On BOARD is a unique service that provides arts organizations and their board of directors with the opportunity to be matched with highly-qualified and trained individuals ready to engage as active board members. Since 1999, the Arts & Business Council of Chicago has successfully matched over 300 business professionals with nonprofit arts boards in the Chicago area.

How It Works

We recruit business professionals who are looking to serve on an arts and culture nonprofit’s Board of Directors. The board candidates attend a series of trainings that cover the major aspects of board service. At the onset of the program, the candidates and participating arts organizations attend a formal networking event to learn more about each other. Candidates then begin attending performances, exhibits and other events, and meeting with the board and staff of organizations they’re interested in. 

At the end of the program, the candidates and arts organizations confirm a mutual match and the organization elects the matched candidate to its Board of Directors.

We offer the program three times a year: 

  • Winter session runs February - May
  • Spring session runs May - August
  • Fall session runs September - January 

Click here to see learning objectives.

Is Your Arts Organization Ready to participate?


  • Annual budget between $50K-1.5M
  • 3+ years of incorporation
  • Board of 5+ members
  • 2 or more non-founding/non-staff board members
  • Directors & Officers insurance
  • Regular performances/programming scheduled during the first 2-3 months of the program session
  • Regular board meeting schedule

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 501c3 tax-exempt status is current
  • Current client of A&BC
  • Up-to-date Board Member Expectations Description
  • Must provide comp tickets to performances/programming during the session with the exception of fundraisers



Application Process

If you’re already a client, please complete the On BOARD Application. If your organization has not come in for a formal consultation, you will need to submit a New Client Application and meet with the A&BC Programs Team before you’re eligible to participate in the program.

Accepted organizations must attend the Meet the Boards networking session during which they’ll meet the board candidates for the first time and discuss the mission and history of the organization, current/upcoming initiatives, as well as how new board members can contribute to the organization. Official acceptances to participate in the program are sent out two weeks before the Meet the Boards date.

Meet the Boards Dates (5-8pm):

  • Winter: February 7, 2018 - Application deadline is Jan 12
  • Spring: May 16, 2018 -  Application deadline is Apr 13
  • Fall: Sept 26, 2018 - Application deadline is Aug 17

Program Fee

Organization's Annual Budget Participation Fee
< $450,000 $350
$450,000 - $850,000 $550
> $850,000 $750

On BOARD fees are nonrefundable and are not dependent on a match being made. 

For more information about the On BOARD program, please contact Noemi Garcia at ngarcia@artsbiz-chicago.org or (312) 372-1876 ext. 103.