Institute for Foundation Board Leaders and Chief Executives

June 12-14, 2022  | The Lodge at Torrey Pines | La Jolla, CA
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The most important relationship for effective governance at institutionally related foundations is between the board chair and chief executive. To succeed, both must work as a team for the sake of the institution their foundation serves and the students who benefit from that service.

AGB’s Institute for Foundation Board Leaders and Chief Executives is based on AGB’s long-standing and highly acclaimed institutes for public and private universities and colleges.

The value in all AGB’s institute programs is that they enhance the working partnership and governance capability of board chair-chief executive teams.

Hear from those who have attended an AGB Institute for Foundation Board Leaders and Chief Executives.

Six Key Reasons to Attend:

Step away from the day to day, engage in shared planning, and benefit from expert guidance. Board chairs and chief executives will spend dedicated, structured time together. In doing so they will:

  1. Establish mutual expectations around roles and responsibilities
  2. Delve into the dynamics of the foundation-institution relationship: focus on alignment and jointly commit to the foundation’s role in advancing the strategic priorities of the university/college
  3. Establish mutual understanding and a framework for holding each other – and the board – accountable for advancing the foundation’s strategic priorities
  4. Assess the board and develop a unique “governance action plan” for turning board governance into a value-added asset
  5. Receive one-on-one consultation with experts
  6. Share memorable moments with a peer network that can be tapped for support after the institute concludes

Participants will depart having strengthened their team, found answers to emerging challenges, and created a focused agenda that moves both the board and the foundation forward.


  • AGB’s renowned institutes are highly engaging, small by design, and for members only –so you get the attention you need.
  • The contemplative environment is suited for focused learning and action planning.
  • Lively, facilitated small group sessions reveal best practices and innovations in governance and examples of effective strategies from other foundations.
  • Chair-chief executive team meetings are interspersed throughout the program and one-on-one consultations provide added guidance.

Event Resources


Day One: Sunday, June 12
11:15 am – 12:30 pm Lunch and Welcome
Meet your fellow participants and participate in an introductory special exercise to better understand what success means to your foundation team.
12:30 – 1:30 pm Board Leaders Confidential
Chief Executive Confidential

An opportunity for the board leaders and chief executives to meet.
1:30 – 1:45 pm Break
1:45 – 2:30 pm Introductions and Setting the Stage
Meet the facilitators, review the overall institute program, and engage in an early discussion about your expectations for the Institute.
2:30 – 4:30 pm The Chair and Chief Executive: Partners in Governance
Learn the fiduciary fundamentals, how foundation board governance has changed over time, and discuss future challenges. Make explicit a set of mutual expectations of “who does what, and when.” Institute or strengthen the practice of governing well as a leadership priority and an ongoing and dynamic practice.
4:30 – 5:30 pm Team Meeting #1
In the first of four essential activities between your foundation team, identify the attributes of your foundation/institution relationship and opportunities to enhance alignment and promote growth.
5:30 – 5:45 pm Parking Lot and End of Day Debrief
5:45 – 6:30 pm Free Time
6:30 – 8:30 pm Reception and Dinner

Day Two: Monday, June 13
7:30 – 8:15 am Breakfast
8:15 – 8:30 am Setting the Stage: A New Day
Reflect on the first team meeting and address emerging topics and questions.
8:30 – 10:00 am The New Realities for 21st Century Foundations
The environment of higher education has changed and foundations need to adjust accordingly. Examine how the board and chief executive can cultivate foundation responsiveness, innovation, and boldness, as well as facilitate collaboration.
10:00 – 10:15 am Break
10:15 – 11:30 am An Anatomy of Good Board Governance
Understand how foundations can understand and apply the principles of good board governance and to assess and improve their own governance practice.
11:30 – 12:30 pm Team Meeting #2
Assessing Your Board: Where Are You Now?
12:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 2:00 pm Foundation/Institution Partnership
Explore the dynamics of the relationship, the distinct roles of the foundation and institution, perspectives on different foundation models, and hallmarks of an effective foundation/institutional partnership.
2:00 – 3:00 pm Panel on the Foundation/Institution Partnership
Hear from a foundation board chair, CEO, and university president on how to navigate a successful relationship and the lessons they have learned.
3:15 – 4:30 pm Team Meeting #3
Reflecting on the Foundation/Institution Relationship and Partnership
4:30 – 5:00 pm Parking Lot and End of Day Debrief
5:00 – 6:15 pm Open Time
6:15 – 8:30 pm Reception, Dinner and Fireside Chat

