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Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap in Central Texas

In this episode of The Black Experience in Austin, we will talk with Sean Thomas Brietfeld, co-Director of the Building Movement Project, and co-author of Race to Lead Revisited: Obstacles and Opportunities in Addressing the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap and the recently released The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap in Central Texas: A Race to Lead Brief and Ofronama Biu, Senior Research Associate and the writer of the Central Texas report.

The Race to Lead Revisited Report focuses on “three key findings that challenge individual organizations and the sector at large to move toward greater equity and inclusion: (1) The findings of the original Race to Lead report are still relevant three years later; (2) There is a white advantage in the nonprofit sector; and (3) Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts are widespread and their effectiveness is uncertain.”

In The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap in Central Texas: A Race to Lead Brief, the inequality in Central Texas is made clear: “The findings in this report are of particular interest given the stark inequalities that characterize the Central Texas area. Austin and its surrounding areas—like many parts of the South—have a long history of racial segregation and discrimination against Black and Latinx residents. While Austin has experienced a technology boom in recent decades, this economic growth has not extended to the region’s communities of color. Austin is the only “high growth” city whose Black population is on the decline, and its Black and Latinx residents are being pushed to the city’s outskirts where they contend with precarious access to jobs and quality schools.”

Sean Thomas Breitfeld's Bio

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld co-directs the Building Movement Project, with a special focus on BMP’s work on service and social change. Prior to joining theBMP staff, Sean spent a decade working in various roles at the Center for Community Change (CCC). At CCC, he developed training programs for grassroots leaders, worked in CCC’s communications and policy departments where he coordinated online and grassroots advocacy efforts, and lobbied on a range of issues, including immigration reform, transportation equity, and anti-poverty programs. Before joining the center, Sean worked as a policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza, where he focused on employment and income security issues. Sean holds a Master’s in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and a bachelor’s degree in social work and multicultural studies from St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Ofronama Biu's Bio

As senior research associate, Ofronama works on national projects focused on leadership, includingRace to Lead reports, service and social change, and movement building. She also works on place-based projects in Detroit and New Mexico. Previously, Ofronama was a senior research associate at the NYC Labor Market Information Service at the CUNY Graduate Center where she directed research projects on trends impacting the social services and middle-skill healthcare workforce. Ofronama has over 10 years’ experience in higher education and nonprofit organizations. Her experience includes project management, program evaluation, partnership building, employer engagement, and direct service to participants. She co-founded a nonprofit organization that connects youth to media professionals for skills-building and mentoring opportunities. Ofronama is a Ph.D. candidate at the Milano School of International Affairs,Management, and Urban Policy at The New School. Her research interests include labor market and workforce development policies and racial stratification. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the NYU College of Arts and Science and a Masters of Public Administration from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

Helpful Links & Resources
Sean Thomas Breitfeld

Sean Thomas Breitfeld

co-Director of Race to Lead, Building Movement Project

Ofronama Biu

Ofronama Biu

Senior Research Associate and the writer of the Central Texas report

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