This article was written by George Stewart, President of the Board of Directors of Families as Allies.
The other day I was reading an article titled “The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap: Flipping the Lens.” The article highlights a leadership report, released by the “Building Movement Project,” that points out that “one of the problems in the nonprofit sector is that the leadership of nonprofit organizations doesn’t represent the racial/ethnic diversity of the country.” Because of this, I believe there is often a disconnect between the organization and the community it is supposed to serve. And this leads to the community being underserved.
This is why having diversity on nonprofit boards is vital. Our organization serves the entire state, which is predominantly white. However, there are some individual communities we serve that are predominantly black. This makes my voice and my perspective needed.
One of the things I’m proud of regarding our organization’s work is the partnership we developed with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in serving the families of students with disabilities in Jackson Public Schools, a district with almost a 100% Black student population. As board president, I am proud to have been instrumental in this partnership development.
This is what being a black male leader in the nonprofit sector means to me. It means being at the table to lead discussions when organizational program and policy decisions are being made. It means having the platform to be a voice for my community and to share ideas that help lead to a better quality of life for them. And it means leaving a legacy of social change, just as all the black leaders before me did. I am a black male nonprofit leader, and I am honored to serve.