What We're Reading: Making (Or Taking) Space

"At the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, we know that strong leadership is necessary to create a more equitable and vibrant New York City."

"We also know that many of the practices, systems, and structures, which sustain inequality in our communities, also show up in our organizations and our sector, limiting our view of who a leader is and what impactful leadership looks like. As such, while many organizations are eager to transition from white leaders to leaders of color, they often do not have the experience, expertise, commitment, or supports in place to fully embrace new leadership and make these transitions successful or joyful. Too often, it is the new leaders of color who pay the price for under-prepared organizations."

"As we continue to understand and move resources to directly support leaders of color during these transitions, we wanted to take a closer look at ourselves and our grantee community. Making (or Taking) Space seeks to inform our question: What, specifically, is the responsibility of organizations with white leaders transitioning out of these roles to support incoming leaders of color?"

"As nonprofit organizations start to examine issues of race and racial equity, more groups are seeking to replace exiting white leaders with leaders of color. To better support these transitions, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation (RSCF) asked the Building Movement Project (BMP) to explore the organizational dynamics when Black, Indigenous, or other people of color (BIPOC) are hired into executive leadership roles following the departure of white leaders."

"To conduct this inquiry, RSCF identified nine organizations in its grantmaking portfolio that had transitioned—or were in the process of transitioning—from white to BIPOC leadership. Six of the new leaders were women of color, and three were BIPOC men. RSCF invited the exiting or former white executive directors, the board member(s) who oversaw the hiring process, and the incoming leaders of color to each participate in an hour-long interview on their experience and perspective of the transition process. BMP analyzed the interviews—a total of 30 across the nine organizations—to identify some of the common experiences."

Read the full report here.