An apology to everyone I’ve offended for speaking up against g3nocide

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My esteemed colleagues,

Since October 17th, when I published my first blog post talking about IsraeI and PaIestine, I have received many, many comments, emails, texts, and private messages on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook from many of you, expressing sadness and disappointment in my words. Over the next several months, I doubled down, condemning Israel’s relentless slaughter of untold children and civilians. I encouraged actions such as contacting elected officials and demanding they support a permanent ceasefire. I called for us in this sector to support an end to Israel’s settler colonial occupation and apartheid regime, and for a Free Palestine.

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7 New Rules of Workplace Professionalism: Post-Pandemic Edition

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Hi everyone, a couple of things before we get started: If you’re free on June 27th at 10am Pacific Time, please join me and Common Future’s Co-CEO Jennifer Njuguna in a conversation where we discuss our sector’s propensity for fear and risk-aversion, especially in light the pushback against DEI, and what we need to do about it. It’s free, and auto-captions will be enabled. Register here.

Also, around the summer solstice, June 20th this year, is when folks in our sector host PEEP (Party to Enhance Equity in Philanthropy) events, where funders and nonprofit leaders can get together in casual, no-agenda settings just to chat and see one another as human beings. Let folks know in the comments if you’re planning to have one.

The past few years have been eventful, and by that, I mean brutal and horrifying. And I am surprised by how all of us continue to follow the same rules of professionalism we were used to following. A colleague, for example, wrote on LinkedIn about the importance of “writing handwritten thank-you notes after job interviews”!

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How hyper-localism in nonprofit and philanthropy has become a barrier to justice and equity

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A few weeks ago, I came back from a trip to Kenya to learn about and discuss global aid, specifically how colonization and imperialism and their legacy have created a system of global aid wrapped in patriarchy and white supremacy. It was my first time on the continent, and it was eye-opening seeing how foreign policies have affected local communities.

I am now back home in the US and continue to be horrified by the gen0cide that Israel continues committing against Palestinian civilians: bombing refugee camps, massacring children and civilians even as we sleep and go about our days.

 “Why do you care what happens thousands of miles away?” several trolls have asked me online. Similar sentiments are expressed by people I know, including colleagues from our field, but sounding much more civil and reasonable: “I don’t have the time and energy to be up to date on all the global events. I’m trying to focus on what I can do in my own neighborhood.”

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The Brussels Sprouts of Equity

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Hi everyone, just a reminder that if you’re free on May 23rd at 10am Pacific, please join Hildy Gottlieb and me on this free webinar to discuss Catalytic Thinking and how to get our sector out of the rut. Auto-captions will be available.

One of the greatest joys of my life is being a parent. I always joke though that having a baby is like getting a multi-year federal grant: At first you’re elated, then you realize how much work it takes, and the requirements change every year. One of those requirements is feeding them. Children, with very few exceptions, are picky and unpredictable eaters. They go through phases where they’ll only eat plain pasta. Or bread innards. Or cashews they find on the floor, garnished with dust bunnies.

Why am I talking about kids’ eating habits? I bring it up because one of the questions I get asked most is “How do you keep going when you try to effect change, especially around DEI, and it just goes nowhere?” Colleagues bring up attempting to get their board to adopt salary transparency, or their ED to approve trainings around anti-racism, or their foundation board trustees to give more funding to marginalized-communities-led organizations, etc. Often these efforts get rebuffed, and it feels futile.

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When nonprofit staff are paid so low they qualify for their org’s services

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A while ago, at the request of some colleagues, I talked about “Nonprofit Math” and created a little video that went viral. One of the examples I brought up was “paying your staff so little that they qualify for the services your organization is providing.” That line got a lot of chuckles.

It’s so great how we can laugh at ourselves! One of my favorite pieces of humor is an Onion article called “Nonprofit Fights Poverty with Poverty.”

But OK, a lot of humor is rooted in at least some fraction of truth, and it’s time we confront this one. Although the idea that some people are paid so little they could qualify to be a client for their own or another nonprofit’s programs seems ridiculous, the reality is that it does happen. And probably with more frequency than we realize. Last week, a friend of mine who lives in a very expensive area of the US texted me this:

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