About Us

The Appointments Project® works to increase equity and opportunity for women by empowering them to serve on civic boards and commissions.

Women are underrepresented on civic boards and commissions.

Established by the Women’s Foundation in 2014, the Appointments Project® works to empower women and strengthen communities by increasing the gender diversity of civic boards and commissions. Through a landmark study, we identified the barriers causing women to be underrepresented on civic boards and commissions, and we established the Appointments Project® to improve the number of women serving.

Research + Appointments Project® = Results

Gender diversity on civic boards and commissions increases effectiveness and improves public trust. Grounded in research, our Appointments Project® builds stronger communities and enhances collaboration.

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Our Research

In 2014, the Women’s Foundation commissioned a research study lead by Dr. Barbara Kerr, a researcher and professor at the University of Kansas, with the following objectives:

  1. Gain descriptive information about women’s attitudes towards civic engagement
  2. Compare responses at three levels of civic engagement
  3. Draw themes from small groups

After three months of online surveys, focus groups, and analysis, the results highlight the significant barriers that keep women from becoming involved in boards and commissions.

Key Findings from the 2014 Study

Key Finding 1

Women who have not served feel that they don’t have the knowledge and expertise needed, and feel less confident in their leadership skills. Previous volunteer work added to their confidence.

Key Finding 2

Women believe that they won’t be asked to serve, although they would like to. They were concerned about selection processes, not knowing how selection was done.

Key Finding 3

Structural issues were equally important to all groups: women wanted to be absolutely sure that time was spent efficiently; that meetings were conveniently scheduled; and that they would see results of their efforts for the time spent.

Key Finding 4

Women need mentoring in order to feel knowledgeable, confident, and to feel a sense of belonging.

Key Finding 5

Board leadership needs training in how to be more inclusive of women and minorities, how to run meetings democratically, and how to hold timely and efficient meetings.

Appointments Project® Case Studies

Seeing Results

Kansas City, Missouri

The Appointments Project® partnered with Kansas City Mayor Sly James to increase the number of women serving on Kansas City’s public boards and commissions. As a result, the percentage of women represented on Kansas City, Missouri’s civic boards and commissions increased from 33% in 2014 to 43% in 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get involved?

For women interested in serving on a civic board, please fill out the application located here. For women interested in trainings to learn more about the Appointments Project and getting involved, sign up here. For political executives interested in collaborating with us to improve civic board diversity, please fill out this form. For organizations interested in partnering with the Appointments Project in your community, please fill out this form. For organizations interested in sponsorship of our work, please email info@appointmentsproject.org.

Are there any costs associated with participating in the Appointments Project®?

There are no costs associated for applicants, political executives, or currently serving civic board members.

Is the Appointments Project® a nonpartisan initiative?

Yes, we welcome all women, political executives, and currently serving civic board members to get involved. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How do we get more women in our community to apply for civic boards?

We are here to help. To begin, share your contact information with us by filling out our contact form, and we’ll set up a time to visit with you about strategies to improve the civic board diversity in your community.

Apply Today

Learn more about completing an application with the Appointments Project®.

Your Community and the Appointments Project

Reach out to learn more about partnering with the Appointments Project® in your community, sponsoring a training, or attending an upcoming event.