Community development unites people to take collective action to build stronger, more resilient places to live. Its roots are embedded in the backyards, living rooms, and church halls of people who, out of sheer will and perseverance, found ways to advocate for change in their neighborhoods. Over time, though, the field of community development has shifted from grassroots movements to the careers of specialized professionals. This shift has led to less racial diversity across the field and too few people of color in decision-making positions, leading to laws, policies, and practices that have perpetuated white supremacy—delivering excessive privilege to whites while disadvantaging Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
Championing Leaders of Color reflects an effort to uncover and disrupt the systems that perpetuate racial inequity in the communities we serve and the organizations where we work. Through this work, we aim to identify tactical strategies to promote equitable leadership in the field of community development where leaders of color are welcomed, supported, and equipped to succeed in advancing their careers as well as their organizations' missions.
This report presents findings from a national survey distributed to stakeholders in the community development field, provides insights into data and trends gleaned from responses, and deliberates implications for leaders in, funders to, and supporters of the community development field to consider in service of equitable results. This work takes a narrow focus specific to community development and identifies barriers to equitable leadership opportunities while offering reparative solutions.