Ep 98: Movements are Like Relay Races (with Frances Kunreuther)

nonprofits are messy

In 1997, when I was hired to lead GLAAD, I understood that I had joined a movement. I also understood that all movements are like relay races. You grab the baton from those who came before you and you hold on tight until it is time for you to pass it.

I grabbed the baton from those who came before me and ran like hell. standing on the shoulders of others who carried the baton long before I had decided to join the race.

My guest today is one of those people.

I’m thrilled to give voice to a passionate change agent; Frances Kunreuther co-directs the Building Movement Project, which works to strengthen U.S. nonprofits as sites of civic engagement and social change.

Frances truly knows what it takes to build a movement. What has to happen inside an organization that wishes to align its social justice values with how it operates in order to reflect the communities they serve, offering them both voice and power. The tools and resources that would be most valuable. The kinds of studies that could be done to give visibility and credence to the challenges faced by the sector that have the potential to thwart social change.

We discuss Race to Lead, a survey from her organization designed to help diagnose and take measures to address the brick wall that people of color often face in organizations.

Frances discusses the value of listening to people (surveys, interviews, case studies), working across organizational boundaries, generations and race in order to exercise the muscles needed for the collective power to create change.

Leadership succession, strategies, resources, distributed leadership and so much more in this episode of Nonprofits are Messy!

About Frances Kunreuther

Frances Kunreuther co-directs the Building Movement Project, which works to strengthen U.S. nonprofits as sites of civic engagement and social change. She is co-author of two books, From the Ground Up: Grassroots Organizations Making Social Change (Cornell, 2006) and Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2009). Frances was a senior fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University for five years and is currently affiliated with the Research Center for Leadership and Action at NYU, where she also teaches. In the 1990s, Frances headed the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ youth and was awarded an Annie E. Casey Foundation Fellowship for this and her previous work with homeless youth and families, undocumented immigrants, crime victims, battered women, and substance users. She writes and presents frequently on issues related to nonprofits, leadership and social change.

In this podcast

  • The origin of the building movement project
  • Strategies for movement building
  • Getting visibility for research studies
  • How did the Building Movement Project come to be?
  • RACE TO LEAD Study from 2016
  • Trends with generational differences in the sector
  • What tools and resources would be most valuable?
  • Is training leaders the answer?
  • How to address racialized barriers
  • When all the best HR policies don’t match how you feel
  • Services and social change
  • Hiring and ED – how long should you keep looking