CLA Helps Open Dialogue on Equity and Succession in Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
Minneapolis, Minnesota — A wide cross-section of community leaders took a giant first step toward transfering financial knowledge and leadership to a more diverse and inclusive nonprofit sector at the inaugural meeting of Succession Plan for the Sector (SPS), October 9 at the Center for Economic Inclusion in downtown St. Paul.
This broad-based initiative is being launched to increase the number and influence of well-prepared, fully-supported, and broadly-connected finance professionals who are persons of color, indigenous persons, and persons from emerging immigrant communities. The steering committee guiding this process will take steps toward developing an equitable, inclusive succession plan for future nonprofit financial leadership in the Twin Cities area.
Proudly co-facilitated by CLA and fiscally sponsored by the Center for Economic Inclusion, SPS has received initial seed-funding from the CLA Foundation, with requests pending at a number of other prominent foundations in the area.
“Many of the nonprofit organizations, businesses, and institutions that work in and with communities of color, immigrants, and indigenous communities are themselves not representative of the communities they serve,” said Curtis Klotz, CLA’s director of nonprofit innovation. “We are envisioning a new leadership trajectory through a large-scale, coordinated effort to attract, support, mentor, and sustain people of color and indigenous persons who choose to enter the nonprofit finance field.”
The October 9 meeting was the first of six that will take place over the next six months. Among the initiatives to be considered by the steering committee:
- Engaging and encouraging high school youth to pursue a career in nonprofit accounting and finance.
- Integrating nonprofit coursework and case studies into existing business and accounting curricula.
- Coaching, mentoring, and cohort learning programs to support people of color and indigenous persons in their education and professionally.
- Connecting students and professionals with job opportunities, apprenticeships, and ongoing professional development.
- Addressing systemic barriers to racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in advancement and career development.
SPS steering committee members include: Bo Thao-Urabe, Coalition of Asian American Leaders; Leo Lopez, Latino Chamber of Commerce; Vanan Murugesan, Pillsbury United Communities; Sabrina Johnson and Orlando Bryant, National Association of Black Accountants — Twin Cities; Marcus Owens, African American Leadership Forum; Ellen Walthour, The Brand Lab; Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment; Shétu Rose, Center for Economic Inclusion; Mary LaGarde, Minneapolis American Indian Center; and Nonoko Sato, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Racial equity is an operating value of this effort, which includes compensating participating persons of color and indigenous persons, and their organizations, for contributing their time and experience to the steering committee process.
“While CLA continues to advance its own internal diversity and inclusion efforts, we also see an important role for businesses and institutions to address the broader community need for equitable leadership transition in finance and accounting,” said Denny Schleper, CLA’s CEO. “CLA is taking an innovative approach to community engagement in the Twin Cities area. We are helping to convene and support leaders from a wide range of civic, cultural, and business groups as they apply their perspectives and experience to this challenge. One of CLA’s values is to create opportunities for our communities and we are grateful for the wonderful community leaders we partner with in the process.”
CLA has one of the largest nonprofit practices in the country, with more than 7,000 clients in every nonprofit sector: social service and religious organizations, foundations, associations and membership organizations, independent schools, and higher education institutions.
Pictured left to right: Thomas Toley, The Brand Lab; Leo Lopez, Old National Bank, Latino Chamber of Commerce; Bo Thao-Urabe (seated), Coalition of Asian American Leaders; Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment; Shétu Rose, Center for Economic Inclusion; Marcus Owens (seated), African American Leadership Forum; Mary LaGarde, Minneapolis American Indian Center; Curtis Klotz, CLA; Vanan Murugesan, Pillsbury United Communities; Nonoko Sato (seated), Minnesota Council of Nonprofits; Orlando Bryant, National Association of Black Accountants — Twin Cities; Tawanna Black, Center for Economic Inclusion
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