Why Rosetta is rocking the nonprofit world

Rosetta Thurman is one of my favorite nonprofit bloggers because she is willing to not only complain when she sees something that isn't right, she moves people to action. Her recent letter to the publisher of the Nonprofit Times in response to little minority representation on the Power & Influence Top 50 list was timely and needed. From Rosetta:

Heather Carpenter's list of next generation leaders inspired me last week. But when I saw the official Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50, I got so riled up that I wrote a letter to the publisher. There were barely any people of color on that list, and I feel that it is really time for us to start pointing that out when we see it, instead of just saying "well, that's the way it is." Below is the letter I emailed to John McIlquham, the publisher of the Nonprofit Times. Hopefully he will write me back.

In the meantime, please help me add to my list in the comments, so we can all learn from each other about the depth of multicultural leadership in our sector. How do we pay this forward so that we can begin to build a culture of honoring contributions from people of color in the nonprofit field?

Dear John,

Like my colleagues in the nonprofit field, I am an avid reader of The NonProfit Times, as the "premier business publication written for nonprofit executives." As your website notes, the NonProfit Times reaches 38,000 executive decision makers, and we all appreciate the timely information that is presented in each issue. That is why it shocked me to see that this year's Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50 included so few leaders of color in a list of 50 influential people in our sector. I was very disappointed that your publication did not reflect the racial diversity of nonprofit leadership. From looking at your list, one might be inclined to think there aren't really any minorities leading in the nonprofit sector. But you would be wrong.

Recent studies show that: people of color represent 18% of nonprofit CEOs and 14% of board leadership.

As a nonprofit community, I think it fits within our values to recognize the deep talent and contributions that people of color are making in our field. I have only worked in nonprofits for six years, and I am aware of way more than 50 leaders of color that are leading the way for social change and making an impact on our sector overall.

I hope to be helpful in my remarks to you in the hopes that we will see a more inclusive set of leaders in your publication next year. For now, I offer this brief list to the NonprofitTimes Top 50 Power and Influence selection committee as a small sample of other folks to consider for 2009.


Rosetta Thurman
Blogger & Leadership Consultant
Perspectives From the Pipeline

See Rosetta's list of Nonprofit Leaders of Color Here.