Yolanda Caldera-Durant, director of programs, Fund the People

A few weeks ago I had the exciting opportunity to participate in GEO’s national conference on the organization’s 20th anniversary in San Francisco. Equity was a key theme of this gathering of 950 funders from the U.S. and abroad. Participating in several challenging and thought-provoking discussions, both in formal sessions and informal conversations, underscored this important moment where equity and inclusion is at the center of the work many of us are seeking to advance. The reality is that this work is difficult and messy, and we need all the allies and support we can get to advance equity and inclusion.

The reality is that this work is difficult and messy, and we need all the allies and support we can get to advance #equity and #inclusion. ~@ycdurant, #fundthepeople Click To Tweet

Fund the People embraces racial justice in our values, strategies, and practices, and has the political will to embed equity and inclusion values in all that we do. Specifically, we are striving to live out equity and inclusion as we grow our talented team of staff and consultants. We also lift up equity and inclusion as central to talent-investing in all of our learning programs. In fact, we articulate the need for equity and inclusion as a requirement for strengthening the nonprofit workforce in our framework, Investing in Equity Inside the Nonprofit Workforce.

The key to building a strong nonprofit workforce is to make racial equity a central component of how we attract and retain diverse staffs and boards; it cannot be an “add-on” or a “nice to have.” A 2014 BoardSource study found that 89 percent of nonprofit CEOs were white, as were 90 percent of board chairs and 80 percent of board members. According to the 2017 Building Movement Project Race to Lead report, 50 percent of people of color surveyed want to become nonprofit CEOs; however, they are not ascending to these important roles despite having the education and professional training to succeed. They are not ascending due to a lack of political will.

The key to building a strong #nonprofit workforce is to make racial #equity a central component of how we attract & retain diverse staffs and boards; it cannot be an “add-on” or a “nice to have.” ~@ycdurant, #fundthepeople Click To Tweet

The composition and rich perspectives of nonprofit professionals is not keeping pace with the reality of a racially and ethnically-diverse population. Lack of energy around recognizing and responding to these trends impedes the ability of nonprofits to maximize their community and social impact. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people of color will constitute the majority of the population by 2025. In order for nonprofits to be responsive to the community, remain relevant, and achieve their desired goals, their leadership and staffs must reflect the races, ethnicities, diversity, voices, and perspectives of their communities. Nonprofits must go beyond representation to articulate and live out equity and inclusion in their values, and organizational strategies and practices.

In order for #nonprofits to be responsive to the community, remain relevant & achieve their desired goals, their leadership & staffs must reflect the races, ethnicities, diversity, voices & perspectives of their… Click To Tweet

This spring, we are seeking to launch our Equity in Nonprofit Work project. The project will help advance talent-investing by centering equity and inclusion strategies and practices to better support the nonprofit workforce. Building on important contributions from colleagues, we will produce research, tools, and trainings focused on ensuring that members of marginalized groups have the opportunity to enter the nonprofit workforce and ascend to leadership and management positions. Through this project, we will also work to further build our internal capacity in equity and inclusion to embrace and reflect these important values.

We want to continue to match our words with our actions, and we encourage you to join us. Identify concrete opportunities to tie equity and inclusion to investing in the nonprofit workforce, such as proactively matching racially and ethnically-diverse mid-level managers with executive leaders who can support their advancement and growth. Or, when racially and ethnically-diverse executive directors are hired, provide a runway of funding support from the start to help ensure their success – instead of taking a “wait and see” approach. As you center equity and inclusion in your work, please share your experiences so that we can evolve our strategies and practices to create a truly equitable nonprofit workforce.