Two women who led high-profile local nonprofits are launching a new business to help organizations learn and grow while dealing with one of the biggest challenges of our time. Here’s their announcement:
Erin Dury (left), former Executive Director of the West Seattle Helpline, and Nancy Woodland (right), former Executive Director of WestSide Baby, are partnering in support of nonprofit excellence and learning. With a combined 35 years working within the nonprofit sector throughout the Pacific Northwest, Erin and Nancy have created Ampersand Community, LLC to harness what each loved most and what each saw as opportunities for organizations and people serving communities, making a difference, connection and learning.
“Nonprofits are powerful vehicles for change. With that power also comes the responsibility to surface systemic inequities that create the situations of need in the first place,” shares Erin Dury. “I am committed to anti-racism in my daily life and believe the nonprofit community both addresses and upholds a culture that fails to center the voices the sector is meant to serve. Community voices are rarely part of the solutions, rather mostly-white leadership come in to save” and make decisions in isolation.”
Ampersand Community is grounded in a Both/And mindset. Nonprofits and the people who run them are amazingly impactful and can also cause unintended, but real, harm. Organizations can create new strategic plans, explore mergers, start new programs, and can do it better by including additional voices. The Both/And mindset is foundational to creating active and engaging spaces to fuel lasting impact, powered by the communities served.
Ampersand Community will provide training, connection and support to nonprofits looking to excel in all aspects, from internal culture to program design and advocacy. “I was so fortunate as an executive director to have a board and co-workers who understood the importance of training and professional development. The skill of consultants, candidness of colleagues of color, and space to make mistakes influenced my leadership more than anything else,” shares Nancy Woodland. “Whether considering where to spend money, how to shift board cultures, or provide basic needs, I believe leaders, staff, boards, volunteers and even supporters must engage in personal learning that can create lasting change. It’s not enough to simply do a board development or anti-racism training and it is also okay to start small as a first step. Both/And.”
After leading WestSide Baby through distribution of millions of diapers, car seats, and clothes, Nancy stepped away as Executive Director in December 2019. After several years as Executive Director at Oregon CASA Network, Erin led the West Seattle Helpline through a successful merger with the West Seattle Food Bank and stepped aside in February 2020. Both enter this work to answer the call of Black, Indigenous and Person of Color (BIPOC) colleagues and friends for white folks to lean in and do better. We will be engaging with incredible BIPOC advisers and consultants as well as white allies throughout our work and continued journey.
Community of Practice Cohorts geared to white leaders of nonprofit organizations interested in centering anti-racism are available now. BIPOC folks are always welcome, though we don’t ever want to give the impression that the often very frustrating work of organizing white people should be put on BIPOC folks non-voluntarily.
Their contact info is here.