Inclusive Board Practices

The mission of Beyond Tokenism Research and Education Center (BTREC) is to enhance the capacity of organizations to have self-advocates serve as effective members of their boards and policy-making bodies.   Our goal is to create a community of practice that promotes the use of evidence based, inclusive practices as replicable methods for successful board inclusion.

The Beyond Tokenism National Study conducted by BTREC found that successful practices occur when organizations focus on five key elements.  The best supports help people with disabilities with:

Authentic Membership:     They feel like they are equal members.

Deliberate Communication:  They can understand information they receive and communicate with the other members.

Full Participation: They have what they need to be actively involved in the group.

Meaningful Contributions:  They have roles and responsibilities that help the group.

True Influence:  They feel like they are making a difference in what the group does and how they do it.

A key factor that leads to inclusive board practices is the provision of supports and mentors.

Supports and Mentors:   They receive the the tools and coaching opportunities needed to prepare for and be effective at meetings of the board of directors.

When best practices in these areas are incorporated into a board’s customs and culture by its leadership, transformational outcomes can be expected for both the organization as well as the self-advocates who serve on the board.