This article was written by Scott W. Allard and Ben Reuter and originally published by The Avenue. To read the full article, please click the link below..
Numerous challenges confront metropolitan America today. Many workers have not seen meaningful wage growth in recent years—despite nearly a decade of economic recovery. Income and wealth inequality persist. Behavioral health systems struggle to keep up with addictions of despair at the same time that congressional actions place health insurance coverage out of reach once again for millions of Americans. Recent GOP tax cuts and spending deals are forecast to create deficits that hamper the ability of federal, state, and local government to care for society’s most vulnerable during the next economic downturn.
The ability of metro areas to respond to these challenges and develop sustainable solutions will rest heavily on the capacity of community-based nonprofits to marshal local resources, deliver assistance to families, and advocate for policy change at all levels of government. To that end, metropolitan leaders must work together to develop a new generation of nonprofit leaders who can help communities and organizations navigate this new environment. Signs of this imperative abound:
"In the coming decade, therefore, we must proactively and equitably train and engage leaders from underrepresented, oppressed, and marginalized communities across our metropolitan areas."
Our work in Seattle and observations of similar work in other regions suggests many lessons about how public and nonprofit organizations can begin to develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders:
Metropolitan areas must be bold in investing in leadership development. Achieving greater leadership equity means investing more in emerging leaders and organizations from historically marginalized or oppressed communities. The ability of metro areas to respond to today’s unprecedented challenges depends on it.