This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend a convening with other nonprofit executives to discuss racial equity—and the role of the nonprofit sector in moving the needle forward. Although it was intensive and challenging, I was encouraged to see a room full of smart and motivated leaders who want to do the heavy lifting required to tackle the equity challenges facing our society. For so many of us (and that includes me some of the time, although I hate to admit it), it is easier to ignore what is right in front of us: unconscious bias and institutionalized racism are undermining our ability to achieve the critical missions entrusted to our nonprofit organizations.
The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is committed to making the world a better place for all people, and equity is at the very center of that work. We are developing tomorrow’s social impact leaders, and with that privilege comes responsibility. As many of you know, cultural competency is one of the ten core competencies required for every person who earns our Certified Nonprofit Professional credential. Although all of our competencies are critical to successful leadership, it is safe to say none is more so than cultural competency. This is not new, of course. Cultural competency became a stated requirement of the CNP more than a decade ago. What’s different today is how vital it is to our core mission. We will not be successful in strengthening the social sector unless our CNPs are prepared to navigate the tremendously diverse and complex world in which we live. Simply stated, in the CNP Hierarchy of Needs, cultural competency comes first.
Many of our campus and workforce partners are leaders in this work, and I am proud to have them as part of our network. I know there is a lot more the national office could do to give our CNPs the right tools to change the equity landscape in our country. Below are a few of the new initiatives we have on the horizon. We will remain vigilant in finding opportunities to place equity at the center of all we do. Please share your thoughts and ideas. We would love to hear from you.
Susan Tomlinson Schmidt, CNP
President, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
Two New Equity Initiatives