Author Archives: Rosetta Thurman
July 22, 2010, 8:00 am
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, and business that examined their perspectives on leadership development, cross-sector collaboration, and how to respond to major community challenges.
The most shocking part of the report for me was that the majority of respondents could not identify a single under-40 leader who is effectively solving a societal problem. Yes, you heard that right. Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents were…
June 23, 2010, 4:15 pm
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 least temporarily. The Associated Grant Makers Diversity Fellowship and the ABFE (Association of Black Foundation Executives) Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program list both similar and different reasons for ending or halting their leadership-development program for leaders of color.
Associated Grant Makers Diversity Fellowship
Here’s a recent statement from AGM about discontinuing its diversity…
June 9, 2010, 5:14 pm
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 for nonprofit boards to actively seek out younger members, including skepticism about the need to have younger generations on boards.
Why the skepticism? One reason may be because there are a bunch of myths out there that need to be debunked about what young people can and cannot contribute. Those myths are especially strong when it comes to Generation Y. Let’s pull back the curtain on some of…
May 18, 2010, 6:08 pm
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.) EOE M/F/H/V
I had a nice fuzzy feeling about telling my friends to go work at Brookings until I saw this statement. Now, I would assume that anyone applying to a job at Brookings would think themselves to be qualified. So, as a woman of color, I was taken aback by the language that makes it sound as if women and minorities are not usually qualified. Therefore, Brookings felt the need to reiterate …
April 27, 2010, 11:25 am
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 Generations began to expand the conversation to help us think about how all generations can lead side by side in organizations.
But something about all the research bugged me. As a young leader, I didn’t like how the “next generation” moniker implied that we have to wait for some undetermined time before we can lead. And until then, we have to sit quietly with the other kids and try to catch the crumbs of …
March 31, 2010, 10:00 am
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.
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-documented with similar studies in New York and California published recently as well.
In a time when the face of America is rapidly changing, the face of nonprofit leadership on the whole is certainly not changing at the same pace. For a sector that is known for serving, and in many cases, “empowering” racially diverse communities, we have not made much progress when it comes to seeking out…
March 25, 2010, 2:31 pm
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 of board members were under 30 years old.
The “under 30″ focus is really important to note because that age bracket encompasses all of Generation Y, the largest generational demographic behind the Baby Boomers at 80 million strong. Which means that there are a lot of young people out there who can be recruited for board service. But just because there are a lot of Gen Y’ers out there, doesn’t…
March 17, 2010, 3:05 pm
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 beef with the Boys & Girls Clubs is that chief executive officer Roxanne Spillett earned more than $900,000 in compensation in 2008, amidst a backdrop of a tough economic climate in which “local Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide close their doors due to budget shortfalls.”
You would think that large nonprofit groups like the Boys & Girls Clubs would know by now that paying out near-million-dollar…
March 10, 2010, 10:00 am
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 Davis: There are about 30 job clubs in the metropolitan Kansas City area. I was receiving requests to speak at multiple clubs about working in the nonprofit sector, which spurred me to question whether or not job seekers would come to a job club dedicated solely to the nonprofit sector. Our staff was also getting lots of calls from job seekers who wanted to meet with us individually for career…
March 5, 2010, 12:12 pm
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 is 58.
But let’s just run the numbers for a minute here. Ms. Brock is hardly “new” leadership for the NAACP board, having been vice chair for the past nine years. And if all the hoopla seems like déjà vu, that’s because it is.
A year and a half ago, I wrote about Mr. Bond’s announcement that he was stepping down as chairman of the NAACP’s board after 10 years, although he would still remain on…