Board of Directors Competencies and Responsibilities

Board of Directors Responsibilities

Directors serve on the Global Vitiligo Foundation Board of Directors. Their fiduciary duty is the primary responsibility of every board member.

A fiduciary duty requires board members to make good-faith decisions that put the best interests of the foundation in alignment with its mission. This must be kept independent from undue influence by any person or any other financial interests. A board member’s fiduciary duty can be broken down into three parts: care, loyalty, and obedience.

  • With regard to the duty of care, board members must perform their responsibilities in a manner that is in line with the care, diligence, and skill of an ordinarily prudent person who would find themselves in a similar situation in a corresponding position.
  • The duty of loyalty mandates board members and officers to behave in a manner that is in good faith and believed to put the interests of the foundation before any personal interests or those of another person or organization. The fiduciary cannot act out of avarice or expedience either.
  • The duty of obedience requires board members to ensure the foundation is operating in a manner that furthers its stated purpose and is always operating in compliance with all statutes and regulations.

Day-to-day fiduciary duty plays out in the following ways:

  • Board members set the direction for the foundation: perform strategic thinking and planning, promote a positive public image, set mission and vision, establish organizational values, approve operational and annual plans
  • Board members ensure wise use of foundation resources: hire capable staff, provide fiduciary responsibility
  • Board members provide oversight of the foundation: oversee financial management, minimize exposure to risk, measure progress on strategic plan, monitor programs and services, provide legal and moral oversight, evaluate the staff, and perform self-evaluation

Additional responsibilities include coordinating and leading various board workgroups/task forces, representing the foundation at various events, advocating for GVF in their professional contexts, and responding to changes in the vitiligo community and research field.

What Competencies Are Needed to Perform This Role Well?


  • Understand GVF’s structure, policies, and culture (including its mission, vision, values, goals, current strategic plan, governance structure, role of staff and volunteers, programs and services)
  • Understand the current vitiligo community, research, and their direction (including a vitiligo cure acceptance/non-acceptance in different community contexts, threats/challenges for the foundation, and the foundations’ role in finding a cure and support of people with vitiligo.)

Leadership Skills

  • Ability to inspire and empower others, including the recruitment and mentoring of new leaders
  • Use resources effectively to achieve set goals, including organizing tasks, delegating responsibilities that use people’s skills efficiently, and directing other resources

 Strategic Thinking & Decision Making

  • Ability to consider the big picture while being goal/future-oriented, not get caught in minutiae
  • Ability to process large amounts of information; synthesize and incorporate multiple viewpoints and perspectives
  • Ability to think independently and critically (including using research data, asking questions, challenging unsubstantiated information)
  • Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify issues as well as the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems
  • Ability to make informed decisions efficiently and take action when needed
  • Ability to be objective at all times about what is best for the whole of the foundation rather than what is best for a particular constituency
  • Ability to analyze reports of standing committees, task forces, etc. and comment on drafts of publications and other documents as appropriate

Communication Skills

  • Speak professionally in small or large groups with prepared materials (including to articulate oneself clearly, concisely, and logically while addressing the audience’s needs)
  • Enhance one’s intercultural competence continually and proactively, to represent the foundation in interactions with culturally and linguistically diverse groups of people in multiple contexts effectively
  • Facilitate group discussions strategically (including focusing on the agenda and working for practical consensus)
  • Advocate for vitiligo research/cure, people with vitiligo on a local to international scale
  • Promote transparency, communicating developments to the vitiligo community, affiliates, etc. and invite input
  • Operate in an online environment efficiently and effectively

Independent & Team Work

  • Ability to effectively collaborate with the Executive Director, Board colleagues, and staff
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to interact with other board members in a group setting, both contributing to and valuing the contributions of all members
  • Ability to provide feedback to the staff on behalf of the Board

Financial Skills

  • Ability to understand and analyze financial reports
  • Ability to review and analyze proposed budgets in light of Foundation resources, strategic goals, and priorities

What Is Expected of the Candidate?

It is expected that you…

  • have a commitment to the purpose, mission, and values of the foundation
  • have a strong interest in working on the advancement of the foundation
  • have cultural awareness, understanding, and appreciation of different cultural needs
  • act morally and ethically in accordance with the law and the values of the foundation
  • avoid conflicts of interest
  • understand the need to base decisions on what is good for the foundation
  • accept accountability for group decisions so that the Board of Directors speaks with one voice
  • can dedicate 2–4 hours a week to your board work for a term of up to three (3) years
  • prepare for all meetings and conference calls in advance and actively participate in all of them
  • efficiently use technology to respond to online communications (emails, web meetings, conference calls)
  • maintain confidentiality
  • have institutional support for their service during their board term

Current Open Board Positions

Director-at-Large (3 positions)

See information under “Board of Directors Responsibilities” above. The term for each position may vary from 1-3 years. This will be determined prior to inviting a new board member.

Current Open Officer Positions

President-Elect/Secretary (1 position)

  1. The President-Elect shall preside at the meetings of the Foundation and of the Board in the absence of the President.
  2. In the event of the disability of the President, the President-Elect shall become acting President with all the powers of the President.
  3. If there is no President-Elect in office in the event of the disability of the President, succession shall proceed as defined in Section 4 of Article IV.
  4. The President-Elect or a designate shall keep minutes and records of the decision at all meetings of the Foundation.
  5. The President-Elect shall be the custodian of all records and papers of the Foundation, except the financial records.
  6. The President-Elect or a designate shall keep a correct list of all contacts of the Foundation.
  7. The President-Elect shall ensure that annual reports of committees are filed in accordance with these Bylaws and/or the Foundation’s Administrative Regulations.
  8. The President-Elect shall assure that all notices are given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws, Foundation Administrative Regulations, or as required by law.
  9. For purposes of the Michigan Nonprofit Act, the President-Elect will fulfill the requirement for a Secretary position.

Treasurer (1 position)

  1. The Treasurer of the Foundation shall oversee staff who will demand and receive all funds, bequests, and donations due to the Foundation and who shall deposit them in an appropriate bank account held in the Foundation’s name.
  2. The Treasurer shall disburse such funds from the treasury as the Board shall direct.
  3. The Treasurer shall make a report of the state of the treasury to the Board, at meetings of the Foundation as necessary or requested by the Board, and at such other times as may be necessary.
  4. The Treasurer shall serve as the Chair of the Finance Committee, or similarly named a committee, that oversees the financial health and wellbeing of the Foundation.

Vice-President of Patient Affairs (1 position)

  1. Act as the primary voice, on the board, for the needs of people with vitiligo.
  2. Outreach and relationship development with vitiligo support groups
  3. Seek input from people with vitiligo and develop programs and resources for their use and support. (Assistance from staff and committees)
  4. Support and help lead advocacy outreach efforts for the foundation.

The information used above was pulled from and on 1/4/21 and updated for GVF’s use.