According to the State of Diversity in the Nonprofit Sector report, people of color make-up 30% of the total workforce in the U.S. and the nonprofit sector is falling behind with just 18% of employees identifying as a person of color. Until the sector develops a more inclusive and equitable talent pipeline and culture, nonprofit organizations will not adequately reflect the communities they serve. What do you do when your organization does not reflect the community it serves? Are you or your organization seen as an imperialistic white savior or are you seen as a valued community partner?
Making progress towards a nonprofit’s mission is already difficult and challenges are only exacerbated by systems of privilege and oppression. These systems are rarely taught and contribute to a gulf of miscommunication between cultures and communities. We, as a sector, need to understand these systems in order to move from a savior approach to a servant approach and develop authentic relationships with our stakeholders.
Join Dr. Marlene Kowalski-Braun, Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Student Support at Grand Valley State University, and Deanna Rolffs, Vice President of Housing and Family Services at ICCF, on this journey as we discuss the systems of privilege and oppression that surround nonprofits and develop strategies for dismantling these systems and discovering our own implicit biases as we seek to better serve our communities.
Marlene, an avid advocate for social justice work and community and civic engagement, became the inaugural director of the Women’s Center in 2001. In 2013 she moved into student affairs leadership as the Assistant Vice Provost in the Dean of Students Office, became the Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and the Assistant Vice President for Inclusion and Equity. Currently she serves as the Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Student Support at Grand Valley State University.
Deanna is an executive leader with more than 22 years of experience supporting clients, partners, and teams to lead and transform organizations. Her personal and professional dedication to justice and equity is evidenced by strong outcomes in leadership development, process facilitation, adult learning, team development, and K-12 educational and nonprofit systems change. Deanna supports clients to exceed their leadership goals; often this focuses on developing thriving teams, brave leadership, clear processes, equitable systems, and inclusive communities. Deanna serves as the Vice President of Housing and Family Services at ICCF and as a Sr. Consultant with Design Group International.
Note: Conversation Starters take place over the lunch hour, please feel free to bring your own food/snacks/drinks. Coffee and water will be provided.
614 First St NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Google map and directions