on Monique's mind

Empowered Evanston
This is leadership.

MBJ-Blog-photo--ECF-grants-award-2018-028-350x300.jpgExcerpt from the May 31st Annual Meeting remarks:

I recently spoke at a conference with an audience of community foundation leaders from across the country looking for advice on how to lead in a space where our national administration seems to be tearing down the fundamental human rights that our country was built on. Erasing policies and practices that serve to protect the same people and causes that we serve to empower. In that moment, we all seemed to be on the same page — needing to shift our focus equally between stewarding our communities of donors and being community leaders.

I’m inspired by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that reads, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic justice, which make philanthropy necessary.”  My colleagues and I in the field stand at a crossroads: making sure the good work we do on behalf of our donors doesn’t cause more harm than good to the communities we love.

This is leadership.

What a concept. Leadership. At ECF, one of our four principles states that “Our leadership is in service to the community.”

My team — including the full board and staff — knew we had to lead internally first by applying a racial equity lens to our policies and practices. We began with a review of how our board committees are comprised and who sits at the decision making tables to set forth policy for the Foundation. That’s what equity is about - who has the power to make change. To that end, we conducted a comparison of the racial demographics of our board of directors and grantmaking committee to the community of Evanston as documented in the census report. We are making sure that the decision makers at the Foundation appropriately reflect our community — not just part of it — but all of it.

This is leadership.

Our staff diligently leads a team of board and community members in training and grantmaking that we are proud of. Not only does this lend itself to an objective process, it informs community members about some of Evanston’s needs that they may not otherwise see. We are committed to leadership that is reflective of Evanston’s demographics and attitudes, and we are committed to racial equity — by learning, action, and reflection. With each success there is always room to do more, be more, and innovate more. We are working hard on your behalf. I hope you’ll agree that the Foundation’s leadership this year has indeed been in service to the community.

Be Empowered
June 29, 2018