Hello Friends!

It’s Women’s History Month and like many of our celebratory months throughout the year, this is the time when we take pause to honor the dreamers and doers. The 31 days where we honor those women warriors who have come before us to lead the way toward equity and celebrate the torch holders who’ve taken the baton in the fight for justice. 

Just as in years past, today there is no shortage of women leaders and innovators who take their rightful place in spearheading and continuing the movements for change. It is women who have historically been the backbone and at times front and center of significant movements. Now the time has come where we see women of all generations and positions who are working in alliance with each other to lead, innovate and inspire. 

We continue to be inspired by the fortitude, pioneering spirit and grace of Emma Gonzalez, Tuana Burke, Kamala Harris and countless others. This month, we carry the spirit of these dynamic women with us and celebrate efforts for equality of women in media, philanthropy, politics and business. In their honor, we dedicate this month’s spotlight to the changemakers within our collective and those that inspire us. 

We honor and applaud this work, the work that is needed to build a society in which we all belong and are deserving of. In times like these we are reminded of our greatest potential, when we are faced with glimpses of the powerful promise of tomorrow. On behalf of so many who came before and are on the way, thank you for doing the work.

Carry on!
We’re honored to welcome Julie Williams as a new member of the P.S. 314 Field Expert Collective. Julie is Principal of Kirtan Solutions, a consulting firm committed to building high-performing, high impact organizations that work to improve opportunities for others. Julie formally served as an appointee in the Obama Administration and continues her work as a change agent serving as a lead member of the Design Team for the WK Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation initiative, addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Given her expertise in the field and our collective need as citizens to build the bridges toward racial healing, we asked Julie to provide us with some advice in navigating conversations on race in our communities. 

As individuals, we can all play a role in helping to eradicate racism. We can take actions that can affect our families, communities, and ultimately the country as a whole. To do that, it's very important that we first each take time to understand our own unconscious beliefs and biases. Implicit associations we harbor in our subconscious generate feelings and attitudes about others simply based on how we see them or what we think we know about them. These associations develop within us, beginning at a very early age. Start today to unravel your own biases:

  • Ask yourself what stories you believe about the human family? How did that story come to be in your mind and life experience?

  • Begin to understand what you learned about the origin of your family. Was immigration a part of that story? Was your family on this land before it became America?

  • Formulate your own authentic personal story about how you were raised, how you grew up, and when you first experienced racism.

  • Make a commitment to learn about others' personal stories and their understanding of the human family. Stretch yourself to replace these stories with what you previously perceived - moving toward a view of humanity where all share equal value and worth. 
Nonprofit Quarterly recently reported a racial disparity in leadership within the philanthropic and non- profit sectors stating “As the U.S. becomes more diverse, the percentage of people of color in executive roles has remained under 20% over the past 15 years.” This highlights a larger problem within the sector where those leading philanthropic initiatives and programs are often not representative of those being served or impacted. 

Change agents like Tammy Dowley-Blackman, P.S. 314 Field Expert, are leading the way in addressing this issue by providing an accessible pathway for emerging leaders of color. Tammy Dowley-Blackman is the Founder and Principal of tdb group, a consulting firm specializing in organizational and infrastructure development for the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. In addition, she is the Founder and CEO of Looking Forward Lab, LLC, which partners with corporations, educational systems and philanthropic institutions and nonprofit agencies to provide leadership development consulting and training. Their new initiative Leadership Development Training offers virtual courses focuses on understanding the sector, determining personal leadership style and creating an action plan for ongoing work and learning.
Indiewire reports “the lack of diversity in Hollywood has been well documented thanks to #oscarsowhite but the lack of diversity within the documentary world is less talked about.”
Leslie Fields-Cruz is the Executive Director of Black Public Media (BPM formerly National Black Programming Consortium) and one of our client partners building bridges and pipelines for content creators of color, specifically those creating nonfiction stories. A beacon of support for nearly 40 years, BPM has invested in black stories and innovative black storytellers like Stanley Nelson, Julie Dash, and Shola Lynch among others. BPM continues to spearhead the way in investing in these content creators, providing them with experience and support from ideation to distribution. 

P.S. 314 partnered with BPM in 2016 with a focus on developing a stronger infrastructure and diversified revenue base for the institution. BPM’s work with P.S. 314 has resulted in clear systems and processes, a relatable and compelling case for support and defined initiatives that are all aligned with repositioning BPM as the thought and program leader in addressing and creating media strategies.

“There’s a success story happening and it’s taking place right now. A lot of it is due to P.S. 314… If someone else is looking for a similar experience, I really hope that they contact her because I think P.S. 314 is great.” - Leslie Fields-Cruz
More than 40 million Americans are living below the poverty line. This is despite news that the Dow Jones hit a record high in early 2018, an average of 200,000 jobs are being added monthly, and new tax cuts are enabling big businesses to give back to their employees and communities. Jasmine Crowe has seen how poverty and hunger negatively affect both complete strangers and close friends. As the founder of Black Celebrity Giving, she hopes to shine a national spotlight on socioeconomic challenges like poverty, food waste, and hunger, and ultimately foster a level of change that reduces their prevalence. Her philanthropic institution has spawned several additional campaigns and initiatives including Sunday Soul, a feeding initiative that has served over 80,000 homeless people and senior citizens, and Goodr, a software platform that helps redirect surplus food to underserved communities.

They use Goodr similar to how one would use Uber but in this case it’s to request pick-ups of surplus food and redirect it to communities in need. Through Goodr, our clients know how much food they’re wasting. They get to see who’s receiving the food and the impact they’re making on the environment. They also receive tax deductions. Over 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste. And because of us, a lot of people are eating. Nothing’s better than that.”- Jasmine Crowe