Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship

The Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship program is presented by the Nonprofit Leadership Center, with collective support and an unwavering commitment from Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Bank of America, Citi, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, United Way Suncoast and Vistra Communications.

Diverse boards are crucial to ensuring that nonprofit organizations have the broad perspectives necessary to understand the constituents they serve, creatively address emerging problems, plan effectively, and expand donors and engagement. Yet national research shows that 84% of nonprofit board members are white, with more than 1 in 4 nonprofits lacking any professionals of color on their boards (BoardSource, 2017). In a recent Nonprofit Leadership Center survey of nonprofit CEOs, leaders said the most significant barrier to building a diverse board is having the knowledge and understanding to identify and recruit professionals of color who are passionate about the mission, with many admitting they don’t know where to start. 

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In an ongoing effort to foster more inclusive and equitable communities, the Nonprofit Leadership Center has launched its first Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship. This program is designed to:

  • Advance racial and ethnic diversity, equity and inclusion on nonprofit boards throughout Tampa Bay
  • Deepen the board governance knowledge and skills of professionals of color
  • Equip select nonprofits to genuinely welcome participating board fellows and ensure their organizations are ready and committed to fostering more inclusive and equitable boards and cultures

About the Program

The Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship consists of three critical components:

1. Comprehensive Board Governance Training for Professionals of Color

Through an interactive six-part training program, professionals of color will gain the expertise necessary to understand how to effectively serve as nonprofit board members. Each three-hour session is taught by a pair of multi-racial subject matter experts. Sessions are virtual, meeting in Zoom from 5:30-8:30 p.m. EDT.

  • Session 1 | July 13, 2021: Fellowship Launch and Orientation, featuring Vernetta Walker, J.D., nationally recognized leadership consultant and diversity, equity and inclusion advisor for BoardSource
  • Session 2 | August 3, 2021: Emotional Intelligence and Finding Your Fit
  • Session 3 | August 24, 2021: Board Roles and Responsibilities
  • Session 4 | September 14, 2021: Resource Development
  • Session 5 | October 5, 2021: Financial Management and Leadership Panel, featuring professionals of color who currently serve as nonprofit board members
  • Session 6 | October 26, 2021: Graduation and Nonprofit Networking

2. Ongoing Mentorship

The Nonprofit Leadership Center will pair each participating fellow with a professional of color who is experienced in serving on nonprofit boards. Fellows and mentors will meet for one to two hours between each of the six training sessions to provide fellows with the opportunity to expand their real-world learning and grow their network while allowing mentors to deepen their commitment to the community. Apply to become a mentor.

3. Equipping Nonprofit Organizations

Informed by the training and mentorship they receive and with guidance from the Nonprofit Leadership Center, participating fellows will identify nonprofit organizations on whose boards they would be interested in serving.

These nonprofits will participate in training and coaching to ensure they are both ready and worthy to welcome professionals of color onto their board. The CEO/executive director, board chair and other key nonprofit staff will participate in a two-hour group training that focuses on how to create and/or maintain equitable and inclusive boards and organizational cultures. There will also be two one-hour group coaching sessions that provide opportunities to delve into aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion practices specific to the participating organizations. 

Interested in becoming a nonprofit partner for the fellowship? Share your interest here.

Program Instructors

All courses in the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship program are taught by experienced, multi-racial pairs of subject matter experts and practitioners at the Nonprofit Leadership Center. Meet our 2021 fellowship trainers, and check back to see additional trainers added soon:

  • Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE, CEO, Nonprofit Leadership Center
  • Tammy Charles, MBA, chief strategy officer, Inovo Strategic Consulting; founder and chief ecosystem architect, Tampa Bay Spark; and adjunct professor at the University of Tampa and Hillsborough Community College
  • Kadian Douglas, CPA, CISA, principal, CliftonLarsonAllen Tampa  
  • Chris Johnson, senior corporate social responsibility specialist, The Mosaic Company, and Nonprofit Leadership Center board member
  • Sara Leonard, CFRE, founder, Sara Leonard Group
  • Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC, Certified Professional Co-active Coach and owner of Innovative Team Solutions
  • Nancy Ridenour, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Habitat For Humanity of Pinellas & West Pasco Counties, and NLC board chair
  • Vernetta Walker, J.D., president and CEO, Walker & Associates Consulting, senior governance consultant and advisor on diversity, equity and inclusion for BoardSource, and nonprofit board member

Program Cost

The Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship is made possible by the collective efforts and unwavering commitment of corporate and nonprofit funders. These funding partners will invite professionals of color to participate in the fellowship on behalf of their organization. In addition, professionals of color, including those working for a small business, from throughout the Tampa Bay region are invited to apply.

If you are interested in participating as a Fellow or if you’re an organization interested in becoming a funding partner for this program, please contact mmartinez@nlctb.org for more information.

Nonprofits selected to receive fellows through the program will be responsible for a $500 fee that covers the cost of their training and coaching sessions. 

How to Apply

Apply to be a Fellow

Acceptance into the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship program is by application only. Selections are made based on the recommendations of funding partners and the strength of candidates’ applications. The 2021 application process has closed. See the 2021 fellows here. We will share more information when the next fellowship opens in 2022.

Apply to be a Mentor

Are you a professional of color who is experienced in nonprofit board service and would like to mentor another professional of color as they gain knowledge and skills to effectively serve our communities? Selected mentors will be paired with fellows and expected to meet virtually or in person with their mentees for 1-2 hours between each of the six training sessions. The 2021 application process for mentors has closed. We will share more information when the next fellowship program opens in 2022.

Nominate Your Nonprofit

If your nonprofit organization is interested in being considered as one of the organizations that fellows can work with through the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, please complete our interest form. By completing this form, you acknowledge that your organization’s leaders commit to participating in group training and coaching sessions and cover all program participation fees. The deadline to express your interest is 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 15, 2021.

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Thank You to Our Funders

This fellowship is possible thanks to the collective support and unwavering commitment of Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Bank of America, Citi, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, United Way Suncoast and Vistra Communications.

For More Information

If you have questions about the new Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship offered by the Nonprofit Leadership Center, please contact info@nlctb.org, or call 813-287-8779.