All posts by Rosetta Thurman


The Visibility Vacuum

Can you name a leader under 40 who is effectively solving a societal problem? Unfortunately, most young leaders cannot. 

Independent Sector’s 2009 American Express NGen Fellows (a cohort of 12 under-40 nonprofit leaders) just released the results of its group project, a report that looked at how emerging leaders across sectors can work together to solve society’s most pressing problems. 

The final report is based on a survey distributed to more than 2,000 young leaders in nonprofits, government,…


The Decline of Leadership Development for Nonprofit Professionals of Color?

Yes, it’s 2010. And no, diversity is not dead.

Businesses like PriceWaterhouseCoopers understand that “diversity and inclusion is essential for business success,” especially when it comes to cultivating and supporting their talent. many of my colleagues and I often wish that more nonprofit groups would share this same priority in our work.

So, of course, I was really sad to see that two longstanding leadership-development programs for emerging foundation leaders of color are going away — at lea…


Three Myths About Generation Y

In my conversation with my peers around the country, it seems like one of the biggest hurdles in developing the now generation of nonprofit leaders is the mindset of current leaders.

That’s right, I said it.

It’s not the economy or the lack of funding available for leadership development. It’s the fact that many older nonprofit professionals don’t see younger generations as viable candidates for leadership.

Look, I’ll prove it to you. A recent BoardSource report highlighted several disincentives


How Not to Do Diversity

The Brookings Institution wants more women and minorities to apply for its job openings. Like this one. But only if they’re qualified.

If you’re scratching your head right about now, here’s how it ends a recent job ad for a program administrator. Brookings tacks this puzzling statement on the end of all of its advertisements:

We strongly encourage qualified women and minorities to apply. (Only applicants meeting minimum qualifications for the position will be considered. No phone calls please.) …


The End of the ‘Next Generation’

A few years ago, the nonprofit world started paying a lot of attention to the looming nonprofit leadership “crisis.”

Reports like Daring to Lead looked at the “gap” that’s feared to occur when baby boomer CEO’s begin leaving their jobs in droves, while Ready to Lead? focused on supporting the “next generation” of young nonprofit leaders who would be needed to take their place. Yet once we realized that baby boomers were not, in fact, retiring in great numbers, books like Working Across Generatio…


It’s Time to Either Put Up or Shut Up About Diversity

A new study released yesterday by the Racial Diversity Collaborative and the Urban Institute points out that 92 percent of national nonprofits headquartered in Washington, DC are led by white executive directors.

Shocking? Probably not.

Newsworthy? Absolutely.

A related Baltimore Sun story declares as a matter of fact: “Minority leadership lagging at nonprofits.” This fact is of course well-known within the nonprofit sector and has been for quite some time. Now, it’s just becoming even more well…


Do Nonprofit Boards Really Want Younger Members?

Emily Heard’s recent post on the Board Life Matters blog, “Why Don’t More Members of Gens X and Y Join Boards?” sparked quite a bit of discussion and speculation on the reasons why young people are so underrepresented on nonprofit boards of directors.

But Ms. Heard’s post sparked another, more pressing question for me. Do nonprofit boards really want younger members? If you go by the numbers, the answer is a resounding “no.” BoardSource’s 2007 Nonprofit Governance Index found that only 2 percent…


Nonprofit CEOs Who Want For-Profit Salaries Should Work at For-Profit Companies

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America has come under fire for paying its CEO nearly $1-million in 2008.

According to The Chronicle, “Four Republican senators have asked Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide details about what it spends on executive compensation, lobbying, perks, travel, and other items” and have said that “they wanted the answers so they could consider changes to Senate legislation that would provide $425-million to the youth organization over five years.”

The senators’ biggest b…


Kansas City Job Club Aims to Help Laid-Off Workers Switch Into the Nonprofit World

Michelle Davis is the Executive Director of Nonprofit Connect (NP Connect), a membership organization and source for nonprofit professionals, volunteers, students, funders and businesses seeking opportunities to network, learn and grow. I interviewed Ms. Davis virtually to find out more about NP Connect’s new Job Club and why the organization is supporting potential sector switchers in Kansas City.

Rosetta Thurman: When and why did NP Connect start the Job Club? What was the catalyst?

Michelle D…


Is NAACP’s Roslyn Brock Really New Blood?

Last week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced the appointment of Rosyln M. Brock as the organization’s new board chair. Julian Bond stepped down as chairman after 12 years of service and touted Ms. Brock’s appointment as “dynamic new leadership.” At 44, Ms. Brock is the youngest ever and fourth woman to serve as chair of the NAACP’s Board of Directors, great strides for a 64-member board of directors that leans heavily on the male side and whose average age…