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 from Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Bank of America, Bank of Tampa, Bloomin’ Brands, Florida Blue, Pinellas Community Foundation, Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation 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 donor engagement. Yet national research shows 84% of nonprofit board members are white, with nearly 1 in 3 nonprofits lacking any professionals of color on their boards (BoardSource). In a 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. Many admitted they didn’t know where to start. 

Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Image

In an ongoing effort to foster more inclusive and equitable communities, the Nonprofit Leadership Center offers the 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

MEET THE CLASS OF 2021

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 serve as nonprofit board members effectively. The three-hour sessions are taught by racially diverse subject matter experts. Sessions are virtual, meeting in Zoom from 5:30-8:30 p.m. EST.

  • Session 1 | Aug. 23, 2022: Fellowship Launch and Orientation, featuring Vernetta Walker, J.D., nationally recognized leadership consultant and diversity, equity and inclusion advisor for BoardSource
  • Session 6 | Dec. 6, 2022: Graduation and Defining Your Legacy with Meriel Martínez

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.

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. 

Program Instructors

All courses in the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship program are taught by experienced, racially diverse subject matter experts and practitioners at the Nonprofit Leadership Center. Meet our 2022 fellowship trainers:

  • Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE, CEO, Nonprofit Leadership Center
  • 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
  • Meriel Martínez, program director, Nonprofit Leadership Center
  • Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, Certified Professional Co-active Coach and owner of Innovative Team Solutions
  • Cheryl Pollock, M.Ed., chief advancement and community engagement officer, Premier Community HealthCare Group, Inc.
  • Nancy Ridenour, Nonprofit Leadership Center board chair and retired executive vice president and chief strategy officer at Habitat For Humanity of Pinellas & West Pasco Counties
  • 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
  • Rebecca Watson, CEO, Limitless Leader, Inc.

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. Additionally, professionals of color from the Tampa Bay region may apply and, if selected, fund their own participation.

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

For questions about participating as a fellow, funder or nonprofit, please contact Meriel Martínez at mmartinez@nlctb.org.

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.

FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR 2022 ARE NOW CLOSED.

Apply to Be a Mentor

Are you a professional of color experienced in nonprofit board service who would like to mentor another professional of color as they gain knowledge and skills to serve our communities effectively? Selected mentors will be paired with fellows and expected to meet virtually or in person with their mentees for one to two hours between each of the six training sessions.

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.

Thank You to Our Funders

This fellowship is possible thanks to the collective support and unwavering commitment of Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Bank of America, Bank of Tampa, Bloomin’ Brands, Florida Blue, Pinellas Community Foundation, Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and Vistra Communications.

For More Information

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