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I’m reflecting today about last year at this time.

When I and many of my white, privileged friends reached a new level of awareness and of the systemic racism that people of color in our communities experience all the time.

And in a way that it was extremely difficult to process. And yet such a small, you know, difficulty compared to the lives that the experiences and the stories that friends and people I did not know yet, shared about what they face every day.

I committed to learning more, to try to be a part of the solution, to see the opportunities for me to take action on a regular basis.

And one of the important actions has been to listen and learn and try to find different opportunities to be a part of a change.

One of the most special opportunities and an important one for me, has been looking at my own sector of fundraising and listening to the stories there. I wanted to share with you a book called Collecting Courage. It is edited by Nneka Allen, Camila Vital Nunes Pereira, and Nicole Salmon.

It shares their stories and the stories of many others, men and women in fundraising and the nonprofit and in the nonprofit sector who have experienced really, you know, horrible situations and systemic racism in their work and in their mission.

Working on missions that are important to all of us. 

I have had the pleasure of listening to some of the authors, share their stories directly and talk more about those experiences. And that has been an important part of my learning.

I look forward to continuing to learn, from others about how racism has affected them in the nonprofit sector, the fundraising sector, and more globally as well.

I encourage you to continue to reach out and get this book.

And I was thinking about this as I was pulling together information for my Board Workshop for Corporate Fundraising. It made me reflect on the importance of again making sure that our Boards are inclusive and in an effective way, in a meaningful way, and not in a tokenism way.

That often Boards and the leadership is where the training and development and learning need to happen.

And so, as we’re all reflecting on learning opportunities for our Boards. And as I’m talking about that in the area of corporate fundraising, I encourage you to reach out to experts in diversity and inclusion training and look for opportunities to get that training for your Boards as well.

Okay, and again, pick up this book, you won’t regret it. The stories are powerful and just really eye-opening.

And I hope that we can work towards a different reality for BIPOC, fundraisers, and leaders in our nonprofit sector.

So thank you … for listening.

Heather Nelson
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