Day Three: Tuesday, June 14
7:30 – 8:15 am Breakfast
8:15 – 9:30 am Building a High Performing Board
Learn ways to improve board policies, practices, and ultimately a board culture that adds strategic value and moving your foundation to the next level towards preeminence.
9:30 – 10:30 am Final Team Meeting
Leadership Team Action Plan
10:30 – 11:45 am Plan Presentations
Address lingering questions, share learning with your peers, and clarify the commitments you have made to your foundation team and to yourself.
11:45am – 1:00pm Closing Session & Lunch
Before returning home take advantage of one final opportunity to consult one-on-one with institute facilitators and AGB staff to ensure that your chief executive and foundation board chair partnership is prepared and supported for future success.


headshot of Cheri O'Neill, President and CEO of Colorado State University Foundation
Cherí O’Neill

Cherí E. O’Neill is president and CEO of the Colorado State University (CSU) Foundation, which helps promote, develop, and enhance CSU by receiving, managing, and investing all contributions, gifts, and bequests given to the university. A veteran foundation, nonprofit, and advancement leader in the higher education arena, O’Neill most recently was president/CEO of the Ball State University Foundation, where she oversaw a team of seventy-five professionals responsible for development, alumni relations, and stewardship of the endowment. Before that, she was CEO of the 200,000-member Alpha Chi Omega women’s fraternity, its foundation, and its housing corporation. For seventeen years, O’Neill served in increasingly responsible roles, including admissions, international recruiting, alumni relations, and development, for Indiana University, its Kelley School of Business, and its College of Arts and Sciences. 

George Watt, Sr. Fellow AGB Consulting
George P. Watt, Jr.

George Watt Jr. joined AGB as a senior fellow in July 2017, supporting institutionally related foundations. In this role, he assists and advises on programs and research supporting the work of public university foundation boards, including AGB’s Foundation Leadership Forum. Prior to joining AGB, he served as the executive vice president of institutional advancement at the College of Charleston and the executive director of the College of Charleston Foundation. During his tenure in this joint role, the College of Charleston completed its largest and most comprehensive fundraising campaign in its history. Watt came to the College of Charleston from the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, where he served as the joint president and chief executive officer. In 2005, the Naval Academy Foundation, with Watt at the helm, completed a six-year comprehensive campaign resulting in $254 million in new gift commitments. Prior to his tenure at the Naval Academy, he held executive positions with First Union Corp.’s Enterprise Solutions Group, as well as IBM Consulting Group’s North American Financial Services practice. 

Registration & Refund Policy

Registration Fee – $8,900: The registration fee includes program expenses for both the board chair and the president, private lodging for the nights of June 12 and June 13, meals during the Institute, and program materials.

Accommodations And Travel

The Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 N Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to AGB will issue a full refund if written notification of cancellation is provided to AGB by April 12, 2022 for the summer program. AGB will issue refunds after the meeting. No refunds will be issued for attendees who cancel after this date. AGB is not responsible for cancellations due to airline disruption, inclement weather or schedule changes.

Institute Application

To see a list of member institutions, see the Member List.

Board Chair Information

President/CEO Information

Additional Team Member

Administrative Assistant/Coordinator

Payment and Refund Policies

Please select your preferred payment method. Upon review and acceptance of your application, you will be contacted by the AGB Registrar to complete your payment.

Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to Cancellations received on or before May 21, 2021 are entitled to a full refund. No refunds will be granted for cancellations after this date.