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obs for America's Graduates recognizes the value of an oversight body that feels a sense of ownership and commitment to the mission of the organization. In addition to a well-organized and active JAG Board of Directors, there are approximately 1,500 board members that serve on a state or local Board of Directors. It is recommended that the following "Best Practices" be included in the organizing and training of state and local board members.

BP #1 - The selection of the Board Chair is the single most important decision in building a productive Board of Directors. Invest whatever time and effort is needed to find the "right" person to serve as Board Chair. The Board Chair should:

  • Be a high level, recognizable leader
  • Have the right level of commitment
  • Be prepared to invest adequate time and energy

BP #2 - Board members should be senior level representatives of the key stakeholders of a JAG statewide program. The JAG Model prescribes 51% or more of the board members should represent the private sector. Stakeholders include:

  • Business
  • Government
  • Education
  • Foundations
  • Community-Based Organizations
  • Labor

BP #3 - The board should include representatives of funding sources (i.e., business, foundations, labor organizations, etc.). Remember: "People support what they help create!"

BP #4 - Prospective board members should be personally interviewed and provided all "facts" about the organization. Remember: "No surprises is the rule." Board members should not be surprised by disclosures after they agree to serve on the board of directors. When problems arise, distribute information to your board members immediately. If a matter is urgent, an emergency board conference call (or meeting) should be convened. Remember: "Board members should hear about problems from the chief executive not others."

BP #5 - Board members should be informed regularly. Remember: "Communicate, communicate, communicate." Board members should receive periodic (monthly or bi-monthly) mailings (i.e., correspondence, briefings, reports, etc.) from the chief executive officer. News - good or bad - should be shared immediately with board members. No surprises.

BP #6 - Board meetings should be interesting, well-organized, informative and efficient. Information should be provided to board members in advance, including an agenda and briefing as to the importance of the topics to be considered by the Board. Special presentations for board meetings include:

  • Testimonials and/or briefings by program participants or staff.
  • Potential funding sources may want to brief board members.
  • Testimonials by employers who are satisfied with the program.
  • Policy briefings by state legislators

BP #7 - Board members should be invited to provide special services to the organization, including:

  • Visit a JAG program
  • Speak at a JAG function (i.e., Initiation and Installation Ceremony, Career Development Conference, chapter meeting, classroom session, etc.)
  • Encourage a prospective employer to offer quality jobs to JAG participants
  • Call or visit a prospective donor and encourage the organization to invest in the JAG program
  • Write a letter of endorsement
  • Employ JAG participants
  • Serve as judges or workshop presenters at the Career Development Conference
  • Attend a JAG national event, i.e., National Leadership Awards Events, National Training Seminar, CSA Winter Planning Meeting, etc.

BP #8 - Board members should receive recognition for their service to the organization. Recognition options include:

  • Organize a recognition event at the home of the Governor or corporate executive
  • Present small tokens of appreciation to board members (paperweights, plaques, etc.)
  • Ask graduates to send letters of appreciation to board members for leading the JAG program

BP #9 - The organization should provide board members with "errors and omissions" insurance. Board members are fiscally responsible for the non-profit organization and it is appropriate to limit their exposure against "errors and omissions".

BP #10 - The chief executive and/or staff should respond promptly to all requests and observations by board members.

BP #11 - The chief executive and/or staff should listen carefully to board members and send the message that what they say and do is valued. Board members should never feel ignored or unimportant.

BP #12 - Board members should receive adequate background information when major decisions are under consideration, i.e. budget approval, hiring decisions, funding strategies, etc.

BP #13 - The chief executive should present the board with JAG's periodic accreditation report. JAG conducts periodic site reviews to determine the extent to which the state and local affiliates are operating JAG Model programs. At the request of the board or staff, JAG also conducts management reviews to give feedback to the management team to improve the overall operation of the statewide program.

BP #14 - An orientation should be presented to new board members immediately following membership on the board. It is recommended that the orientation include but not be limited to:

  • JAG Affiliation Agreement
  • JAG Model - Components, Standards and Outcomes
  • Corporate documents - Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Policies and Procedures, etc.
  • JAG Electronic National Data Management System (e-NDMS) Capabilities and Reports
  • JAG Accreditation Reviews (prior and current)
  • State budget and other financial documents (including the current audit report)
  • Directory of local programs and staff
  • National and State Calendar of Activities
  • JAG Model Books
  • JAG Curriculum Modules
  • Personnel Handbook
  • Marketing materials - print and/or video
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)


1729 King Street, Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.684.8400 · Fax 703.684.9489

JAG National Center for Evidence-based Practices
6021 Morriss Road, Suite 111
Flower Mound, TX 75028
972.691.4486 · Fax 972.874.0063


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