from Sheena Solomon, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives
Working within the field of philanthropy allows us to be exposed to alternative perspectives and different worthy missions and to develop a well-rounded point of view. Having the ability to work with many non-profit organizations, we have learned that the word diversity has different meanings to everyone. The word diversity has almost become jargon. Nevertheless, as the make-up of the world changes, it is important that organizations follow suit. We convened a group of foundations and community leaders to discuss inclusiveness and diversity on nonprofit boards.
This group (Leadership Greater Syracuse, CNY Community Foundation, Human Services Leadership Council, City of Syracuse residents and Gifford) is offering a board development initiative called Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders which focuses on leadership development through board service. The purpose of this initiative is to:
1. Increase inclusiveness and diversity on non-profit boards.
2. Increase the pool of effective board members.
3. Enhance the pool of new leaders in the community.
4. To educate and inspire those who participate.
5. Provide quality training to individuals in the community.
According to the Urban Institute’s report entitled “Nonprofit Governance in the United States” 86% of board members are white, 7% are African American and 3.5% are Latino. In addition to that they state that 51% of all boards have no ethnic or diversity. As a way to address this issue we have developed a training program for those who are interested in providing board service or have been on a board for less than a year. This training will provide the ins and outs of board service, will be informational as well as inspiring and facilitated by local leaders and professionals from the community. The workshops will provide an overview of how board members add value, how to make the connection between your passion and area nonprofits, what does it mean to be a nonprofit and more. The expected participants include:
- Those who have the desire to give back to the community and strive for fair, just and healthy communities.
- Those who are interested in her/his personal leadership development and growth.
- Those who have a desire to join a nonprofit board or are new to board service.
- Those who believe that diversity and inclusiveness is important.
- Those who are interested in expanding their network.
The training starts September 23, 2014 and consists of eight consecutive 2 hour sessions on Tuesdays from 6:00pm-8:00pm. The cost is $50 per person which includes dinner and materials (scholarships are available). At graduation participants will receive a Board Certification certificate for participating and completing the course. If you or someone you know may be interested in participating in this training, please contact Sheena Solomon at 474-2489 ext. 16 or email Sheena.