Black Nonprofit Leaders Group: What Are We Waiting For?

Posted By: Nicole Echols Facing Race Together,

We should all be afforded opportunity.  

Thankfully, during my twenty plus years in the nonprofit arena I have had many, including the opportunity to put on different hats and develop into a fundraiser. Learning about development, after years of being locked into direct service and outreach, allowed me to successfully pursue executive leadership roles. 

What's more, I've had mentors who contributed to my personal growth and development as a nonprofit leader of color. Mentors like Joyce Ford, who taught me about the importance of grassroots networking; like Ann Wright, who taught me about fundraising and stewardship; and, like Carl Humphries, who showed me the significance of having a long-term vision and sense of direction. 

Helping start Together SC's Black Nonprofit Leaders Group (BNL Group) this past year, gave me the opportunity to give back and work with my peers to develop career advancement opportunities for my colleagues of color.  

At our first symposium, Joyce Ford said that, "I am moved to do this work, not because I can, but because I must." She's right. We all must do what we can to increase opportunities for nonprofit leaders of color.

If you feel called to help build our network, see who's leading our Black Nonprofit Leaders Group, (end of page) and join the e-mail list.  
Last year was an incredible ride for the BNL Group. We hosted five well-attended regional symposiums featuring renowned speakers and leaders from across the state and beyond. Frankly, many of leaders of color who attended were in awe. They were not even aware that there were so many leaders in SC who looked like them and faced the same disparities and issues.

The open and honest communications that occurred validated the importance of the safe space we aimed to create at these gatherings. By enabling Black Nonprofit Leaders to communicate and share stories, they feel less excluded, which ironically, creates a door for them to feel more comfortable and included when it comes to predominantly white attended programs, events and opportunities.
And with that I ask nonprofit leaders of color and allies, "What are we waiting for?"
Moving forward, we need all SC Black nonprofit leaders on deck as we partner and grow with Together SC. Let's help our colleagues develop skills in areas of work in which people of color are underrepresented, such as fundraising, executive leadership and board presence. Our work will mean mentorship and development for our network of Black leaders.

In Why We Can’t Wait, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote,“A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution."

By signing up and stepping up, you will not only help move people, you will also be a part of the systemic and sustainable change that we need to see.