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Update: The final Leadership and Race publication has been launched! Download the report or click here for more information.


We live in a multi-racial world where the ability to accumulate wealth, find a job, attend a good school, or live in a healthy neighborhood is largely determined by race. The Leadership and Race publication explores the ways in which our current thinking about leadership may actually be contributing to these growing disparities. Through this short publication we seek to influence leadership funders and practitioners across the nation to promote more inclusive leadership approaches and ultimately, promote racial justice.


Instructions: To add links, please find the right content type category below and enter the name of the resource, the URL and a brief description. To upload files please select the "add attachment" option under "more tools". Please keep in mind that this website has the capacity to store up to 40 attachments so we encourage users to post files as links (vs. attachments) when possible. If the file is not currently online, please see the FAQ section for additional instructions. For more information check out the Leadership for a New Era user guide!

Check out the Leadership and Race Zotero Public Library!

Books and Articles

  • "New Leadership for the 21st Century." In Searching for the Uncommon Common Ground: New Dimensions on Race in America, by Angela Glover Blackwell, Stewart Kwoh, and Manuel Pastor.
  • "Inside Inclusiveness: Race, Ethnicity and Nonprofit Organizations." The Denver Foundation.
  • "Weaving Color Lines: Race, Ethnicity, and the Work of Leadership in Social Change Organizations," by Sonia Ospina and Celina Su, in Leadership.
  • "Systems Thinking and Race" -- A primer by Stephen Menendian and Caitlin Watt irwan Institute for the Study of Race and
    Ethnicity at The Ohio State University
  • Power, Safety and Learning in Racially Diverse Groups,” By Erica Foldy, Peter Rivard and Tamara Buckley in Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2009, Vol. 8, No. 1, 25–41.
  • "Taking on Postracialism" by Rinku Sen (2009)
  • "Holding the Whole: Transformative Leadership" - a PowerPoint presentation by john a. powell at the 2nd Annual - A Gathering of Leaders, November 2008
  • Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment by The Applied Research Center, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (2009)
  • A Conversation with Deborah Meehan of Leadership Learning Community – Cultivating Leadership for a New Era
    • Source: The New Prosperity Date: October 27 2010 Author: Alexis Schroeder
  • Leadership and Race Webinar: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Leadership Programs to Promote Racial Justice
  • Supporting leadership that promotes racial justice (Race-talk.org)
    • Guest blog on Race-talk.org By Deborah Meehan, Executive Director, Leadership Learning Community
  • Are Nonprofit Leadership Programs Culturally Biased?
    • Source:Common Good Careers Blog Date:October 15, 2010
  • Supporting Leadership That Promotes Racial Justice
    • Source: AlterNet
    • Date: September 14, 2010
  • How to Build, and Support, Movement Leadership
    • Source: ColorLines
    • Date: September 15, 2010
  • Do Subtle Discrimination and Social Justice Belong in Leadership Development Programs?
    • Source: RacismReview
    • Date: September 16, 2010
  • The Mosque in the Mirror
    • Source: TheAmerican Prospect
    • Date: September 20, 2010


  • Aspen Roundtable on Community Change - Structural Racism Initiative
The Roundtable began its work on structural racism in response to a call from leaders in fields such as community revitalization, social policy, anti-poverty, and philanthropy who were concerned about the racial disparities that they were observing in their work and frustrated by their inability to talk about race and racism, much less get a handle on it. It was commonly acknowledged among these leaders that although their work focused on low-income communities of color, they encountered very little discussion about race or racial issues or their effects on these communities and the children, youth, and families who resided in them. In order to directly address this need, the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change developed The Project on Structural Racism and Community Building.

  • The Denver Foundation's Inclusiveness Project
The Expanding Nonprofit Inclusiveness Initiative (ENII) is a project of The Denver Foundation, led by a steering committee of community leaders from throughout the seven-county Metro Denver area. Through its grantmaking work and conversations with leaders in Denver's nonprofit sector, The Denver Foundation discovered a widespread
community interest in developing a deeper understanding of how inclusiveness of diverse voices and experiences enhances and expands the work of nonprofits. The Denver Foundation Board of Trustees established ENII as a vehicle to help the community benefit from an increased knowledge of and commitment to inclusiveness. The mission of ENII is to enhance the effectiveness of Metro Denver's nonprofit organizations by helping nonprofits become more inclusive of people of color. While the ENII steering committee and The Denver Foundation recognize that all forms of inclusiveness are essential, the focus of this initiative is on issues of race and ethnicity.

