A board full of individuals who are prepared, present and willing to give of themselves can elevate the performance of any philanthropy. And few organizations have greater incentive to fully tap the potential of their boards than community foundations, most of which are poised for rapid growth but challenged by limited experience and resources. From 2005 to 2011, The James Irvine Foundation worked closely with a set of California's youngest and smallest community foundations through our Community Foundations Initiative II, investing $12 million to accelerate their growth and leadership potential. Through this work, participating community foundations gained special perspective on why an engaged board is essential to achieving their missions and how to build boards that are ready to learn, support and best represent the community foundations they've agreed to serve. Indeed, helping community foundations bring out the best in their board members, individually and collectively, has been one of the more enduring areas of value gained from this work.