January 21, 2021

Community Foundation Announces New Initiatives Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA) in the Greater Capital Region

The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region is proud to announce several new initiatives focused on promoting inclusion, diversity, equity, and action (IDEA) in the Greater Capital Region. Guided by the needs of the region and accountable to our community, the Community Foundation is committed to advocating for, promoting, funding, and supporting equitable policies and practices that ensure justice, safety, and access to opportunities for everyone in our community. Based on recommendations from the report, Nonprofit Board Diversity: A Snapshot of the Capital Region released last year, the Community Foundation is announcing four new initiatives: Catalysts for Change Leadership Program, Nonprofit Board Inclusion Training Series, online resources, and two new funds: Nonprofit Training & Advancement Fund and Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund.

 “The Community Foundation is proud to partner with a diverse group of community leaders to address crucial needs in our region related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and action,” said John Eberle, President & CEO at the Community Foundation. “Thanks to the support from our Campaign for Impact, the Foundation has generated resources dedicated to these efforts and remains focused on raising support for the journey ahead. As we embark on a new year, the Community Foundation is positioned to support our region’s recovery from the pandemic and our community’s journey toward a more equitable society.”

Catalysts for Change Leadership Program
The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region is excited to announce the inaugural class for the Catalysts for Change Leadership Program. Based on the Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders program at The Gifford Foundation, the Catalysts for Change Leadership Program is an 8-week board development series that will focus on increasing inclusiveness and diversity on nonprofit boards and linking leaders to supporting nonprofits. In collaboration with our IDEA Steering Committee, 13 rising community leaders were chosen from more than 60 applications. The first training in the series was held on January 19, 2021.

Upon completion of the program, the cohort will be connected to local nonprofits and join a network of leaders with a shared commitment to changing the state of diversity within our nonprofit boards. Congratulations to our first cohort:

  • Amanda Boyd, MA (She/Her/Hers) Community School Coordinator, Albany City School District
  • Ginny Casper (She/Her/Hers) Assistant Director, International Programs, Union College
  • Phylicia Coley, MS.Ed (She/Her/Hers) Director of Residence Life, The College of Saint Rose
  • Paul Collins-Hackett, Batman (He/Him/Batman) Executive Director, The RED Bookshelf
  • Erika Endres (She/Her/Hers) Communications and Marketing Professional
  • Ebony Mayo (She/Her/Hers) Solutions Professional, SEFCU and Treasurer & Board Member, CRWIA – Capital Region West Indian Association
  • Zilpa Oduor (She/Her/Hers) Coordinator of Employment Services, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
  • Keshana Owens-Cody (She/Her/Hers) Sr. Director, Community Empowerment, Alliance for Better Health
  • Khadijah Peek, J.D., M.S. (She/Her/Hers) Legislative Office Manager/Banks Committee Director, NYS Senate
  • Jen Pincus, MPA (She/Her/Hers) Director, Data and Technology, Community Health Care Association of New York State
  • Michael Snyder (He/Him/His) NYS AmeriCorps Program Director, American Red Cross
  • Gladys Valverde (She/Her/Hers) Contracting Manager, New York eHealth Collaborative and Board Member, Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth
  • Danika Vittorio, MBA, (She/Her/Hers) Business Analyst, MVP Health Care

 Nonprofit Board Inclusion Training Series
Based on a recommendation from the report Nonprofit Board Diversity: A Snapshot of the Capital Region, the Community Foundation is partnering with Angela Dixon, Senior Vice President/Chief Diversity Officer at Berkshire Bank, to design a training series on ways to create welcoming board cultures representative of diverse, traditionally underrepresented communities. The training series is for current nonprofit leaders looking to foster inclusive leadership within their organizations.

The goals of this training series are to raise awareness and knowledge of the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion for nonprofits; build inclusiveness and diversity on nonprofit boards; advance the cultural competency and sensitivity among nonprofit leaders; educate and inspire those who participate; and provide quality training for our community. The three-part series will include:

  1. Building a Foundation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  2. Having Crucial Conversations
  3. Taking Action at Your Organization

The Community Foundation and Ms. Dixon are collecting feedback from community leaders to better understand needs and priorities related to diversity, inclusion, and equity, to ensure that the training series provides tangible approaches to address change. The information session Tuesday, February 9, at 1 pm via Zoom. Click here to register for the event.

 Online Resources
In addition to training and mentoring programs, the Community Foundation is compiling online resources to assist individuals and organizations at any stage of their journey toward anti-racism and becoming more inclusive of under-represented community members. These include:

  1. Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) Resource Hub: a collection of resources to help organizations increase diversity, build an inclusive culture, and advance equity throughout the community. The hub includes articles, books, stories, websites, and webinars/videos to help build inclusion within any organization. Visit the Resource Hub by visiting this link: https://www.cfgcr.org/idea-resourcehub.
  2. Consultant Directory: The Community Foundation has compiled a directory of experts and consultants to support nonprofits looking for guidance around diversity and inclusion, development, strategic planning, and communications/marketing. If you would like to be included in the directory, please complete the following survey.

 Announcing Two New Funds: Nonprofit Training & Advancement Fund and Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund
The Community Foundation has established two new funds to advance social justice throughout the Capital Region. The funds underscore the Foundation’s commitment to providing opportunities for communities that have historically been marginalized and embrace organizations led by and serving those communities.

  • Nonprofit Training & Advancement Fund: provides one-time, $500 grants to support professional development for front-line workers to support essential training needs.
  • Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund: will provide funding to support efforts to advance equity and social justice initiatives throughout the Greater Capital Region. Grants will focus support for organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders and other collaborative efforts that work to advance equity and inclusion.

These initiatives are generously supported by our funding partners:

The Community Foundation will continue to provide updates on these initiatives and encourages community members interested in learning more to visit the Foundation’s website, sign up for email alerts, and follow the Community Foundation on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

If you are interested in providing financial support for these efforts, please contact John Eberle at jeberle@cfgcr.org.