Black nonprofits under black leadership are supposed to benefit the people right? But what happens when the head of an organization, movement or corporation is so out of touch with the world that they do not see the failures of their organization on even the most basic level. People suffer. I have worked and volunteered with several nonprofit organizations that are structured to benefit black and Hispanic youth, and in all settings, I have been underwhelmed with the performance of the organization.
What I have found is that all too often when working with underprivileged youth, people set the bar so low that not even the baby Barbie could do the tango under it. It seems as if; some people in these nonprofits feel that so long as they are doing something, so long as their doors are open, they can say they accomplished their goal. It does not matter if they lack proper structure or programming to actually teach students the lessons according to their mission. Children are allowed to run around community centers without any direction. Staffs in these organizations do not sit down with each other and properly plan and when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And that is what I have seen, one big failure. We are failing our kids, our communities and ourselves. But why? Because, we lack proper leadership.
Attitude reflects leadership. If you look at most nonprofits in black communities they are ran by older black people who refuse to hand over their power to someone more competent. Or, they are ran by a younger person who is more concerned with having some sense of power and notoriety, that they forget why they started this work. As time changes, so do the morals of the people. The truth of the matter is that kids these days are not the same kids that they once were, and as they change so must the structure of our programs. Programs must evolve just as people and technology do. We need to stop trying to manage the image. So long as things look good from the outside, then we put a patch over the crack that runs all the way through the foundation. But we must do better. No one will save us from our culturally stricken and impoverished mindset, but ourselves.
We must groom the next generation or as we see society will. A nonprofit in a black community is as close to the ground as the schools and the home. We have the potential to affect real change. So please let us begin to hold ourselves and our staff accountable. Be a setting for high standards and morals. If you have retired from one position, be retired; do not take on the role as the head of another organization to stay relevant. Be a consultant and let someone else who has the skillset, fervor and energy to do the job. I understand that we are a people who have not yet realized the power we possess and so we hold onto any false sense of it. Let go. The power is not in your position, but what you put into the minds and hearts of those who follow you.
If you work at a nonprofit, what could you do better to improve?