I connected with Tanir Ami, CEO of the CARESTAR Foundation, and Michael Heil, Board Chair, during the final week of NCG’s learning series Unconscious Whiteness for Board Members & Trustees, where a cohort of 15 white-identifying board members and trustees came together to learn. We discussed their motivation for participating, the challenges and opportunities CARESTAR has encountered in attempting to center racial equity, and what’s next in manifesting their commitment. The conversation has been edited for brevity.
This month, President and CEO Dwayne S. Marsh has officially taken the reins from Steve Barton and Phuong Quach, senior staff who’ve served as NCG’s interim leaders for the past six months. The three took turns answering questions about the moment in which we find ourselves and the possibilities ahead. As the interview was drawing to a close, Dwayne paused to check if we were going to address race explicitly. And so, signaling the new future into which we are stepping, we did.
Three weeks ago, the two of us stepped into our new roles as acting Co-CEOs of Northern California Grantmakers. That was the same day the world learned we would need vigorous hand-washing and distance to protect each other and everyone in our community from a new rapidly spreading virus. A most unusual start in our roles. But, then again, these are most unusual times.
Recently, Northern California Grantmakers and philanthropic research and strategy firm Open Impact released Get it Right: 5 Shifts Philanthropy Must Make Towards an Equitable Region, a report funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The report outlines what we need from decision-makers in philanthropy – board members, trustees, high net worth individuals, CEOs, and executive directors –to listen to communities, catch up to the moment, and align grantmaking support.
NCG’s board and staff are pleased to announce the conclusion of a rigorous search for the organization’s next president and CEO. From a pool of nearly 90 candidates and many strong contenders, one leader emerged as the consensus choice of board, staff, and management. Oakland’s own Dwayne S. Marsh brings nearly thirty years’ experience advancing racial and economic equity through sustained work in the public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors.
Yesterday was a blur. Immediately after we finally hit “send” on the announcement of my departure from NCG to become the CEO of Fenway Health in Boston I was besieged with good wishes via email and text and social media. It felt good. But tonight, as I sit in my living room reflecting on the day, I am feeling some sadness. I am really, really going to miss all of you