NEWS: A racial reckoning at nonprofits: Black women demand better pay, opportunities

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NEWS: A racial reckoning at nonprofits: Black women demand better pay, opportunities

Categories: Blog, News

By  Sydney Trent | July 11, 2021| The Washington Post

“The racial and gender gaps were brought home to Monica Gray at a recent meeting of nonprofit chief executives that she attended. A White woman began complaining about the size of her bonus, said Gray, 58, chief executive of the National Capitol Area YWCA since 2017.

I was like, ‘Bonus?’ .?.?. I was honestly blindsided by it,” Gray said.

Later, in a gathering of about 15 Black female nonprofit chief executives, Gray said she asked whether any of them had ever received bonuses. None of them had.

“It was such a stark difference between two groups that essentially did the same work. .?.?. It made me so sad,” she said.

Gray had entered the nonprofit sector after receiving her MBA at Northwestern University and a quick turn as a management consultant for a corporation. She wanted to marry her degree with her passion for social justice, she said, a common experience among the Black female nonprofit workers interviewed by The Post. Some reported growing up in poverty themselves or otherwise being intimately familiar with the challenges in the communities they serve.

Despite Gray’s success, she believes the labor of Black women is often taken for granted.

The work of nonprofits “was work that women, and particularly Black women, had always done, and unfortunately, we did it for free,” Gray said. “There is this idea that we should do the work for the ‘right reasons’ and not expect compensation….”

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