FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington Area Women’s Foundation Releases New Report: “Thrive as They Lead: Advancing the Infrastructure to Support Black Women Leaders in the D.C. Metro Area Nonprofit Sector”
Washington, D.C. (October 26, 2023) – Today, Washington Area Women’s Foundation is releasing its new report, “Thrive as They Lead: Advancing the Infrastructure to Support Black Women Leaders in the D.C. Metro Area Nonprofit Sector.” This report is the by-product of a six-month project assembling the voices, experiences, and recommendations of Black women and Black gender-expansive leaders across the Washington metropolitan area and the infrastructure that is needed to support them.
“I am so grateful to the small group of local leaders who recognized a disturbing trend and asked the Women’s Foundation to help launch this critical research,” said Tamara Wilds Lawson, President & CEO, Washington Area Women’s Foundation. “Our report reveals an alarming crisis of Black women’s leadership across the nonprofit sector. These leaders’ words are an indictment, and their recommendations present a unique opportunity to disrupt harmful systemic practices because this region cannot afford to lose their expertise and energy.”
In a time marked by resilience and visionary leadership, Black women leaders continue to shape our institutions, neighborhoods, and movements. They are on the frontlines, adeptly steering dynamic and responsive organizations while exemplifying leadership marked by grace, humility, and an unwavering dedication to public service. Yet, it is impossible to ignore the profound and multifaceted challenges Black women leaders within our sector and region grapple with daily, challenges that significantly hinder their ability to lead authentically.
This report arrives at a pivotal moment where it has never been more important to center the voices of Black women leaders to design the infrastructure needed to support their leadership, and in turn, the flourishing of our communities.
“As a Black woman leader in the nonprofit sector, I applaud The Women’s Foundation in leading the charge and standing unapologetically in its commitment to Black women leaders in our region,” said Indira Henard, Executive Director, DC Rape Crisis Center. “I am forever grateful to the Black women leaders whose voice and experience in this report serve as a battle cry that I hope will challenge the consciousness of our region. The mandate in this report is clear that Black women leaders are the GPS in which we should all be taking our direction from.”
Highlighting ten key themes distilled from conversations with nearly 40 Black women leaders, the report encompasses their experiences and recommendations on the tangible actions required to support and advance their leadership. The report also offers a roadmap for funders, philanthropic leaders, and community partners to use as we collectively contribute to shaping a sector and region that champions and advances the leadership of Black women.
To access the full report, visit here.
For 25 years, The Women’s Foundation has worked to remove the structural barriers that prevent women and girls of color from achieving economic stability and has awarded nearly $17M to more than 215 local community–based organizations and individuals through grantmaking and advocacy. Visit thewomensfoundation.org to learn more.