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 fellowship program:
“In 2009, AGM undertook a significant strategic planning process to carefully examine all of our programs and services and to align those services more sharply with both our members’ needs as well as the current economic reality.
“While the board and staff of AGM remain deeply committed to diversity, inclusion and equity, we are not able to continue the program in its current form. Thus, we will be ending the Diversity Fellowship after this current class of Fellows completes their term, and will not be accepting a fourth class of Fellows. As our new strategic plan is implemented, we will be developing other programs to support diversity and equity in the philanthropic field.”
ABFE (Association of Black Foundation Executives) Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program
Here’s a similar statement from ABFE:
“As we approach our historic 40th year, we have committed ourselves to revisiting each programmatic strategy to ensure its alignment with ABFE’s current vision and trajectory as a leader in the field of philanthropy. Primary among these efforts is the Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program, which has emerged in its first five years as a model in the sector for leadership development and retention of mid-career professionals. In recognition of this promise, we have decided to celebrate year five by performing an assessment longitudinal evaluation to substantiate our anecdotal information on the program’s impact on skills enhancement and retention claims. As a result, we will forego conducting a 2010-2011 class, instead opting to invite a new class to begin in the summer of 2011.”
I’m wondering if these two announcements signal a sectorwide trend.
Even as the AGM and ABFE fellowships pause their programming, the San Francisco Foundation continues its Multicultural Fellowship Program.
I’m also encouraged by newer initiatives like the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Professional Development Fund for young people of color, and the Women of Color Policy Network’s Lead the Way Program.
I just hope they will be sustainable in the long term.
Do you know of any other leadership-development efforts geared toward supporting people of color in the nonprofit sector? If so, please share them in the comments section! I’d like to cull a list to share at a later date.