Jack's Journal - November 2020
TANGO’s Board Diversity Initiative
Director of Nonprofit Education & Consulting
Soon after I joined TANGO in 2016 I had the pleasure of meeting Fred Jenoure at a TANGO event in Worcester, MA.
Fred is a seasoned and experienced nonprofit board member and leader, whose principal project over the last several years has been to bring more racial and ethnic diversity to nonprofit boards of directors. His project is honorable and essential given the fact that nonprofit boards of directors in this country are no more racially and ethnically diverse than they were years ago (according to Boardsource) despite constant messaging from sector leaders. Fred believed that a new approach was needed and presented his thinking to us.
To make a long story short Fred is now the Director of TANGO’s Diversity Initiative, and we have developed a two-part system (based on his thoughts and experience) to address the problem – a system which relies upon a different conceptual approach than that provided in most messaging over the 35 year period in question.
Part one is a formal system of written corporate and diversity guidelines designed to help nonprofit organizations develop diversity standards, processes and protocols for their boards that are suitable for inclusion in their By-laws or other formal documents. Our system is based entirely on the logic of the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty imposed on nonprofit boards. We help nonprofits with this task on a consulting basis on pre-negotiated terms.
Part two is a program to recruit diverse individuals interested in nonprofit board service in their communities, and to prepare them for the task using our textbook (the TANGO Nonprofit Method) as a guide. We call this TANGO Nonprofit Academy, and students receive a copy of the textbook, access to recorded online content, and participate in three live webinars covering the first eight chapters of the textbook. The purpose of the course is to make sure people new to board service are fully confident of their ability to serve — so that they can become confident contributors from their first day on the job.
Fred and I presented this two-part system at TANGO’S virtual annual meeting this year. Click here to watch the video of that session. The video is one hour in length and the first 10 minutes lay the framework for our thought.
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Over the last three months we completed our first two trainings of individuals from diverse backgrounds for placement on nonprofit boards of directors in their communities.