Dr. Albert L Reyes
DEI initiatives in nonprofit organizations include diversifying boards of directors
As more companies explore and should find diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) opportunities, it makes sense that boards of directors should also include a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. However, this can may be a challenge for some businesses. We all know the dreaded “c” word (change) can cause a level of discomfort and fear in people who prefer environments to stay the same. But, if you’re a nonprofit leader, not being open to change is a sure way to ensure a lack of growth or awareness of client needs. Now, I’m not a proponent of changing just to change. I do believe if a process is quality-audited and still performing well, let it work as it should and re-evaluate it regularly to confirm its applicability. However, if a business is doing the same thing and not achieving different results toward its mission and goals, well, then I believe it is time to dive in and strategize new solutions. Continuous improvement helps nonprofit organizations, and those served by them, to succeed.
Buckner International has been in operation since 1879. While our mission is still the same – serving vulnerable children, the way in which we provide services to help children is not the same as it was in the beginning. For example, we started as Buckner Orphan’s Home in Dallas, Texas. Orphanages phased out of the United States many, many years ago, and we now operate throughout multiple locations in Texas and five international countries. Today, we provide foster care and adoption services to find safe and loving homes for vulnerable children. We’ve also added family strengthening programs and services. Change is part of life. We go through different seasons, ups and downs, so it makes practical sense to apply this same logic to operating a nonprofit or evaluating the leadership making or approving decisions that affect the direction.
Recently, I collaborated with other leaders serving on the Forbes Nonprofit Council where we discussed practical ways nonprofit organizations can diversity its boards. I believe relationship-building is key to many aspects of a business but especially of a board that steers a nonprofit down the right path. Blind spots can result without a lack of diversity. Read more about my specific recommendation to the Council.