  • Third Sector New England's Diversity Initiative
In 1990, a group of Boston-area funders established the Diversity Initiative. The program, today called the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (DII),provides technical assistance and funding to nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston area that are committed to creating greater racial, ethnic and cultural diversity within their staff and boards. In 2001, the program became part of Third Sector New England.

Since the first Diversity and Inclusion Initiative grants were given, the program has held collaborative learning as a core value. Fundamental to the work of diversity and inclusion is an acknowledgment that institutional racism exists within nonprofit organizations. Organizations can be transformed to be more reflective of the populations being served racially and ethnically. And they can develop a greater respect for and appreciation of cultural, gender, ability, class and orientation differences.

  • Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
The Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) began as a multiyear project intended to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers. It is now a project of the Tides Center.

  • Diversity in Philanthropy Project
The Diversity in Philanthropy Project is a three-year (2007-2009) voluntary effort by foundation trustees, senior staff and executives committed to increasing field-wide diversity. Their website features a number of case studies including one on Evaluation with a Diversity Lens (see below), and many other useful resources for those interested in expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion in board and staff, grantmaking and contracting.

  • Foundation Coalition
A group of leading California philanthropies, released its Strengthening Nonprofit Minority Leadership and Capacity of Minority-Led and Other Grassroots Community-Based Organizations report outlining their five-month planning process and the initial grantmaking activities comprising their collective pledge to increase diversity funding in that state by some $30 million during the coming 2-3 year period.

Research Projects

  • Increasing the Participation of People of Color in Leadership of the Nonprofit Sector (LLC)
The Leadership Learning Community partnered with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2004 & 2005 on a research project to draw on the combined experience of more than 100 leadership programs with regard to strategies for increasing the access to and sustainability of leadership positions for people of color in the sector. The first phase of the project led by Deborah Meehan begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting was titled "How to Increase Leadership Opportunities for People of Color." The second phase of the project was titled "Multiple Styles of Leadership: Increasing the Participation of People of Color in the Leadership of the Nonprofit Sector," and was led by Elissa Perry. Download the notes from one of the focus groups and reports from both phases of the work at the link above.

  • Developing a Racial Justice and Leadership Framework to Promote Racial Equity
The Leadership Learning Community partnered with the Leadership Team at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Center for Ethical Leadership to conduct a scan to identify promising strategies for supporting and enhancing leadership that can make significant progress on undoing structural racism; and healing, repairing and reconciling communities. This document shares some of the core insights from the scan and highlights a number of national programs that are doing leading edge work in these areas.

  • Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment (ARC)
The Applied Research Center (ARC) and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) developed the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment following ARC’s 2004 publication of Short Changed: Foundation Giving in Communities of Color. They piloted the assessment with the Barr Foundation and the Consumer Health Foundation. The results of their research are available in the report Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment. Their findings may be helpful to other funders and grantees to move from a focus on diversity to racial justice.

This Research Center for Leadership in Action report by Angie Chan and Linda Powell Pruitt with Will Allen, Joyce Johnson, Ricardo Martinez, Reggie Moore, Richard Moore, Ai-Jen Poo, and Cidra Sebastien highlights insights from leaders of color committed to social justice who together asked: How do we build, strengthen and sustain movement-building organizations led by people of color? Over the course of eight months, they generated four strategies for leaders of color to maintain the integrity of their work and remain accountable to communities, develop supportive relationships, deepen their understanding of race and educate others, sustain their organizations, and nurture new leaders.

The Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy conducted a statewide survey on diversity on nonprofit boards, executive directors, and staff in California's nonprofit sector. This is a summary piece by Carol J. De Vita and Katie L. Roeger that appeared in "Charting Civil Society" a series by the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (November 2009).


  • Racial Equity Tools
A web site designed to support people and groups who are working for inclusion, racial equity and social justice. The site includes ideas, strategies and tips, as well as a clearinghouse of resources and links from many sources.

