This is the second installment of a 6-part series on lessons from Empower Philanthropy! Annual Conference presented by ABFE-A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities.
By Natasha A. Harrison
Most mornings I ask myself, “What is your bold move today?” It is my accountability question to get me out of my comfort zone to advance my personal mission and the work of CommunityBuild Ventures. On the morning of April 8th, I decided my bold move would be to introduce myself to Melissa V. Harris-Perry.
On April 8th, Melissa V. Harris-Perry delivered a riveting and compelling keynote to start the panel conversation on The Stories We Tell: Shifting Philanthropic Narratives That Render Black Girls Silent during the luncheon plenary. After the keynote and panel discussion, I stayed seated, talking at my table. And not acting on my “bold move.”
Suddenly, one of my tablemates, a nonprofit leader working to increase higher level thinking in girls through chess, lamented that she would like to meet Melissa to share information on her nonprofit. At that moment, I knew I had a responsibility based on the intention I put out in the universe earlier. I jumped up and said, “Come on, we will meet her.”
We quickly charged to the front. But, we missed her. I quickly turned around and saw a crowd near the elevators and said, “She is at the elevator!”
We moved towards Melissa. “Hello, My name is Natasha A. Harrison. It is my pleasure in introducing…they use the game of chess to help girls think more critically. They will be in touch soon.” I slid the one-pager on the nonprofit to Melissa and the nonprofit leader shook Melissa’s hand. And, of course, I got a selfie with her!
Since our meeting on April 8th, the nonprofit leader and I have had email exchanges on effective ways reach out to Melissa. Whether or not she succeeds in getting feedback from Melissa, her future organizational success will depend on how well she gets out of her comfort zone.
We have to Be Bold.
I know it can be a nerve racking, fearful experience to do things out your normal routine. But, if you are in the business of supporting positive impact in a community, you are obligated to get off the sidelines.
WE need you. YOU are important to the collective work. (I am whispering this to myself as well.)
Natasha A. Harrison is founder and president and CEO of CommunityBuild Ventures, LLC. CommunityBuild Ventures provides training, consultation, and coaching services that result in strategic solutions. CB Ventures equips government agencies, businesses and nonprofits to effectively produce sustainable, large-scale social change in African American communities. Follow CommunityBuild Ventures @CBVentures1.