Celebrating Black History-Makers: Interview with Niquole Esters

Interview by Brenda Asare, President & CEO and Thandi Cai, Marketing Associate

Black History-Makers transcend boundaries and redefine possibilities. Through resilience and innovative approaches, these trailblazers illuminate a path toward inclusivity, unity and a shared human experience, shaping a future that reflects the best of humanity. We spotlight Niquole Esters, Senior Director of Inclusive Philanthropy at Conservation International, a leader with profound contributions to advancing global conservation efforts.
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Celebrating Black History-Makers: Interview with Darrin Goss, Sr.

Interview by Brenda Asare, President & CEO and Thandi Cai, Marketing Associate

Black History-Makers illuminate a path toward inclusivity, unity and a shared human experience, shaping a future that reflects the best of who we are as humans. Darrin Goss, Sr., President and CEO of the Coastal Community Foundation, exemplifies exactly that. In this interview, we discuss his leadership of the organization in addressing systemic issues, showcasing the vital role foundations play in communities nationwide.
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Celebrating AANHPI Women Leaders: Interview with Alice Fong

By Anh Vo, Chief Culture Officer and Thandi Cai, Marketing Associate

In honor of AANHPI Heritage Month, Chief Culture Officer Anh Vo dives into what it means to be a woman leader of Asian descent in the nonprofit space with CEO of the Center for Ethical Leadership Alice Fong.

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3 Ways to Activate Allyship in Black History Month

By Brenda Asare, President & CEO

Black History Month is an opportunity to evaluate your organization’s relationship to diversity, equity and inclusion through active allyship. Read about 3 major ways to center your allyship throughout the year. 

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The Case for Equity-Centered Philanthropy: How to Collect and Utilize Demographic Data

By Mary Hackett, Vice President

Fundraisers often don’t believe that they can have a significant impact on their organization’s journey toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Here’s the truth: development professionals play a critical role! You have a unique superpower that can play the role of disruptor: your donor data.

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Update: AFP IDEA Women’s Impact Initiative

Alford Group is proud to sponsor the AFP IDEA Women’s Impact Initiative. Since its founding in 2018, the Initiative has conducted groundbreaking research on women’s issues in fundraising, created educational materials for charitable organizations and started a mentorship program that has guided and helped numerous women find their voice in the philanthropic profession.

So far this year, mentees in the mentorship program have each had an individual executive coaching session and have met with their mentors to develop both long- and short-term goals over the course of the program. Mentees have also been invited to attend virtual conferences, such as AFP ICON Virtual and a variety of educational sessions with complimentary registration. Since March of 2021, these educational sessions have focused on topics related to women’s issues in the philanthropic sector, encouraging women to build fulfilling and impactful careers. These session topics have included:

  • Finding Your Inner Mentor
  • Making Work-Life Balance Work for You
  • Women’s Guide to Personal Finance
  • Women of Color in Development and Fundraising
  • Imposter Syndrome

Upcoming sessions will include Mental Health and Resilience and a two-part workshop on Inclusive Leadership. Additionally, mentees have been encouraged to branch out and participate in other facets of AFP, creating upcoming content that centers their experience with the goal of helping others find their way.

From a mentee in the program:

“First of all, I think the level of interaction, programming reminders is just right! It did not feel over-curated or sterile, but authentic and warm. The sessions and webinars that I have participated in have been high quality and helpful. I love the focus on the some of the soft skills. I really appreciate the match-up with my mentor and for her time! I did not doubt that my mentor and I would get on great but at first was not sure what we might have in common – me from California and she from Ohio, she with the Girl Scouts and me with AARP Foundation! But the first time we met, little concerns were cast aside. I always look forward to our sessions – I appreciate that my mentor shares about her real life experiences and patiently listens to mine, and I really enjoy our shop talk! I feel very fortunate.”

For more information and news on the Women’s Impact Initiative, go to their website or take a look at the hashtag #WIILead on Twitter and Facebook.

For more content from AFP women leading the way, check out these blog posts:

From Charu Uppal, M.A., M.B.A., CFRE, mentee in the 2020 WII program: Equity in Development: Be Radically Intentional to Change the Lived Experiences of Diverse Fundraisers

 

 

From Danisha Bhaloo-Shivji, CFRE, member of AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative committee: Fundraising as a Choice and Not an Accident

Madam C.J. Walker: 3 Myths About Black Philanthropy Debunked

Why Make Ripples if You Can Cause an Avalanche?

By JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

In celebration of Black Philanthropy Month, we have an opportunity to look more closely at stories that illustrate the depth and richness of Black philanthropy. There are many present-day stories that uplift, and behind their brilliance  are many stories of the previous generation that not only inspired, but created the springboard for those philanthropists whose impact we see every day. And there’s an incredible-but-true story from a previous century that evokes awe, admiration and, admittedly, a little anger.

Madam CJ Walker. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History : Archives Center. P.O. Box 37012

I’m unhappy that I have only recently learned of this story that inspires so many – no matter your age, race, gender or economic circumstances – on so many levels. And it debunks so many myths about Black philanthropy; in fact, it recalibrates my personal notion of philanthropy and philanthropists.

You may have encountered the Netflix series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. You may have heard about or even read Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving by Tyrone McKinley Freeman. Both are worth the investment of time and attention during the month of August as we celebrate Black philanthropy.

But for those who may have only about 15 minutes and are curious about this topic, this blog is for you!

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Diversity in Fundraising: How to build a culture of equity and belonging within your organization

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO

Where is your organization on its diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging journey? Would you describe it as being asleep, awake, woke or at work?

Wherever you and your organization lie on the continuum, it goes back to culture, values and intentionality toward creating a place where everyone can be their authentic selves and feel that they have acceptance, attention and support.

Organizations that value diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as core to their culture – and integrate these principles into their practices – realize possibilities for their full potential being unlocked in the areas of decision-making, relevant programs and access to potential leaders and donors who might not otherwise become involved or contribute.

Unless your organization breathes life and action into its values, they are just empty words on your website or in your strategic plan.

How do your values show up within your organization? What would it mean to your organization’s image, reputation, programmatic impact, staff, leadership and donor engagement if there was a deepened commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging? Continue reading “Diversity in Fundraising: How to build a culture of equity and belonging within your organization”

Equity-Centered Philanthropy: Honoring the Past While Celebrating the Future

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

On the heels of Black History Month and at the beginning of Women’s History Month, it is not lost on me that we need to celebrate diversity now more than ever. And it is important that we do not relegate our recognition of the contribution of Blacks and women to just one month.

sankofa image
Sankofa means “go back and fetch it.” We must look back to the past so that we may understand how we became what we are, and move forward to a better future.

Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The symbol, based on the mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backwards, serves as a reminder that the past serves as a guide for planning the future. It is the wisdom of looking back to look forward.

Diversity has been a core value of Alford Group for our 41-year history and we recently renewed our commitment to fostering and creating adaptive cultures that are more inclusive and equitable in our work as a firm, with our clients and in the entire social sector. We are elevating equity-centered philanthropy as intentional action toward changing the structures, roles, processes, representation and practices that perpetuate inequities in how organizations communicate, engage and build relationships to support philanthropic endeavors.

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Planning for the New Normal: The 3 Cornerstones to Success

By Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Chief Business Enterprise Officer, Alford Group and Immediate Past-Chair of the AFP U.S. Foundation for Philanthropy

As I have stood side-by-side this last year with some of the brightest and most creative fundraisers that I know, I have continued to be amazed and in awe of the strength and utter tenacity of the individuals who lead our sector. It is an understatement to say it was an unusually challenging year. Continue reading “Planning for the New Normal: The 3 Cornerstones to Success”

Be a SMARTIE: An Equity-Forward Approach to Goal Setting

By Michelle Bibbs, Associate Senior Consultant

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

The start of a new year usually inspires goal-setting. In the social impact sector, we all strive for more than to just get things done. We aim to drive impact, to change outcomes – sometimes to change entire systems that affect outcomes for people and communities.

The times we are in have made clear that in order to make an impact for more of us, the nonprofit sector – like the public and private sectors – have to center inclusion and equity as core values and lean on those values to guide our work.

If we are not taking an equity-centered approach in our work, then we are only creating impact for some of us, not all.

If you change nothing, nothing changes.  Uncertain times demand that we constantly explore new ways to make change in our workplaces and communities.  In the current “new normal” the question becomes how? Continue reading “Be a SMARTIE: An Equity-Forward Approach to Goal Setting”