Our Ventures are Diversifying Education

March 17, 2017

Two of our ventures were busy last weekend, working to #DiversifyEd at an event they co-hosted in Boston.  Latinos for Education(L4E) has recruited 11 fellows to participate in the first annual cohort of the Latino Board Fellows program, and Charter Board Partners joined L4E in organizing a day-long training event to kick off the program.

The fellowship will help to prepare these Latino education leaders to join the boards of prominent Boston-based education nonprofits, including charter schools, charter management organizations, and education policy and advocacy organizations.  Check out their blog, re-posted below, to learn more about the effort:

Eleven talented Latino leaders spent last Saturday participating in a full day of training to help prepare them to join the boards of prominent Boston-based education nonprofits, including charter schools, charter management organizations, and education policy and advocacy organizations.

Charter Board Partners and Latinos for Education organized the event to kick off the inaugural cohort of L4E’s Latino Board Fellows Program. L4E recruited the 11 Fellows, and the two organizations are working together to:

  • Train the Fellows in how to be effective board members, and
  • Match each Fellow to a board where his/her skills, experience, and perspective are not currently represented.

This program is core to L4E’s mission: creating leadership pathways for Latino education leaders, as the nation’s first Latino-founded and Latino-led organization working to identify and place Latino leaders in education.

“Leading from your identity allows you to be authentic,” said Amanda Fernandez, CEO of L4E. “This theme is central to both the Latino Board Fellows Program and the work across our entire organization. We were gratified to hear the fellows share their own stories with us and with each other, stories that directly connect them to education board service and the students we serve.”

“The energy in the room during the kick off training was inspiring,” said Carrie Irvin, co-founder and CEO of Charter Board Partners. “The Fellows brought a palpable sense of purpose and a generosity of spirit that elevated the content of the day and brought the cohort together in a way that will make each of them a stronger board member.  We applaud L4E for bringing these talented leaders, and strong Latino representation, into the crucial work of education reform.”

The group heard from CEOs and board members of Boston-based education organizations, who shared some of the challenges of leading schools in underserved communities. They talked about how bringing their own perspectives as Latinos helped them strengthen the boards on which they serve.

CBP and L4E are partnering around our shared belief that board diversity is essential if education organizations are to fulfill their critical missions and effectively serve students and families of color. Less than 4% of education nonprofit boards have Latinos represented on them – yet 25% of public school students in the U.S. identify as such. There is an untapped wealth of Latino leadership ready to give their time, treasure, and talent to boards, yet they have limited opportunity to access these leadership opportunities. And education nonprofits have a hard time reaching these talented individuals. Our partnership makes these important connections possible, and provides a pathway for Latino professionals to make important contributions to education as board members.

Participants said they loved the “real conversations” among and with panelists, and the identity work. They appreciated the overview and training on the role of effective boards.

“I left Saturday’s session feeling uniquely inspired, not only because of the robust sessions and speakers but because the information came from Latinos like me,” said Rossemary Calderon. “Individuals with similar struggles and experiences, all who had overcome such challenges and are intelligent, caring individuals eager to pass on all that they have learned. I couldn’t have asked for a better set of people to look up to.”

In addition to providing six months of governance training and a robust cohort experience for these future board members, L4E and CBP will provide support to the partner organizations in the Boston area; these education nonprofits are committed to building diverse and inclusive boards, and participating in this program will provide them with resources, information, opportunities for discussion, and connection to one another to support these important efforts. L4E and CBP look forward to the opportunity to help these organizations strengthen and diversify their boards through this exciting and innovative program.