Justice and Equity

CNE is committed to justice. Justice demands that all people have equal access to decision-making power and that the people affected by decisions play a meaningful role in making those decisions. But social and institutional structures have excluded many people and groups from decision-making. Therefore, we must actively work against such structures to bring about a more just society. Counteracting the negative effects of historical, systemic oppression (e.g. racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and xenophobia) requires those who have traditionally held positions of power to share power and to support members of traditionally excluded, disempowered groups to take on the roles of decision making. This is the work of equity.

CNE commits itself to the work of equity within the nonprofit sector to strengthen the sector and to contribute to a stronger, more just community. Equity in the nonprofit sector requires a new approach to leadership. This approach should include the education of existing leaders, the creation of pathways to leadership for members of traditionally-excluded groups, and a shift of power from existing leaders to new leaders.  CNE’s specific efforts will include:

  • Creating programming specifically intended to support members of traditionally-excluded groups in their current roles and in their efforts to gain the knowledge and skills to further develop as leaders,
  • Enhancing existing programming to better serve members of traditionally- excluded groups,
  • Better serving grassroots organizations that by their nature ably represent the communities they serve,
  • Advocating for and supporting strategic thinking about how systemic inequities impact each organization’s work, and who best to address such  inequities in a way that is consistent with mission,
  • Providing tools and resources to support boards and staff as they work to creatively and intentionally recruit and retain people from traditionally- excluded groups,
  • Highlighting and celebrating individuals and organizations that are working to address issues of racial, and other structural, inequities within their organizations and through their organizations’ work,
  • Helping to challenge assumptions about what it takes to be a strong leader, and who is well-positioned to provide leadership on boards or staff, and
  • Continuing to be intentional about our efforts to promote equity both within our own organization and across the nonprofit community.


Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are the inevitable outcomes of enacting equity. That is, when people from traditionally- excluded groups are included (i.e. take an active role in) decision-making and when people making decisions represent a more diverse set of backgrounds and identities, we come closer to a more equitable sector. Further,  an increase in the perspectives contributing to strategic discussions leads to better, more community-driven decision-making.