Building Conscious and Active Partnerships in a Diverse World
Today’s socioeconomic and political climate is a call to action for current and emerging leaders committed to social justice. The country is inspired by the possibility of change and people of all ages in diverse communities are re-energized by the belief that they can become part of that change. The present moment is an enormous opportunity for nonprofit leaders to strategically partner with each other to develop sustainable solutions where cooperation and equity thrive. Also true is the parallel need to transform existing challenges so that genuine change can in fact flourish. Issues of race, gender, class and power woven through the fabric of our personal relationships, workplaces, organizations, and communities continue to have a critical impact on people’s lives. The declared leadership crisis in the nonprofit sector exemplifies a call for dialogue on different ways to enact and operate diverse leadership; action on more intentional ways of supporting young leaders; and creative structures that increase collaboration, satisfaction, and effectiveness.
Be Present, Inc. has engaged in the work of social justice for 25 years. Successes include:
- Developing the leadership of a foundation’s staff, board, and grantee partners located in the South to realize a vision of democratic philanthropy;
- Connecting and empowering young visionaries on a global level by facilitating networking, skills sharing, and community-building; assisting young leaders of wealth to explore how to use their lives and resources to help build a just world;
- Strengthening the capacity of national advocates to secure the civil rights, health, and welfare of pregnant/parenting women and protect children from punitive state policies;
- Supporting a new public school in Harlem to foster in students academic excellence, character development, and the ability to create and participate in communities that are enriched rather than divided by diversity;
- Assisting the program staff of a national foundation dedicated to helping low income families strengthen their voice and mobilize their communities to develop a set of leadership, communication and relationship-building skills that allow them to effectively work together and to administer approximately $30 million in grants per year;
- Helping an organization committed to ending punitive drug policies that cause the widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration to sustain a supportive, healthy and collaborative work environment; among many others.
“I’ve experienced deepening abilities – capacity – to connect and be present with people of my own race, class and gender as well as others; generally deepening my ability to stay conscious, exploring impact of race and class, and developing principles and strategies I can pursue.”
Participant, Be Present Training Institute on Race, Gender, Power & Class
“The Be Present Empowerment Model enables me to grow my personal capacity to enact my vision and values around social change; to effectively use my financial resources to foster social change...My 20 year experience with grassroots communities throughout the rural South and national and regional funders leads me to believe that the work of Be Present, Inc. is a core piece for the movement.”
Barbara Meyer, President, Bert & Mary Meyer Foundation
“With support from Be Present, Inc., our whole organization has passed through pivotal crossroads, and is now organizing programs in partnership with peace and justice activists (mostly people of color) on four continents.”
Ocean Robbins, Founder, Yes!
“The Be Present Empowerment Model training and Peer Support Groups are essential resources for emerging and long-time community activists and especially those working through the post-traumatic stress of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As a Program Officer who funds community-based organizing in the Gulf Coast region, I highly recommend any activist to take advantage Be Present, Inc.’s programs. Not only does it provide intense relationship-building skills – quite necessary to navigate the complex socio-cultural and political circumstances on the Gulf Coast – it also provides participants with the clarity of purpose that makes them much more present, outspoken and persistent advocates and activists on whatever issue or policy change on which they may be focused.”
Cynthia Renfro, Marguerite Casey Foundation
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