Effective capacity building with social justice organizations requires a clear understanding of the link between cultural base and progressive causes. In this session, we first distinguish the roles, challenges, and opportunities that are particular to capacity building work with social justice groups. Second, we explore how to serve as partners toward not only strengthening governance, programs, operations of a single nonprofit - but also acting in the interest of stronger movements and participatory democracy. Our spotlight will be on innovation - practical tools - developed for assessing how organizations, as well as coalitions or other alliances, are functioning. These resources are evidence-based; they build on insights from consulting projects, learning laboratories, practitioner convenings, and other research from the practice of a national consultant collaborative known as RoadMap, and offer fresh perspectives to advance the field.
Elsa is Co-Director of RoadMap and a leading member of the Move to End Violence capacity-building initiative. With more than 25 years in nonprofit management, community organizing, public policy analysis and writing, Elsa focuses her firm, Strategies for Social Change, LLC, on services relevant to communities of color and social justice groups. Her practice includes strategic planning, executive coaching and leadership development, team building, transition planning, governance, and advocacy. Elsa is Executive Producer of the Reproductive Justice Toolkit Video Series for reproductive health funders. Previously, Elsa served as Founding Director of Violence Intervention Program, Chief of Staff for Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Senior Policy Analyst for Mayor David Dinkins’ Office on Health Policy. Elsa also served as a Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation trustee. Elsa holds a Juris Doctor from New York University, and Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University, where she graduated in nonprofit management.
Brigette, Principal of Rouson Associates, has led numerous training and planning processes to advance racial equity and cultural competency. Her work includes facilitating national and regional dialogues and managing projects for social change, and playing a pivotal role in numerous capacity-building initiatives. Advancing nonprofit effectiveness toward a just society for over 25 years, her practice includes strategic planning, governance and leadership development, facilitation, training and action research. She has consulted independently and currently through RoadMap Consulting, Maryland Nonprofits; previously through Mosaica, and Management Assistance Group. Brigette managed Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s Cultural Competency Initiative and co-authored the book Embracing Cultural Competency. She directed a $4 million collaborative fund at Ms. Foundation for Women. Brigette graduated from Howard University (B.A.), Georgetown (J.D.), and University of Pennsylvania (M.A. and all courses completed toward Ph.D. in culture and communication).
Elsa Rios, Co-Director and Consultant at RoadMap, talks about how her organization looks at whether Social Justice Organizations practice what they preach when it comes to employee compensation and benefits.