RCLA Announces People of Color Leadership Network and IGNITE Fellowship

NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action is thrilled to announce new programming through the People of Color Leadership Network. The Network aims to strengthen communities of color by supporting leadership by and for people of color.

The People of Color Leadership Network will play an important role in connecting people of color to exchange best practices and support each other, in strengthening their development as leaders and managers at all levels within organizations, in promoting their engagement in relevant diverse networks where they can collaborate around common visions, and in expanding the impact they have individually and collectively within organizations, systems and on a global scale on issues of public importance.

The Network begins with the launch of the IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color Leaders in the Social Sector. The fellowship celebrates and nurtures the leadership of mid-career women of color in nonprofits across the US. Applications are being accepted for the program through noon EST on May 24, 2013.

The People of Color Leadership Network represents the next chapter in the work started by the Women of Color Policy Network founded by the late NYU Wagner Professor Walter Stafford in 2000. The Network conducted original research to influence and shape local, state and national policies that affect women of color, their families and communities and offered leadership development for women of color. In 2008, the Network became an affiliate of RCLA. In 2012, we evaluated how we could have the greatest impact in supporting the vitally important public service work being spearheaded by people of color and impacting communities of color in the US. We saw a critical need to support leaders of color conducting research, advocating for more just and equitable policies, and providing services to communities that might otherwise be underserved. 

The need to both lift up and support leadership by people of color is made more urgent by the dearth of positions of authority held by people of color despite demographic and workforce shifts. People of color make up one in three people in the US – a figure projected to increase to 54 percent by 2042. Yet 2011-2012 data from BoardSource and the D5 Coalition show that the number of people of color holding nonprofit and foundation CEO positions hovers around 10 percent.

As part of celebrating, enhancing and accelerating the leadership of women and men of color, the Network will serve as a resource to students and alumni. It will also maintain a commitment to understanding public policy and leadership issues with attention to the intersections of gender, race and other markers of difference, and will preserve a social equity lens in all of its work.

The Network’s programming is part of RCLA’s broader mission to build knowledge and capacity for leadership to transform society and commitment to developing more diverse and inclusive public service leadership.