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Charter Board Partners

CBP Named to DEI Expert Hub

April 12, 2018 | by Lucy Castillo

Education organizations looking to start or strengthen their work in diversity, equity, and inclusion have a new resource in the recently created DEI Expert Hub, a ”matchmaking” service that connects organizations with experts who can help them start or grow their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Charter Board Partners is proud to be one of the organizations named to the Hub and to have the opportunity to share our expertise and experience in DEI work at the board governance level.

Lucy Castillo

The DEI Expert Hub, created by Catalyst:Ed for NewSchools Venture Fund, is intended to help education leaders  who want to take action in these areas but are looking for support in getting started or moving to the next level. Organizations can submit a short description of their proposed project and then are matched with expert organizations, which can submit proposals to support the projects.
Our work with charter school boards and the boards of other education nonprofits in Denver, Florida, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere around the country has convinced us of the need for the Hub. And we’re thrilled that Catalyst:Ed and NSVF have made board governance one of the focus areas for this work. Boards are absolutely part of the leadership of public charter schools. They are accountable for the success—or failure—of a school and are responsible for executing oversight and supporting a school’s leader.
Yet nonprofit boards, including those of public charter schools, are typically not very diverse when it comes to race, ethnicity, and background. This is a critical problem in the sector, given that boards set the tone, policy, and expectations for DEI issues throughout an organization. CBP’s presence in the DEI Expert Hub signals to board members and to the sector as a whole—that boards must be considered as both part of the problem, and part of the solution.
“I’m excited about the depth and range of expertise represented by the many specialists who answered the call to join the DEI Expert Hub network,” said Frances Messano, Managing Partner at NewSchools, and also a board member of Charter Board Partners. “CBP brings unique experience as the only nonprofit in the country dedicated to improving board effectiveness for school and education nonprofit boards.”

Interested in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in your organization? The DEI Expert Hub is a newly launched online platform by Catalyst:Ed to help education leaders learn how to advance DEI across their organizations and connect with specialists who can help them. The DEI Expert Hub is funded by NewSchools Venture Fund.

Our experience working with boards throughout the country—from those that haven’t even opened a school yet, to more “grownup” boards looking to their first or second charter renewal—has given us lots of real success stories and some unnerving cautionary tales, too. Lack of attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion on boards and in organizational leadership can lead to lots of other problems that might not be immediately evident, such as issues of school culture and challenges in attracting and retaining top talent.
We advise school boards to always make diversity, equity, and inclusion a central element of their planning and strategy. It is tied to better decisions and better outcomes for students, and it protects the school from sometimes unpredictable and challenging problems.
Recent national events and discussion have increased attention to this conversation, and we want to “lengthen its moment in the spotlight,” to make sure that DEI isn’t just a temporarily popular buzz phrase but rather an ongoing conversation about how to make organizations better, stronger, higher quality, and more accountable. We’re pretty excited to play a role and to be a part of the DEI Expert Hub.


Lucy is Chief Governance and Equity Officer at Charter Board Partners

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