One Organization's Work Towards Board Diversity

The leadership of America’s nonprofit sector isn’t very diverse, as American Nonprofit Academy emphasizes, but among other organizations working to change that reality is the African American Board Leadership Institute (AABLI).

“The more interests you have around the table, the better chances that you’ll come up with ideas that work,” explains Virgil Roberts, chairman and cofounder of AABLI, on the importance of board diversity.

According to American Nonprofit Academy, AABLI’s goal is to facilitate a pipeline of qualified nonprofit leaders of color in response to what he calls "a hierarchy in the philanthropic world":

There are fewer grantmakers than grantseekers but you need to be in the field for a while before you get to be a grantmaker. I want to have more blacks on grantmaking boards because these board really control the resources that are coming into the sector, so you need to be committed to being engaged philanthropically for years for someone to reach out to you at a Ford Foundation or James Irvine Foundation. You want to be where there is a lot of capital going out to try to deal with the social problems of our society and to shape where that money goes.

Image: Board leadership cohort at AABLI / American Nonprofit Academy