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Why Is Nonprofit Leadership So White?

Wednesday, March 3
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

An enduring reality in New York City’s nonprofit human services sector is that the top executive positions at the majority of human services organizations are held by people who identify as white. However, in most cases, these agencies predominantly serve people and communities of color.

The visibility of leaders of color within nonprofit organizations is significant to those organizations’ client communities and staff members, as well as aspiring social work leaders. And while people of color have steadily risen to positions of responsibility within these organizations, CEO, president, and executive director titles seem to elude black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) professionals.

In this panel discussion, a diverse group of nonprofit leaders will explore the factors impacting who holds these positions and identify ways in which agencies must adapt in order to address racial disparities in leadership. Additionally, the discussion will provide the information and next steps needed by schools of social work to inform educational curriculum, and will prepare students to advocate and organize around diversity and representation in nonprofit leadership.


Cristina Contreras, M.S.W., M.P.A., executive director, NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx

Jess Dannhauser, M.S.W., president and CEO, Graham Windham

Damyn Kelly, J.D., Ph.D., president and CEO, Lutheran Social Services of NY

Maria Lizardo, L.M.S.W., executive director, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

Current Fordham Graduate School of Social Service M.S.W. students Shadequa Hampton and Jolisa Beavers will moderate.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.