Sometimes, issues like systemic racism can feel so deeply rooted and overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to even begin chipping away at it.
But that’s when we must remind ourselves that all journeys begin with a single step.
One step taken by Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW) – a Washtenaw County-based nonprofit support organization – involved a push to diversify the boards of local nonprofits. (Of the county’s more than 2,400 hundred nonprofit organizations, fewer than 30 are led by a person of color.)
After nearly a decade of NEW’s matching and recruitment efforts, more than 200 people of color were serving on local nonprofits’ boards; but what appeared like progress on a broad scale seemed to have little substantive impact within each organization.
So a second, more recent step involved the development of NEW’s Champions for Change program, which initially aimed to cultivate and support leaders of color within the nonprofit sector.
“But once we started having meetings with stakeholders, we started to understand that if we’re really going to attempt achieving systemic change, we have to be more open and offer the program to leadership across our county,” said NEW’s relationship manager Will Jones III.
“There’s still a heavy emphasis on nonprofits, and working with leaders of color, but we’re also working with white leaders. Given the current power dynamics that are in play, if you’re not including white leaders in the conversation, you’re not going to be moving the needle forward at all.” READ THE REST HERE