Boards, charity, human service organizations, social welfare history, sustainability


What strategies did early boards of managers of charitable human service agencies pursue to build capacity in a way that sustained their efforts for more than a hundred years? Using primary and secondary documents to focus on two organizations- The Male Orphan Asylum (1846) and the Protestant Episcopal Church Home (1875)-three norms emerged: run it like a business, keep it like a house, and base it in the community, along with a host of associated activities. Based on these norms and activities, three strategies were identified: diversification of resources, working boards, and leadership continuity, all of which have implications for building capacity for sustainability in contemporary community-based human service agencies.

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