A new workshop offered by UW Tacoma’s Professional Development Center (PDC) will explore issues of race and implicit bias within the nonprofit sector. The idea for the workshop — Race, Power and Social Impact within Nonprofit Organizations — came from The REACH Center’s Nick Bayard. “Bayard came to us last summer with the idea,” said PDC Program Development Manager Christopher Cellars. “He saw a need to help transform the understanding of racial issues for the leadership in Tacoma and Pierce County nonprofit organizations to better reflect the communities they serve.”
Information regarding registration for this workshop, as well as other Nonprofit courses, can be found on the PDC’s website.
Bayard is The REACH Center’s executive director and has been involved with the nonprofit world for 15 years. “I think there can be an assumption that institutional racism doesn’t pertain to social impact organizations because they’re so mission focused,” said Bayard. “We’re going to spend some time looking at how this issue affects nonprofits just like it affects any other organization.”
Workshop participants will get a historical overview to help guide their understanding. “The intergenerational wealth gap between families of color in this country and white families is wide,” said Bayard. “You see this play out in terms of who can afford to work in the nonprofit sector, which is generally a lower-paying sector. It helps to have some inherited wealth or a network of people who can support you, especially as you are starting out.”
The lack of diversity and inclusion in nonprofit leadership feeds into a cycle of diversity and inclusion challenges throughout the sector. “If you don’t see yourself represented in an organization you’re less likely to be drawn to it in the first place, regardless of the mission,” Bayard said.
Bayard recognizes that white males aren’t generally one of the go-to demographics to lead discussions on anti-racism, but he says that given our national history, white males have a particular responsibility to engage in anti-racism work. “I hope to create a space in which my main function is to bridge divides and empower participants to be leaders in their own lines and organizations,” said Bayard.
At the end of the workshop attendees will create their own hypothetical nonprofit. The goal is to take the information learned during the class and hammer out what it means to create a truly inclusive organization. “We are going to workshop their ideas while working to build a comfort level talking about issues of race and equity,” said Bayard. “Talking about these issues can feel heavy and frightening, but it helps to depersonalize them by focusing on the institutional and structural factors that have put us where we are. My hope is that attendees leave feeling safer and more empowered to speak openly about how race and equity impacts their work.”
The first workshop took place on January 28. The PDC will host a second session on Monday, March 25. “The response has been overwhelming,” said Cellars. “If the level of interest stays this high, I can see us hosting this program two to three times a year.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org