October 5, 2017; Generocity
In Generocity, Otis Bullock, Executive Director of Diversified Community Services, calls out the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) for lacking even one person of color on its executive leadership team. Additionally, he points out, people of color make less than a quarter of UWGPSNJ’s regional board of directors. Considering the group’s stated focus on poverty, he writes, those numbers are unsupportable and need to change.
Bullock then goes on to cite the NPQ article “The Nonprofit Sector Has a Ferguson Problem” written by Derwin Dubose, which asserted that “the glaring disparity in nonprofit leadership bears a striking similarity to Ferguson,” where two-thirds of the city’s population were Black while “whites served as mayor, five of six city councilors, six of seven school board members, and 50 of 52 police officers.”
As Bullock writes, “If UWGPSNJ’s mission is to eradicate generational poverty, and its biggest beneficiary is a largely Black and Latino population, why is it that there are so few people of color represented in United Way’s leadership?”
Dubose, in his article, cites Tiziana Dearing, a Boston College professor and former executive director of Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations.
While increasingly the nonprofit sector is embracing “asset” based approaches to its work, people of color remain too much on the outside of program design, development, delivery and evaluation…As a result, we miss assets they value in the community, run the risk of failing to understand what quality is to those whom organizations seek to support, and under leverage passion for change.
Bullock echoes this analysis, pointing out that under the current leadership profile at UWGPSNJ, “People of color have been effectively relegated to being recipients of charity instead of being empowered to improve their own circumstances. The corporate and private donor class should not find this acceptable.”—Ruth McCambridge