Moving Forward with AFP GDC

Like many of you, we cried when we saw the video of George Floyd's murder. Like many of you, we cried when we saw the video of George Floyd's murder. 

We know that you have participated in frank discussions about race and prejudice and your work might even be focused on addressing these issues.  But no discussion could make these complex issues as clear as watching George Floyd plea for his mother while suffering at the hands of those sworn to protect our community.  

The Board of Directors of the Greater Detroit Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals is outraged by the killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, and we demand justice and reform. Their lives mattered. Black Lives Matter.

We acknowledge that systemic racism has been part of our country’s history for generations, and we have not done enough to dismantle it in meaningful ways. We need to and will educate ourselves, and we are taking immediate steps to be the change we want to see and be more diverse as a chapter.
We have never been more proud to be fundraisers, to be associated with the nonprofit sector, and to be charged to lead this chapter of AFP.   While we have witnessed heroism and unprecedented cooperation across our community, we are also reminded of an important, often overlooked, fact that crises and disasters, like much in life, disproportionately affect black and brown people.  We are witnessing a staggering difference in the impact of Covid-19 on African American members of our community that raises important questions about racial equity and social justice, right here in southeast Michigan. 

Issues of racial equality and social justice have always been important to our profession.  Nationally and locally, the Association of Fundraising Professionals made commitments to advancing diversity, inclusion, equity and access many years ago. But our results have fallen short.  They seem especially inadequate today.
We know that our efforts to improve diversity and impact social change will seem small in comparison to the scope of the problems we face as a country, but we commit to being part of the solution.
We can also promise you that nonprofits will be at the center of these solutions. The organizations that we work for may not all have a formal mission of racial or social justice, but we all can make a positive impact on the issues each day.  Our past efforts were not enough, and we must do and expect more.
We are, sadly, only at the beginning of this discussion.  But your local chapter has initially identified three ways that we can strengthen our own impact:

  • We will host dialogues on race led by nonprofit leaders and fundraisers of color. This effort will be led by our Committee on Inclusion, Diversity Equity and Access (IDEA), but we will also reach out to bring even more voices to this discussion.
  • We will utilize our experience and resources to help nonprofits successfully recruit more diverse governing boards, executive leadership, fundraisers and volunteers.  We will immediately begin to develop these as part of our professional development and other resources for members and local nonprofits.
  • We will redouble our efforts to recruit and support fundraising professionals of color.  It's also not enough to simply increase the entry to the profession, we must identify opportunities to better support a more diverse membership in their career growth and success.
The AFP-GDC Board of Directors is committed to these goals. Each one of our board members, as well as our chapter, stand with victims of violence, discrimination, and prejudice. We stand with those in Minneapolis, Houston and here in Detroit.  We will redouble our own efforts to ask how we can help advance solutions and be champions for racial equality and social justice. 

Together, we will do better.  

Stephen C. Ragan
Executive Vice President, Hope Network and President, AFP Greater Detroit Chapter
(248) 872-6900

Sommer Brock, CFRE
Director of Development, Horizons - Upward Bound at Cranbrook Schools and President-Elect, AFP Greater Detroit Chapter
(248) 645-3137