Black Men are Leading the Way

Last week, GOSW presented the voices of 5 incredible Black women who shared their perspectives as Black people in leadership in philanthropy. As the community conversation continues about issues related to race and racism, we have committed to further engage our members in an ongoing dialogue during this critical moment in our history. This has been quite the journey over the past few months, first navigating the continuum of our COVID-19 responses, to now pushing past the harried crafting of statements of support for more justice and more peace. Each of these issues is intense on their own footing. But through it all, we are aware of a very important through-line between COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd. Inequity, inadequate healthcare, racism, and more specifically, Blackness.

In our fast-moving, clickable world, this is about the time that we begin to turn away from the discomfort of a terrible issue or experience. The next email in our box or popular show on Netflix gives us permission to avert our eyes from the ugliness. But the sounds of young people taking to the street night after night, still present and reminding us of the names of those who have been taken from us, keep these issues in front of our eyes. It is this constant reminder of more lives impacted by COVID-19 and the continued cries for justice that has led us to stay the course in our weekly conversation with our members.

On this path, the next natural step following the words of wisdom from Black leaders in philanthropy, is to hear about the experiences of Black nonprofit leaders. Nonprofit leaders are a critical part of the work that we do in philanthropy and every day, the philanthropic community benefits from the insights, efforts, and commitment of our nonprofit partners. This week, we invite you to listen to Black leaders of Black-serving organizations.

One other item of note is that we have made a conscious decision to present the perspectives of nonprofit leaders who are Black men. So much of what we are facing right now is a direct result of having witnessed the trauma of the murder of George Floyd. And that shared experience underscores just how daunting it is for Black men to merely exist, let alone navigate and lead within our systems. Black male voices are rarely heard, particularly in spaces that are held for philanthropy, so we ask that you listen to these men…absorb the depth of their stories…and honor the strength that it takes to speak about this difficult subject at this time in our lives.

Thank you to Michael, Mark, Djimet, Donell, Antonio, and Marcus for your bravery, your strength, and your leadership.


Kendall Clawson