Informative. Relevant. Inspiring.

Over 100 leaders registered for this critical discussion, and those who attended left with strong, viable takeaways.

When polled about cross sector racial equity efforts, attendees revealed that 37% were cautiously optimistic, but 64% were dissatisfied, frustrated or overwhelmed and 0% were satisfied. So, we still have a long way to go. Learning from those who have successfully initiated change is a helpful place to start. Our panelists shared their experiences and knowledge, addressing philanthropy, board diversity, onboarding processes, creating a true anti-racist culture, and more.

Michael talked about how racism is entrenched in predominantly white institutions because they’ve been built by and for white people. “You can’t change that with a revised policy, a new program or simply adding a DEI position, committee or person of color to the board,” advises Michael. He goes on to share 6 steps his organization took to change its inherent culture.

Hugo talked about how his organization responded when called out on being racist and what steps they took to change their culture. “The process is not easy. It’s messy and uncomfortable, and that’s what it takes to make change.” He adds, “The most important thing is to listen.”

Dekonti talked about how she helped shift the philanthropy focus of her organization by choosing to invest in Harbor Bank, the largest Black bank in Maryland. “In spite of push back from our philanthropic communities, JP Morgan Chase Global Philanthropy has invested over $1 million in Harbor Bank and now supports Black banks around the country.”

Those who attended the event got a special bonus—Michael shared his onboarding anti-racist packet, a comprehensive, curated learning guide for staff and board members.

Recording available for a limited time!

If you weren’t able to attend, we encourage you to listen to the recording. Learn from our panelists' experienced-based wisdom about how to initiate and strengthen an anti-racist culture in your organization.

3rd Change Makers Panel, April 29, 2021
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We also recommend Hugo Mogollon's follow-up blog: Lessons I Learned In Creating A More Equitable Organization

Panel of Change Makers

Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council

"Born and raised in DC, I live in Cambridge, Massachuetts now. I started my theatrical career in the 1st grade playing Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and continued pursuing the arts at Gonzaga High School, college and trade schools in the late 1900’s, studying music, dance and theatre. I am newlywed to my husband Steve, and we are fathers to our 19-year-old son, Sang, who was adopted at 8 months from Vietnam. I am the brother of 7 siblings and (don't tell them) pretty sure I’m the favorite child of Dorothy and James. My ancestry is predominantly black, but also includes white and indigenous ancestors. I am an arts leader, educator, playwright, director, choreographer, arts and anti-racist advocate."

A director, choreographer and playwright, Michael is also an exceptional leader and a past EXCEL Award winner. He served as the Artistic Director at the Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland for twelve years, piloting the organization into a respected theatre/training company in the DC region, as well as a nationally influential professional Theatre for Young Audiences. He led a merger with Musical Theater Center, increased the organizational budget and audience, commissioned new works by noted playwrights, transferred two shows to Off-Broadway, built an academy, and earned dozens of Helen Hayes Award Nominations, garnering eight wins.

Michael gained experience in nonprofit arts management by training at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, The National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, and Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program. He has served as an Associate Professor of Theatre at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and volunteered on numerous nonprofit boards, including Non-Profit Village, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, Leadership Montgomery, Weissberg Foundation, Watertown Public Art Commission, and ArtsBoston. On February 1, 2021 he joined Mass Cultural Council as Executive Director, becoming the highest-ranking cultural official in Massachusetts, but still remains involved with the DC region.

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