Summit Stresses Developing Leaders of Color for Social Change

Posted June 10, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog summitforleadersofcolor 2016

To help mil­len­ni­als of col­or real­ize their poten­tial, the social sec­tor needs to devel­op a diverse pipeline of young social change lead­ers. Toward that end, the Casey Foun­da­tion fund­ed the inau­gur­al Brioxy White House Sum­mit for Inno­va­tors of Col­or, a recent three-day gath­er­ing that brought togeth­er about 150 emerg­ing social change lead­ers of col­or with senior Admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. Brioxy, a nation­al net­work that strives to expand oppor­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple of col­or, led the sum­mit, held inside the White House for one day and at anoth­er Wash­ing­ton venue for two days.

Ash­ley B. Stew­art, a senior asso­ciate at the Foun­da­tion, says it’s crit­i­cal to get more young peo­ple of col­or into social change lead­er­ship posi­tions. The Foun­da­tion recent­ly cre­at­ed a learn­ing lab to help orga­ni­za­tions work­ing with emerg­ing social-sec­tor lead­ers to diver­si­fy their tal­ent pipeline and strength­en their frame­works for achiev­ing results.

At the Casey Foun­da­tion, we rec­og­nize diver­si­ty as a core val­ue, and know that diver­si­ty is a means toward equi­ty. What we want to see is a more racial­ly diverse and inclu­sive social sec­tor that advances race equi­ty and inclu­sion in hir­ing and advance­ment prac­tices. So we sup­port tal­ent pipelines or on ramps,’ if you will, for emerg­ing lead­ers who are work­ing to achieve racial equi­ty, pow­er, diver­si­ty and inclu­sion in their sys­tems,” Stew­art says.

Stew­art says the sum­mit pro­vid­ed a plat­form for young inno­va­tors to expand their net­works and to devel­op their lead­er­ship skills through a tools, mod­els and coach­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. If the social sec­tor is going to achieve equi­table out­comes, tru­ly remov­ing the racial bar­ri­ers and bias­es, then we must embed race equi­ty and inclu­sion in every aspect of our work, espe­cial­ly in attract­ing, devel­op­ing and advanc­ing talent.”

An 18-page action agen­da report that that grew out of the sum­mit, The Ready Gen­er­a­tion: Mil­len­ni­als of Col­or and the Moment for Equi­ty, offered these rec­om­men­da­tions for emerg­ing lead­ers to make pro­duc­tive change:

  • Cre­ate more path­ways to cit­i­zen­ship for young immi­grants. The report cit­ed research show­ing com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform would increase the U.S. gross domes­tic prod­uct by $1.5 tril­lion over 10 years and add up to 900,000 jobs with­in three years.
  • Expand high­er edu­ca­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly through greater invest­ment in com­mu­ni­ty col­leges, and reduce stu­dent loan debt, dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly borne by mil­len­ni­als of color.
  • Fos­ter home­own­er­ship in com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, in part by cre­at­ing incen­tives for cities and banks that encour­age mil­len­ni­als of col­or to invest in homes.
  • Increase the flow of cap­i­tal to spur entre­pre­neur­ship and inno­va­tion among young blacks and Lati­nos by invest­ing in com­pa­nies and social enter­pris­es led by inno­va­tors of color.

Mil­len­ni­als of col­or, the report point­ed out, will go a long way toward shap­ing the U.S. econ­o­my for decades to come.

As young peo­ple of col­or become a larg­er share of America’s pop­u­la­tion and work­force, the crit­i­cal moment to invest in their future and equip them to reach their full poten­tial — as work­ers, entre­pre­neurs, inno­va­tors, and lead­ers — is right now.”

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