more, with a mix of type of expertise. Once loans to founding agencies were paid off, the founding members started graduating off the board.

If your board is only looking closely at operations, it may not recruit the type of visionary people that help move a mission forward. Just something to consider: do you want mission drivers, oversight or both? Staff can oversee leases, facility maintenance and grants, which are not really volunteer roles, although the policies and big picture are, along with oversight. Just some thoughts.


Cesar Gaxiola, J. Walter Cameron Center

Your board members are volunteers to provide policy guidance, mission and vision for the agency. Also fundraising helping bringing funds in from the private sector. Anything to do with employees, grants, operations, management, maintenance, security and programs of the facility is the staff job to do.

In terms of the type of board members, you want people from different backgrounds i.e.: health, tourism, banking, private sector (large and/or small), etc… The more diversified the group you have at the board table the more resources you bring to the agency. You are looking on your board members to bring you treasurer, time and talent for free!

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