United Way of the Coastal Empire is pleased to announce the graduates of the first BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Nonprofit Leadership Symposium.
The graduation took place on December 16 at the Savannah Economic Development Authority office during the Closing Ceremony. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson served as the keynote speaker for the event. The new leadership and career development program was conceived in early 2021 in partnership with local Black nonprofit leaders to advance racial equity throughout the region.
“This UWCE initiative is so important because the capacity-building workshops provide BIPOC nonprofit leaders with tools to shore up their infrastructure and chart new paths for social impact,” says Cheri Dean, Transitional Living Program Director at Park Place Outreach, Inc. “Organizations in our cohort meet diverse needs from creating affordable housing, empowering single mothers, caring for those with lupus, teaching trades to young people, and more. These leaders are mission-focused and committed to building sustainable organizations that uplift our community.”
The program framework was designed by the BIPOC Leadership Council: Alicia Johnson, Executive Director of Step Up Savannah; Cheri Dean, TLP Director at Park Place Outreach, Inc.; Destiny Bradshaw, Founder and Executive Director of Ready2Connect; Doris Williams, Executive Director of The Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire Inc.; Moncello Stewart, Founder and Executive Director of OneSeed, Inc.; and Zelonia Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Future Minds Literacy and Adult Education, Inc., along with United Way Community Investments staff.
“The United Way BIPOC Leadership Series has helped me tremendously because as a program director of color, one does not often see leaders of color or women,” said Jessica Mathis, Program Director of Mixed Greens and one of the BIPOC Nonprofit Leadership Symposium participants. “On this new journey of being a Program Director of Mixed Greens, it has helped me to clearly understand the business side of nonprofits and community organizations.”
“BIPOC has exceeded my expectations,” says Jerome B. Irwin Sr., President of Savannah Chapter A. Phillip Randolph Institute. “The BIPOC program has been an enlightening experience so far. It has opened my eyes to changes that my organization has to make to be a successful 501(c)(3).”
“The BIPOC Nonprofit Leadership Symposium has not only helped me grow personally but has helped me grow in wisdom and knowledge as a nonprofit founder,” says Georgette Jackson, Founder and CEO of Divine Rest Inc. “Every seminar has been instrumental in equipping me with skills to take my nonprofit to the next level.”
The program officially kicked off in August when the BIPOC cohort met virtually for the first time as a collective to attend the Opening Ceremony. The cohort then met to conduct organizational assessments, the first in a series of free workshops over 4 months. The lesson plan included topics on leading and cultivating strategic partnerships, community engagement, strategic planning, budgeting, evaluation, incorporation options and alternatives, fundraising, self-care best practices, marketing, social media, and communications. During the Closing Ceremony, participants had the opportunity to meet with local funders and hear from Keynote Speaker, Mayor Van Johnson.
United Way of the Coastal Empire will be extending additional development programs to graduates of the BIPOC Leadership Symposium and other community members in 2022. Planned activities include a business pitch competition, allowing participants to present new program ideas for a chance to win services provided by expert consultants. The launch of the second annual BIPOC Leadership Symposium will begin in August 2022.
Congratulations to the 2021 BIPOC Nonprofit Leadership Symposium Graduates:
Karen Alston, 4 the Jewel N U Global
Angela Brantley, T.I.P Organization Inc.
Craig Butts, Unity in the Community
Petula Gomillion, Atlantic Area CASA
Bouda Gordon, Savannah Community Land Trust
Jennifer Graham, Shelter From the Rain Inc.
Jerome Irwin Sr., A. Philip Randolph Institute
Demmentrice Jefferson, Think BIG Youth Organization
Cornelius Llyod, Xcel Strategies
Jessica Mathis, Mixed Greens
Estelle Ramos, Girls of Purpose, Inc.
Rose-Grant Robinson, Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center
Sade Shofidiya, Foster Beelief
Debra Simmons, Neighborhood Improvement Agency
Anita Smith-Dixon, Community Housing Services Agency
Georgette Jackson, Divine Rest Inc.