DonorsChoose CEO: Lots of Inbound Requests? Prioritize Underrepresented Groups

Think about all the people who ask you for advice, particularly the people with whom you share no network connections. How much of a stretch was it for them to reach out to you?

This is the idea behind the latest #IncludeU30 prompt from Charles Best, the CEO of DonorsChoose. Best is our latest “instructor” in the Include U Challenge, raceAhead’s 30-day experiment in crowdsourced tips to help people become more open, curious, and empathetic leaders.

You can learn more about the challenge here.

DonorsChoose was one of the earliest tech companies to successfully funnel crowdsourced support toward the dreams of other people. In this case, the uplift goes to public school teachers who would ordinarily be paying out of pocket for supplies they desperately need. To date, more than $574 million dollars have been raised toward funding 974,000 projects that helped 24 million students.

As a result, Best is a tech and non-profit hero to many. That means he’s had to learn how to prioritize the requests he gets for advice: He makes room in his calendar for talented people who don’t have the kind of network that can naturally give them the coaching they need. “I wish I could say yes to all of them, but given limited bandwidth, I say yes to the subset who’ve written a compelling description of their work and who are underrepresented.”

More about the challenge, DonorsChoose, and Best is here.

On Point

ESPN’s Jemele Hill under fire for calling POTUS a white supremacist on TwitterTo be fair, she said other things too, including sharing her opinion that he was unfit. But her comments caused a predictable backlash, a statement from ESPN and even a scolding from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling for the media company to fire Hill. But to break down what it all means, I direct you (once again) to Viceland’s Desu and Mero, who help put the entire incident into perspective.Desu and Mero

Maybe hit pause on those “how to negotiate” seminars for a hot second
A growing body of research is showing that teaching women to negotiate – the current explanation for the gender wage gap – may not be as helpful as people think. Why? Because it turns out that “low status” men also fail to negotiate. While women do receive backlash for negotiating higher wages for violating implicit expectations of female behavior, low-status men — people who are not “white, college-educated, American candidates for management positions” — in many cases experienced a backlash based on different, but equally damaging stereotypes. The research is complex and worth your time.

Notes on the “black tax”
Jody David Armour, a law professor at the University of Southern California makes the case that the now unemployed Colin Kaepernick has lost his exemption from the “black tax,” the insulated bubble that black people of wealth and status enjoy that give them some sort of relief from the pressures of American life. “The black tax is the price black people pay in their daily encounters because of racial stereotypes,” he says. It’s temporary relief at best. “Wealth and fame evidently did not protect Seattle Seahawks star Michael Bennett from being profiled and subjected to a confrontation at gunpoint by Las Vegas police,” he says. “Nor have my professional degrees and accomplishments shielded me and many other prosperous blacks from racial profiling.” A must read and share.

The Woke Leader

A performance artist once shook the hands of 8,500 sanitation workers to thank them
I’ve long enjoyed the idea of Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s work, which has been described as “a process of participatory democracy that unites people in open dialogue.” It’s a mix of writing, performance, and sculpture, much of which was in service to the idea that valuing the people who maintain our society would be a radical act. Her 1969 Manifesto for Maintenance Art was “a world vision and a call for revolution for the workers of survival who could, if organized, reshape the world.” Then, starting in 1979, she traveled around New York City for a piece called Touch Sanitation, to shake the hands of 8,500 sanitation workers as an acknowledgment of their essential role in the world. She later became an honorary Teamster and an artist-in-residence at the Department of Sanitation.
Broken City Lab

Why are people surprised by Charlottesville?
New York Times contributing writer Claudia Rankin explores the “resurgence” of white supremacy in our modern life by wondering aloud why anyone ever thought it had disappeared. “Was there ever a moment when the persecution of nonwhite Americans wasn’t the norm?” she asks. “Didn’t America elect a presidential candidate with white-nationalist sympathies?” She digs deeply into modern events, from Charlottesville to Dylann Roof, and finds that the systematic erasure of our shared history informs our political life today. “Given that the Republican presidential campaign ran on racial hate, this election ‘outed’ America’s affiliation with white supremacy,” she says.
New York Times

Explore the Humanae Project
Angelica Dass is a Brazilian artist living and working in Madrid. Her Humanae Project is an extraordinary look at the spectrum of color in human skin, deconstructing the idea of race through photo portraits and installations. “The idea is to change how people judge one another,” Dass told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette when she debuted her photos at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. “The words we use to describe each other — black, red, yellow, white — these are so untrue. Let’s destroy this with an exhibit that shows that the true color of people is our humanity. (h/t raceAheader Dave Kipp.)
Angelica Dass


I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.
—Colin Kaepernick

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