The Center for Nonprofit Advancement proudly celebrates Black History Month, 2024. We honor the diverse spectrum of African American heritage and emphasize the critical imperative to safeguard and uphold the legacies of both contemporary and historical figures who exemplify black excellence.

While we rightfully commemorate the iconic leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, it’s equally important to recognize the unsung heroes and heroines whose stories often go untold. Bayard Rustin, a pivotal architect of the civil rights movement whose role in organizing the historic March on Washington deserves a prominent place in our collective memory. Fannie Lou Hamer, a fearless activist who valiantly fought for voting rights in the face of overwhelming adversity, exemplifies the courage and resilience from which we can draw inspiration.

As we honor the past, we also direct our gaze towards the present and future, highlighting individuals who are actively empowering the Black community today. Figures such as Ava DuVernay, a visionary filmmaker using her platform to challenge societal norms and amplify underrepresented voices; Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, an acclaimed author and scholar whose work on antiracism inspires critical dialogue and action; and Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, whose tireless efforts have empowered survivors and transformed cultural narratives. These contemporary figures, among many others, exemplify the resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to progress that define the ongoing legacy of Black excellence.

As Black History Month comes to a close, the Center reaffirms its commitment to initiatives that reflect the values of black liberation and shine a light on those whose work empowers the black community. The inaugural Chief Executive Leaders Ascend Program (CELAP), sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, is a comprehensive initiative designed to empower and support Black women nonprofit leaders in District of Columbia Wards 7 & 8. The program is dedicated to grantmaking, enhancing individual and organizational capabilities, and promoting overall wellness. Additionally, the Annual Change Makers panel discussion serves as a platform to honor the accomplishments of women in color in the nonprofit sector, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas and stories. 

As we bid farewell to this year’s Black History Month celebrations, let us carry forward the spirit of resilience, innovation, and progress exemplified by the countless individuals, both past and present, who have shaped and continue to shape the legacy of Black excellence. Together, let us continue the journey towards a future where every voice is heard, every story is valued, and every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

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