  • Evaluation Tools for Racial Equity
Created for Community Groups and Individuals:
  • Who want to know more about how to do evaluation.
  • Who are working on changing their communities.
  • Who want to be certain that their evaluations take into account issues of racism, power, privilege, and oppression
  • Foundation Diversity: Policy & Practices Toolkit
Foundations have made strides in the development of policy statements and procedures that incorporate diversity into both grant making and organizational practices. The scan by Social Policy Research and sponsored by The California Endowment yielded innovative examples that resulted in this Foundation Diversity Policies and Practices Toolkit. The Toolkit is organized into five categories pertinent to philanthropic leadership in diversity, race, equity and justice: (1) policy statement, (2) governance and workforce, (3) grantmaking, (4) contracting with vendors and consultants and (5) investments.

  • Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment -- A tool that assists grantmakers to assess the racial justice potential of their grantmaking. This assessment tool is available as Appendix 3 in Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from Racial Justice Grantmaking
  • Evaluation With A Diversity Lens: Exploring Its Functions And Utility To Inform Philanthropic Effectiveness Ricardo Millett provides practical advice for funders who want to embark on the practice of evaluation with a diversity lens (EDL) EDL is an approach to program evaluation that emphasizes the importance of incorporating diverse voices (particularly those of intended program beneficiaries) to identify problems and to
    engage in program design, implementation, and data analysis. Click here to read more.
  • Race Matters Toolkit (Annie E. Casey Foundation) -- This toolkit is designed to help decision-makers, advocates, and elected officials get better results in their work by providing equitable opportunities for all. The toolkit presents a specific point of view on addressing unequal opportunities by race and offers simple, results-oriented steps to help you achieve your goals.

Meetings and Events

Race & Leadership/Come As You Are - Exploring Racial Identity
April 21, 2011
Time: 11:30-1:30PM
Location: Casey Family Field Office, 1123 23rd Avenue, Seattle, WA
Hosted by: Casey Family Programs, Catholic Housing Services, Center for Ethical Leadership, Executive Coaching: Collective Leadership, Minority Executive Directors' Coalition, Leadership Learning Community, Non-Profit Anti-Racism Coalition, Plymouth Housing Group, and interested individuals
RSVP: Karma Ruder at kruder@ethicalleadership.org or call 206-328-3020
How does racial identity shape the leaders we've become in relationship to families, communities, workplaces and with others? This session will be a series of short, interactive activities and discussions with a large group debrief.
The Race and Leadership dialogues are a volunteer-driven effort to develop meaningful discussion and action steps toward change.

Northern California Grantmakers: Philanthropic Strategies to Develop Culturally Inclusive Leadership
Date: 10/22/2010
Time: 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: One Market, Landmark Building, Suite 400
There exists a range of approaches to nonprofit leadership development. Examples include encouraging civic leadership, organizational assessment of leadership capacity, and fellowship models of leadership development. As funders explore the spectrum of nonprofit leadership programs—and the juncture between race and leadership—there are additional considerations around investing in leadership and communities of color. In a recent collaborative research initiative by the Leadership Learning Community, such considerations are outlined in the Leadership and Race publication How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice.

Deborah Meehan (moderator) is the founder and Executive Director of the Leadership Learning Community (LLC).
Shiree Teng is Principal at Teng & Smith Inc.
Danielle Trimiew is the Academy Director at the Greenlining Institute.
Akaya Windwood is President of the Rockwood Leadership Institute.
Linda Wood is Senior Director of Leadership and Grantmaking at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.
Dianne Yamashiro–Omi is the Program Manager of Equity Diversity at The California Endowment.

  1. Philanthropy New York: Leaders in a New Era: A Conversation on Leadership Development and Race (October 19, 2010)
  2. Leadership and Race Report Webinar (September 28, 2010)
  3. Bay Area Leadership and Race Circle Part 2 (upcoming)
  4. Seattle Leadership and Race Circle Part 2 (June 29, 2010)
  5. Seattle Leadership and Race Circle (March 16, 2010)
  6. Bay Area Leadership and Race Circle (January 13, 2010)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Please credit the author(s) and link back to this website.

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