As we come to the end of Black Philanthropy Month and our 20 in 20 Black Women in PHLanthropy Series, we want to fully recognize all of those who were selected and featured...
Lorina Marshall Blake
While we honor these women, we would be remiss if we did not honor our Founder and Principal Monique Curry-Mims who led the 20 in 20 campaign efforts and not only leads Civic Capital Consulting, but Founded PHLanthropy Week as an effort to build agency and give voice to all stakeholders in Philadelphia, to equitably move our community forward with intent.
Over the last month we have shared quotes and lessons from Black Women in PHLanthropy on how the sector can move forward from those on the inside of nonprofits and foundations. But as we move forward, what are the lessons that can go beyond this sector. What are the lessons that organizations that impact diverse and underseved communities can take heed in to ensure that they are not taking advantage of, impacting their bottom line inspite of, or not just being caught up in the current events but truly moving forward with intent.
"Connect with People on the Ground"
~ Shakira King | Organizer, Project Manager for Noname’s Book Club
The thing that nonprofit and other "well-meaning" organizations miss about the people they want to serve, is that they do not do the work of connecting with the people who are on the ground. By not connecting with the people who have already been working hard for years to build these relationships and connections. Adapting is not enough, most people and organizations need to restructure. Rethinking and redoing the way that your or your organization operates is not a weakness, it shows that the people who run these programs actually want to and are committed to growth and want to reflect the communities that they aim to serve. They also need to take stock of who is "In the room". Are there enough Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Youth, Women Formerly Incarcerated, Black, Brown, and Indigenous folks represented in these rooms when you decided on what your program [,product, or service] will be or what they will look like. [Organizations] also need to radically change the way that their boards are made up, and their contributions to the pay inequality gap. We cannot say that we appreciate the contribution of the most marginalized people if we are not willing to center them in the work.
Understanding the people you are serving is imperative to success. However, its not only what you do with those you serve, it is also how you actually operationalize this understanding to define your goals and implement your services.
"Use Mission Aligned Compasses"
~ Uva Coles | President and CEO,
Consultants have a unique opportunity to inform, support and catalyze [organizational] priorities. As "outsiders," we can learn optimal practices from the field (including landmines and lessons learned) and provide those learnings to our client-partners. Inherent in our work is the requirement to listen out loud, to have clarity on mission and goals. This means that we can provide objective guidance and solutions. I strongly believe we can be mission-aligned compasses focused on efficiency, productivity, and goal attainment.
In my own practice (note that I am a for-profit with over 25 years of experience in non-profit and philanthropy), my goal is to be a candid compass. I strive to listen out loud, provide customized solutions, and ensure all decisions are grounded in the mission. My "outsider/insider" posture enables me to be guided by the mission, informed by best practices from the field, and driven by an unwavering commitment to help my partners make decisions that will take them closer to their strategic goals.
Black Women are the leaders we need and have the insights to truly make impact.
As we come to the end of this series, let it be the start of a revolution where Black Women are given the agency and power they have always deserved.