We need better anti-racism practices; let’s get to it.

The senseless violence and death of the past weeks and the tremendous social injustice recently brought into sharper focus have left us feeling immense grief and anger alongside millions throughout the country. While our confidence in justice has been shaken, the confidence of many of our black and brown colleagues has been shattered. We two have not walked in their shoes, but as leaders of a company that was founded on a sustained commitment to action around diversity, equity, and inclusion, we cannot be silent.

Philanthropy is about promoting the welfare of others. It connects us and brings out the best in us. We as a society, however, including all of us involved in philanthropy, have fallen short in our anti-racism work. Aspen Leadership Group and our clients have made progress in advancing inclusive practices and diverse representation in the field of philanthropy. But we see that we must speak more loudly, act more boldly, and accomplish much more. The nonprofit sector depends on each and every one of us doing better. Philanthropy depends on it. Society depends on it. If not us — each and every one of us — then who?

To live out our values, we commit to the following:

  • We will continue our internal work as a team around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), increasing our attention to anti-racism work.
  • We will continue our practice of holding DE&I conversations with clients, committing to addressing DE&I with every client. We will ask all clients to be explicit about their DE&I commitments, and we will support their efforts in fostering truly inclusive workplaces.
  • We will continue to work closely with candidates and with affinity organizations to advance the careers of professionals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, and we will increase the resources we provide to those professionals.
  • We will expand our partnerships with organizations committed to creating a new generation of nonprofit leaders prepared to provide leadership in DE&I.

We invite you to share your own commitments, as our colleagues have done on this page. We encourage you to amplify the voices of black and brown leaders and to make sure no one’s voice on your team or in your organization is silenced. Our sector cannot end the conversation next week and move on. There is no normal to return to; we must work together to create better, truly inclusive, actively implemented anti-racism practices. Let’s get to it.

Jeff Hanavan and Ron Schiller, Founding Partners, Aspen Leadership Group

Reflections and Resources
  • No, We Are Not Okay, by ALG’s Angelique Grant, Ph.D., Senior Consultant and Vice President. Leaders must speak up, recognizing that many of their black and brown team members are not okay right now. Colleagues are depending on organizational leaders for support and for renewed commitment to maintaining an inclusive work environment.
  • White colleagues: We have the privilege to check out. Stay engaged, by ALG’s Colleen Flynn, Marketing Manager. Aspiring white allies have a choice to disengage from conversations about race, but they must stay proactive in anti-racist work in the long-term. She offers resources to stay active, supportive, and accountable.
  • All Voices at the Table, by ALG’s Kathleen Loehr. Women of color and women of different generations have voices and perspectives to add regarding how they give and want to be engaged. Wider diversity will help our councils make better decisions and grow philanthropy. This takes attention, intention, asking stakeholders for help, and adapting your model when needed, to be successful.
  • Money, Power and Race: The Lived Experience of Fundraisers of Color, Cause Effective; What We Can Do: Recommendations addressed to executive directors, HR managers, supervisors, board members, donors and funders, white development staffers/allies, and professional fundraising associations, as well as development professionals of color.
  • Leaders of Color Speak Out, Chronicle of Philanthropy. Reflections about being underestimated, breaking barriers, and whether things are getting better.

  • Anti-racism resources, compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein, May 2020
  • While It Matters, by Birgit Smith Burton (ALG Advisor, Founder of African American Development Officers (AADO) Network), AFP Global blog
  • The Issue of Racism in the Fundraising Profession, by Birgit Smith Burton (ALG Advisor), AFP Global blog
  • Race to Lead: Confronting The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Task Force Final Report, June 2020. In 2018-19, Women In Development (WID), New York convened a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to discuss how their community could move the needle in making the fundraising field more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Led by Yolanda F. Johnson (ALG Advisor, Founder of Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy (WOC))

An organization’s capacity to reflect and respond to the rich diversity of our society profoundly impacts its ability to fulfill its mission. At ALG, we believe that shaping an organization’s culture will in turn transform its engagement and overall fundraising and we offer diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) consulting services to assist nonprofit advancement and development teams in this work.

Working with ALG, your team will explore their internal and external roles and responsibilities as they relate to DE&I, with a specific lens toward nonprofit development work. From how unconscious bias shows up in development, to hiring a diverse front-line fundraising team, to improving donor visits, ALG will help start a robust, encouraging dialogue that moves your team’s DE&I goals from awareness to action. Our services include the below; contact Angelique Grant, Ph.D., Senior Consultant and Vice President to learn more.

  • Workshops and Training
  • Audits and Assessments
  • Development of DE&I Plans
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