Network Governance

About Network Governance

Governance is the basic decisionmaking framework that outlines expectations for the statewide afterschool network to make decisions and policy proposals for the broader network constituency. The governance structure guides the network steering committee and assures network partners who may not be represented that governance is fair, consistent, participatory and accountable. It is a trust-building process that provides partners and constituencies with the operating principles of the network that they can rely on and know how they can participate or influence the vision, goals and activities of the network.

Key Information

  • Accountability—Accountable governance maintains healthy collaboration/partnerships
  • Develop Trust—Documented structural elements, roles of representatives serving in decisionmaking roles and procedural rules for arriving at a network decisions are matters basic to developing trust among diverse partners
  • Participation Breeds Strength—Opportunities for partners not on the governance structure to participate are important for attracting additional partners 
  • Diverse Stakeholders—Too many stakeholders from one type of constituency reduces the effectiveness and the usefulness of collaboration and narrows the agenda
  • Transparency—The process for reaching decisions are known and trusted; the meetings are open; the members of the governance structure understand they are accountable to their own organization and the collaboration as a whole; they agree to honor the process as determined by group decisions
  • Inclusivity—The governance process allows for leaders to be developed and organizations that want to have a clear path to serve and participate

Strategies to Support Network Governance

  • With your steering committee, review networks with a strong structure.
  • Take annual pulses of how the governance and structure are working for the network partners.  
  • Ask:
  1. Is our process and structure transparent?
  2. Does the steering committee know how much money has been spent and for what?
  3. Are partners chairing committees and governance meetings?
  4. Is participation in the work strong?
  5. Are all voices heard?
  6. Are we making participation easy?
  7. Does the field feel that the network is keeping their interests at heart?
  8. What can we do better? How?

General Publications

This web tool can help afterschool networks to implement effective governance practices that help them to meet their goals.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) offers a host of initiatives that can assist afterschool programs.
This brief illustrates ways in which the afterschool field can be utilized to promote teacher recruitment and teacher retention.

Network Publications

The report summarizes Phase 1 of what for us will be a multi-year project.
The ACT Now Coalition brings together afterschool and youth development stakeholders to ensure all young people in Illinois have access to quality, affordable OST programs.
A policy brief that desribes the current state of afterschool and summer programs in Arkansas.


This web tool is intended to help statewide and local afterschool networks to implement effective governance practices that help them to meet their goals.
A framework to help guide the thinking and implementation of program goals and elements and conditions most suitable for achieving positive results that meet the needs of the afterschool participants.
A sample of an interview protocol for evaluating afterschool directors and coordinators.