Negotiating the Perils of Board Giving Minimums

In the days since Barack Obama's speech on race, I've been flanked at more than one restaurant by wide- ranging conversations on the topic. I was reminded of a post by The Nonprofiteer picked up by Stanford Social Innovation, that the diversity angle when it comes to board giving requirements. Here's a piece of it:

So here are some suggestions. Every Board President should--and if s/he can’t or won’t every Executive Director must--impress upon every member of his/her Board the sacred Nonprofit Syllogism:
All Board members must be treated equally;
Every Board must include members of color;
Therefore, Board members of color must be treated equally.

...If necessary, mention that
Not all poor people are black or brown.
Not all black or brown people are poor.
Most poor people are more generous (by percentage of income) than most rich people--and if that makes you uncomfortable, handle it by giving more yourself not by asking less of others...

If you have indeed recruited people to your Board with some special half-articulated understanding--he’s a community representative; s/he’s from a cooperating nonprofit and has prior fundraising commitments--now’s the time to revisit that understanding. In a private conversation, those “special cases” will readily agree (at least in principle) that every Board member needs to meet the same standard.

Marnita Schroedl expressed related thoughts in a video interview we conducted with her at the Association of Black Philanthropists conference. Check it out here.

Susan Herr

Posted at 1:26 AM, Apr 01, 2008 in Nonprofit Management | Permalink | Comment