Editor’s Notes: The Nonprofit Quarterly’s new editor in chief, Cyndi Suarez, launches a new podcast series today featuring women of color in leadership. Through candid, in-depth interviews, listeners will come to understand how these women embarked on their paths to leadership, how their leadership styles have evolved over the years, how they envision their work now, and what they hope to see for their fellow women of color leaders.
“I’m noticing that women of color have been moving into key leadership positions in the nonprofit sector, including philanthropy,” Suarez explains in inaugural podcast. “Some of us are leading predominantly white organizations, often with the charge of transitioning them to more racially just design and practices.” Other leaders of color, like Amoretta Morris, direct organizations that are by and for people of color. Morris, who kicks off this series, is the newly installed president at Borealis Philanthropy.
Though it only launched five years ago, Borealis has distinguished itself as the funder of social movements. (Disclosure: Borealis funds NPQ, and NPQ consultant Jeanne Bell recently joined the board of Borealis.) When Morris took the reins of Borealis Philanthropy this year, she remarked that she had found a new “political home” at the foundation. In this podcast, Morris explains how her leadership style is informed by her roots as a youth and community organizer, and how she brings these experiences to her new role.
“I get to organize within philanthropy,” Morris says. “I get to help organize resources to get to our people who are committed to freedom, and who are committed to creating a world where we can all live with dignity and respect.”
In their conversation, Suarez and Morris also discuss liberatory power, an idea that Suarez has defined as “liberation for all” in her book The Power Manual. Similarly, Morris has written about being a “liberated gatekeeper” who is intent on liberation for all.
“I admit, I haven’t ever seen a funder use similar language,” Suarez says in the podcast. “I wondered what it actually meant for [Morris], and how it shows up in her work.”
- “Choosing to Be a Liberated Gatekeeper” in Neighborhood Funders Group
- “A Message from Our New President: A Year of Promise and New Beginnings,” Borealis
- “Five Questions for Amoretta Morris,” PhilanTopic (blog)
- Morris on Twitter
- The Power Manual, Cyndi Suarez