This Black History Month, we’re highlighting programs that train and support Black leaders in the nonprofit sector. From national coalitions to community-based organizations, leaders of color are tackling some of the most serious challenges facing our country. Many studies, including the Building Movement Project’s report, also point to the persistent racial leadership gap in the sector. The report revealed that the percentage of people of color in the executive director/CEO role had remained under 20% for the last 15 years even as the country became more diverse, and despite respondents of color in the report being more likely to aspire to leadership than white respondents. The Race to Lead report included a call on nonprofit leaders to integrate race and race equity into leadership programs, and to create systems of support for aspiring leaders of color where they could address racialized barriers to advancement.
To be a sector that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, we must create capacity building and leadership development resources that address the diverse needs of these Black leaders. Learn about some initiatives directly addressing these difficulties:
Black Leadership Institute
The Institute for Nonprofit Leadership’s newly launched Black Leadership Institute (BLI) seeks to connect, inspire, and uplift senior-level Black leaders doing important work across the country and in the nonprofit, philanthropic, public, and private sectors. Through a cohort structure, BLI supports Black leaders with the resources, network, content, and community to build upon their social, financial, knowledge, and cultural capital as they step into positions of greater power and influence.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for Consultants Program
Built by TSNE and the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) for Consultants Program addressed the need for DEIB strategy work in the nonprofit sector. The program trains and develops the skills of nonprofit consultants who want to incorporate effective DEIB practices into their work. The cohort learning program creates a space for consultants to practice these skills in a community of peers, and gives them the time to network with each other as well. TSNE carefully select the make-up of participants in each cohort, prioritizing the inclusion of consultants of color in order to combat their under-representation in the nonprofit consulting field.
Executive Directors of Color Capacity Support Pilot
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, it heightened health and economic disparities and exacerbated other historical and entrenched inequities. TSNE launched the Executive Directors of Color Capacity Support Pilot with the support of leading foundations in the Greater Boston area. The pilot features a participatory-led agenda, trainings, peer networking, one-on-one coaching, and project-oriented technical assistance. The first cohort brought together 22 leaders of color from local Boston-based community organizations at the frontlines of the pandemic. The learnings from the pilot are being used to develop the next iteration of this unique program.
Leaders of Color Circle
The Center for Nonprofit Excellence’s Leaders of Color Circle is a 6-month program designed specifically for and by BIPOC workers in the social impact sector. With a focus on BIPOC peer support and shared wisdom, the Circle aims to create a space where BIPOC leaders can ask and offer support around self-care strategies, nonprofit core competencies, and leadership skills while embracing their cultural heritage as an important asset for themselves and the sector.
Pahara Institute Fellowship
The Pahara Institute provides development for leaders of color working to reimagine public education in the US. The Pahara Fellowship Program seeks to strengthen and sustain a diverse community of change leaders in the education system through a cohort program featuring dialogue and reflection on leadership, identity, and equity.
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