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Nonprofit summit to address racial equity

Staff Report //February 25, 2020//

Nonprofit summit to address racial equity

Staff Report //February 25, 2020//

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A summit featuring national experts and S.C. nonprofit leaders will address issues related to race March 4-6 in Columbia.

A 2019 gathering of South Carolina’s nonprofit leaders ranked racial equity as the most important issue to address in the future, according to a news release from Together SC, a state nonprofit advocacy and education organization. Facing Race Together: 2020 Nonprofit Summit is a response to that finding.

The summit, to be held at the Marriott in downtown Columbia, will feature more than 30 breakout sessions and discussions led by national and regional experts on racial equity, bias and the role of role.

“There have been conferences about diversity, inclusion and equity, but none specifically focusing on racial equity and the impact it has on the work of nonprofits and their leaders in South Carolina,” said Madeleine McGee, president of Together SC, in the release. “It is important for us, as the only organization solely dedicated to advancing S.C.’s nonprofit leaders, to be a catalyst for transformation and a resource for nonprofit volunteers and professional leaders. Our aim is to meet them wherever they are in their journey to address racial equity in their personal and organizational work.”

Together SC hosts an annual Allies for Good nonprofit gathering which brings together 600 to 750 leaders each year.  Melanie Huggins, Richland Library executive director, and Sherrie Snipes, Charleston Promise Neighborhood CEO, are co-chairs for the 2020 nonprofit summit.

“Nonprofits and their partners are often on the front lines of trying to address, through their service delivery, inequities in health, education, housing and financial opportunity that exist for many South Carolinians,” Huggins said. “Barriers to prosperity and wellness exist today because of years of systemic racism. For anyone working to make South Carolina better, Facing Race Together will provide tools for individuals, organizations and communities wanting to have an honest dialogue about our past and taking action to improve our shared future.”

The summit's opening keynote speech will be delivered by Jennifer Eberhardt, author of the 2019 book Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do.

“As a native South Carolinian and a nonprofit leader of color for over 20 years, I welcome opportunities to see more leaders who look like me and look forward to the day when more of us are regarded as valuable in leading systems change,” Snipes said. “Far more focus is placed on minorities as receivers of services and their deficits, rather than as leaders in developing community solutions. It’s time we changed that, and I feel this year’s nonprofit summit will help all of us do so.”