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Behind-the-Scenes Blog:

A Reminder to Take Action

Diversity Scorecard

In December, the executive team at Stamford Stands Against Racism invited me to engage in a virtual conversation with Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Give.org, Mike Duggan, Executive Director of Domus Kids, and Michael Hyman, Director of Domus Kids, about building board diversity and creating an anti-racist organization. We spoke about the challenges and obstacles non-profit leaders face when they advocate for anti-racist policies, how they educate themselves and community members about the need for change, and how to ensure that conversation leads to action.

This is a topic that’s very much on my mind, as I’ve seen firsthand the benefits a diverse board has brought—and continues to bring—to INTEMPO. At INTEMPO, 60% of our board and 50% of our executive advisory and honorary boards are comprised of people of color, and our leadership—board chair and executive director—are Latinx millennials. Our board includes an INTEMPO alumna and a parent of an INTEMPO student, both of whom provide perspectives and insights that are derived from their direct experience with our programs and from their vantage points as community members. Contrast that with what Mission Investors Exchange noted in its 2017 report Leading with Intent: Of the 111 private foundations surveyed, 85% of the total number of board members at their organizations were white, and 40% of foundation boards were 100% white.

So, what can we do to make our boards more representative of the communities they serve? Conversations and committees and taskforces that study this issue are a start, but they must lead to action and tangible change rather than to more talk. As my mentor Aaron Dworkin, Professor of Arts Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan and founder of the Sphinx Organization, wrote recently, “I use my voice to call for action, not understanding. I call for change, not contemplation. I call for immediate determination, not indeterminate obfuscation and delay. I call for commitment to a cause, not committees to review case studies.” (Click here to read Aaron’s essay, commissioned by the Ford Foundation)

I see intentionality and a desire to diversify the Fairfield County that I grew up in. I’m heartened by the emails I’ve received from community members expressing support for the equity work we’re doing at INTEMPO and asking how they can help. I urge neighbor non-profits to create and analyze their own board diversity scorecard—a model I learned from Paul Hogle, president and CEO of the Cleveland Institute of Music —and then use it to set new objectives and to guide board recruitment. Yes, we have a way to go before non-profits reach the board diversity we’d like to see. But we can get there.

If you have thoughts you’d like to share about this post, please email me at
angie@intempo.org. I’d love to discuss our equity framework, proposed action plans for 2021 and beyond!

Thank you for encouraging this behind-the-scenes blog.

Angie Durrell
Founder and Executive Director

Building an Anti-Racist Nonprofit: Brainstorming for the panel
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