On Thursday, Mission Capital will relaunch its Board Summit event, but this time with an additional goal: to help nonprofits recruit more board members from minority communities. In the past, its Board Summit event worked as a top of job fair, open to anyone interested in serving on a board. But this year, Mission Capital is adding a more intentional effort to seek out Hispanic, Asian, and Black individuals who want to serve.
This year’s Board Summit is evidence of Mission Capital’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion, which began with the hiring of Madge Vásquez as CEO in 2017. Vasquez, a bilingual Latina with roots in South Texas, has been a proponent of racial equity throughout her career. “We’ve raised the issue throughout all our years in the social sector,” she said. “Most people agree that the lack of diversity within the sector hinders our ability to support deep social change. I’m encouraged that the conversations we’re having today are more courageous and authentic.”
Ann Starr, Mission Capital’s director of learning and leadership, says the time is right to bring back Board Summit and re-focus its efforts on diversity. “We’ve gone through lots of positive changes as an organization,” she said. “Now that we’ve settled into a new strategic direction and renewed commitment to serving the community’s most pressing needs, we’re bringing back the Board Summit to connect leaders, organizations, and networks advancing equity and opportunity through their work.”
In its rethinking of the Board Summit, Mission Capital partnered with another nonprofit, The New Philanthropists, which has a mission solely to increase board diversity. The New Philanthropists helped vet nonprofits that applied to attend, promoted the event to its networks, and will provide some of the programming.
“We’re addressing the gap between people of color – especially Latinos, African Americans and Asians – and predominately white nonprofit boards,” said Armando Rayo, co-founder of The New Philanthropists. “We’ve also been very careful and strategic about the organizations we’ve selected to participate in the summit to ensure they have a strong interest in changing their board dynamics.”
Diversity and inclusion are ongoing challenges for nonprofits nationwide. In its most recent report on the sector, national nonprofit think-tank BoardSource found that less than 20 percent of nonprofit board members across the country were minorities. Moreover, despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics, the report says, boards were not intentionally focusing on diversity in their recruitment efforts.
Starr says the Summit will promote the creation and availability of opportunities for people of color to strengthen nonprofits. “Racial inequities affect all of us in every part of our lives. Boards make a lot of important decisions that impact the direction, strategy and programming nonprofits are doing,” she said. “Many of those nonprofits are serving communities of color, and we want boards and nonprofit organization staff to reflect the people they’re serving and the greater community.”
June 6, 2019
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Bullock Texas State History Museum