As part of our initiative to promote justice and equity within the nonprofit community, CNE is introducing a series of guest writers who have been grappling with what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to them and their organizations and who have graciously agreed to share their insights with the broader community. Our first guest piece comes from Mary Coleman, Development Director at City of Promise.
I first came to understand poverty after reading Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities. The book outlines how disparities in resources within public school systems lead to negative outcomes for children of color. I was a young mother when I read the book in the early 90’s, but its lessons shaped my advocacy work while my children were in school. More recently, it influenced my decision to work for City of Promise here in Charlottesville. Our cradle to college pathway seeks to address disparities in academic achievement and opportunity for the city’s most vulnerable children and their families. Like so many incredible nonprofits in town, we want to identify and address savage inequalities in Charlottesville.
That’s why the nonprofit sector’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity is so vital for the strength of our city. Through training and healthy introspection, nonprofits can learn to create diverse and inclusive working environments. We will grow in our ability to wisely empower those we serve. We will have a new framework for discussing Charlottesville’s economic disparities with Board members and other stakeholders. And we will consider how to diversify our pool of donors and volunteers so that more people can participate in community uplift.
This process will be for many of us what reading Kozol’s book was for me: an enlightenment that leads to deeply personal investments of time and treasure. How organizations and private citizens respond to this effort will be unique, but understanding inequality and its particular expression here in Charlottesville promises to help our city and its citizens reach their full potential. I look forward to learning with you!
Mary Coleman brings 13 years of fundraising experience to her role as the Development Director at City of Promise. City of Promise supports children living in traditionally underserved, majority African-American neighborhoods, in Charlottesville, VA.
CNE is excited to announce a new Advanced Training series dedicated to creating more equitable organizations. Also, please be sure to check out our website for a curated list of resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nonprofit sector.