At GMN’s 2013 conference, one of our most popular workshops was about overcoming unconscious community bias. Yanique Redwood, president of the Consumer Health Foundation in Washington, D.C., has a great personal perspective on the topic, from the latest issue of the Chronicle on Philanthropy:
When I walked into my first interview with the search committee recruiting a new chief executive at the Consumer Health Foundation, I was taken aback.
The four people seated around the table were African-Americans. I remember starting with a loud “um” that probably indicated how unsettled I was.
A white leader was retiring from the organization, which is dedicated to giving people of all races and ethnicities an equal opportunity to be healthy, and the people making the choice of a successor all shared my ancestry. Was something wrong in this organization?
Reflecting on that moment later, I have come to realize how deeply embedded implicit biases are for me—and likely everyone else—even though I eschew racism and discrimination. Until we overcome these biases, we will fall short of creating equitable social institutions and structures.
Across the United States, our communities are growing more diverse every day. To build the organizations of the future and ensure they are ready to serve their communities, it’s time to take aggressive steps to make sure that charity and foundation boards reflect America’s population.
You can also sign up to get an email when our 2013 conference session summaries, including a recap of the session on unconscious community bias, are available.