Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor



Organization leaders discuss board diversity strategies
by Matt Simonette

This article shared 1333 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Times recently surveyed a number of local organizations about the diversity of both their board leadership and their organization's staff and employees.

That initial survey, which appeared in the July 22 issue of Windy City Times { ], primarily emphasized how leadership tackled diversity across the LGBTQ spectrum, i.e., whether transgender or bisexual members and staff played prominent roles. The publication will further investigate what considerations organizations make for racial diversity or diversity among economic groups.

One of the greatest challenges facing any not-for-profit is making sure that the leadership of that organization can effectively engage with the constituency they serve, said Mary Morten of the Morten Group consultancy, which assists organizations in locating both board members and staff.

"When we think about our non-profit organizations and the programming and services that they are providing, it is critical that staff and board have some understanding of the lived experiences of those that they are servicing," she added. "Executives and senior leadership needs to reflect that diversity and those lived experiences."

Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson noted, "It is really important for communities to see themselves reflected in decision-making bodies, not just in advisory groups or onstage at events, but really at the table."

LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois Director Jerome' Holston said his organization is diligent about "identifying where there are gaps on our board and evaluating where there are skills and backgrounds that we need. It's a matter of going from there to identifying people we think can fill those roles. We of course have a preference for candidates who are members of the LGBTQ community, but it is not required."

Johnson said that organizations who are not conscientious about their leadership diversity risks becoming lost in a "vicious cycle," wherein the organization's constituency engages less and then leadership loses perspective either further.

"It means we're identifying the right issues that matter to our community, analyzing those issues in the best way and coming up with solutions that meet most of the needs of our community," Johnson explained.

But the LGBTQ community's perspective on what constitutes diversity is fluid and ever-changing, acknowledged AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) President and CEO John Peller.

"We're having a national conversation about the role of race and racism in society and in all organizations from corporations, to nonprofits, to the government to schools," he added. "It's really critical as AFC thinks about improving our response and our racial equity as an organization to really talk about and name racial equity as a goal for the organization. It's also critical for us to have the conversation about how we can be an anti-racist organization in our policies and practices, so that's something we're working hard to implement."

Pastor Jamie Frazier, who heads the community activist group Lighthouse Foundation, said his organization's leadership council is composed primarily of Black LGBTQ people "so we could authentically speak for and from our community. It was also important that trans and Black queer women's voices were centered as well."

Johnson acknowledged the pitfalls organizations can fall into as their boards chart their leadership strategies.

"Where I've seen organizations fail is if they think a primary purpose of an organization is to raise money, so therefore only people with access to capital should be on the board, [then] you' re not going to get a diverse group no matter what policies you put forward," he said.

Johnson added that the board diversity must be a constant consideration: "If you bring on new board members in June, you can't have a meeting in February and say 'who should we be talking to?'"

Morten emphasized that organizations must go forward acknowledging the ever-changing considerations organizations must consider as they go forward.

"To diversify your board or staff, it's important to understand that diversity is not just on race—that's what's most obvious to us," she explained. "But we need to look at disability, gender identity and of course sexual orientation. We need to look at economics. All of these are diversity vectors for a board and they must decide how they need to prioritize these indicators."

The July 22 survey is at

—Emily Reilly contributed reporting for this story.

This article shared 1333 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

LGBTQ laws rated in Human Rights Campaign State Equality Index 2021-01-25
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Illinois event to celebrate anniversary of Roe v. Wade ruling 2021-01-21
--From a press release - CHICAGO - Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) and PPIA PAC celebrate the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling at its Roe v. Wade Anniversary Event, to be held virtually on Thursday, January 28. The event ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois announces 30th Anniversary Virtual Gala Celebration 2021-01-21
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - Media outlets are invited to cover Equality Illinois' 30th Anniversary Virtual Gala, presented by Molson Coors Beverage Company, beginning at 7 p.m. CST on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Called the "who's who of ...

Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame announces line of clothing 2021-01-21
- The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, now entering its 30th year, announced today that it has teamed up with Shirts Illustrated, to produce a line of clothing bearing the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame logo. All ...

Gay News

NCLR hails President Biden's signing of Executive Order addressing LGBTQ workplace discrimination 2021-01-20
--From a NCLR press release - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today, Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States after campaigning on a platform that advocated for the strongest protections for LGBTQ individuals in the history of ...

Gay News

Indiana to open first home for LGBTQ+ homeless youths 2021-01-20
- Indiana's first dedicated residential facility for LGBTQ+ young adults experiencing homelessness is slated to open this year in Indianapolis, according to This home was years in the making. Trinity ...

Gay News

Lighthouse Foundation looks ahead to 2021 survey 2021-01-19
- Lincoln Park-based Lighthouse Foundation, an advocacy that primarily uplifts Black LGBTQ Chicagoans and has its roots in Lincoln Park-based Lighthouse Church of Chicago, will survey five prominent LGBTQ-focused local organizations ...

Gay News

CRS pays tribute to Rustin's legacy 2021-01-18
- Community Renewal Society (CRS) highlighted a new partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative (BRLI) as part of a virtual Martin Luther King Day observance on Jan. 18. The event paid tribute to the ...

Gay News

Disability Culture Leadership Initiative launches online hub with Chicago artists 2021-01-15
--From a 3Arts press release - CHICAGO, IL (Jan. 15, 2021)— 3Arts, the Chicago-based nonprofit grantmaking organization, announced today the launch of the Disability Culture Leadership Initiative (DCLI), featuring a new online platform created to elevate ...

Gay News

Jonathan David Katz awarded Andrew W. Mellon grant 2021-01-15
--From a Wrightwood 659 press release - (CHICAGO, IL— Jan. 15, 2021) Wrightwood 659 congratulates our friend, curator, and collaborator, Jonathan David Katz on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's announcement of a $5,000,000 award for the proposal"Dispossessions ...

Gay News

Tribute event to honor Chicago's first Cultural Historian Jan. 28 2021-01-14
--From a City of Chicago press release - CHICAGO, IL — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced a tribute event to honor Chicago's first Cultural Historian, Tim Samuelson. Samuelson recently retired after 3 ...

Gay News

Howard Brown developing new center in Northalsted area 2021-01-14
- Howard Brown Health has chosen Inland National Development Company, LLC to develop its newest healthcare center in Chicago's Northalsted neighborhood (formerly known as Boystown), according to REJournals. There are plans ...

Gay News

Two-Spirit/LGBTQAI Native American Powwow plans a week of virtual events 2021-01-13
--From a press release - Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) exists to restore and recover the role of Two-Spirit people within the American Indian/First Nations community by creating a forum for the spiritual, cultural ...

Gay News

GLSEN executive director stepping down 2021-01-13
- After a dozen years leading the national organization GLSEN—which aims to create a better world for LGBTQ+ students—Executive Director Eliza Byard is stepping down March 1. Deputy Executive Director Melanie ...

Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot, DCASE announce $2.5M in arts grants 2021-01-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced $2.5 million in funding opportunities for Chicago artists and arts organizations. A new "Artist Response Program," ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.