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Blacks in the Nonprofit Sector

There are approximately 1.3 million nonprofit workers in America. The majority of Blacks who work in the sector oversee programs and are on the front lines. Blacks, and other racial minorities, are the ones who are most at risk of catching COVID-19. Blacks are the ones who distribute the food and provide outreach in Black and Brown communities. Many provide mental and wellness services, as well.

Non-Whites are also the data collectors who provide the instrumental "impact" and "outcomes" required to receive funding from the government and foundations. The blood, sweat, and tears of Black nonprofit workers likely give credence to the notion that nonprofit work is an underpaid profession.

In the past decade, Blacks have also been tapped for the human resources departments. They are the recruiters for direct service staff. They are also in charge of diversity efforts and work to thwart discrimination lawsuits.

There are a few Black executives. I have had the opportunity to reach that level due to a unique set of fundraising skills taught to me by a Jewish mentor who took me under her wing when I began in the sector over 20 years ago. Money talks.

Contrary to popular belief, many nonprofit CEOs earn six-figure salaries. They also may receive excellent benefits, including housing and vehicle allowances. Some national CEOs earn millions per year. These CEOs rarely visit the communities they serve, and if they do, it is usually with an entourage, a potential funder or to conduct a press conference for the media.

Collectively, if Black employees decided not to report to work, the nonprofit sector would collapse, and decades of comforts for many non-Blacks would be jeopardized.


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