Black Women Leaders in Philanthropy
Black women have always been critical to the functioning of communities, organizations, and society. Because of the critical and intersectional lens they bring to how they navigate the world and understanding of what it takes to manifest a society in which we all flourish, we are inspired by the rise in numbers of Black women leaders, particularly in philanthropy. It is also true that we are seeing a number of Black women leave executive roles to pursue their own ventures or other better-aligned opportunities.
In the past, we have made space to talk about #PhilanthropySoWhite and explored the journey of confronting whiteness from the perspectives of white leaders. We are ready to flip the script, to change the tune by centering the voices, experiences, leadership, and liberation dreams of Black women who occupy senior leadership roles in philanthropy.
This is a conversation for everyone and is a space for all who are committed to manifesting a world in which equity and justice are centered– a society in which we all thrive. Join us for a powerful and insightful discussion facilitated by Nellie Mae’s interim President and CEO, Dr. Gislaine N. Ngounou, with Morgan Dawson, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Threshold Philanthropy, Dr. Charmaine Mercer, Chief of Equity and Culture, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Dr. Teresa C. Younker, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women as panelists.
Co-CEO @Threshold Philanthropy
Morgan Dawson is from Southern California, but from the age of 14 until she went off to college she lived in Houston, Texas. She thrived with the support of the web of friends and neighbors her mom built and her access to programs. In Texas, the school system provided students with a late bus, so that all students could participate in after-school activities and still have a safe ride home. It was through the after-school bus program and other examples of community care that Morgan realized how small changes could change the course of someone’s life. Now as Co-CEO at Threshold Philanthropy, Morgan is guided by her lived experience. She wants to change the experience for other Black women as well as her own. She wants to make space for the people that this country fails. Her goal is not simply to make philanthropy better, but to create communities that are welcoming and fruitful for everyone.
Chief of Equity and Culture @William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Charmaine Mercer is the chief of Equity and Culture at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She helps identify, shape, and promote practices, programming, and grantmaking which deepen diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging while advancing racial justice. She also helps drive the foundation’s $150 million racial justice grantmaking fund. Previously, Charmaine was a program officer in the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program. She has also held senior-level positions with the Learning Policy Institute and the Alliance for Excellent Education and worked on Capitol Hill, including as a senior staffer for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. She is on the board of Grantmakers for Education, serves as an advisory board member of the Black Female Project, and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Charmaine received her Ph.D. in politics and education policy from Claremont Graduate University.
Interim President and CEO @Nellie Mae Education Foundation
Gislaine N. Ngounou is the interim President and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. She has worked at multiple levels of the education sector including nonprofits, schools, and school districts. Before joining the Foundation, she served as the Chief Program Officer for Phi Delta Kappa International, a professional organization for educators. In this role, she designed and led programs that supported school district leaders, provided leadership coaching around issues of equity and social justice, and created and facilitated a community of practice that allowed system-level leaders in districts from across the country to learn from one another. These days, she is also currently learning how to rest and cultivate unapologetic joy.
President and CEO @Ms. Foundation for Women
Teresa C. Younger is an activist, advocate, renowned public-speaker, organizational strategist, and a proven leader in the philanthropic and policy sectors. Having spent over 20 years on the frontlines of some of the most critical battles for comprehensive equity and the elimination of institutionalized oppression, she now serves as the President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women. Prior to joining the Ms. Foundation for Women, Younger served as the executive director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and as executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut – the first African American and the first woman to hold that position. Within the philanthropic sector Younger serves on initiatives to shape and change the narrative of women and girls, including Women’s Funding Network, Grantmakers for Girls of Color, Funders for Reproductive Equity, Philanthropy New York and Black Girls Freedom Fund.