Issues of Race and Representation in Working with U.S. Minority Populations: An Examination of a National Youth-serving Nonprofit

By Mariko Lockhart.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Issues of race often percolate below the surface of discussions on student outcomes, poverty, the economy, crime, the justice system, and the myriad of concerns affecting the missions of youth serving organizations. Communities In Schools, one of the ten largest such organizations in the U.S. serves primarily children and youth of color in its work to reduce dropouts. In the communities where this work is carried out, reflective of the nation at large, children of color experience the day-to-day realities of discrimination, lowered expectations and negative stereotypes that affect their ability to succeed in school and in life. This paper presents data gathered from the organization’s national network on the racial demographics of leadership and staff at the state, local and national levels, as well as information about the race-related issues faced by the organization at each of these levels. Understanding the network’s racial make up is fundamental for the organization to take measure of itself as a nonprofit seeking racially equitable solutions for its clients and racially diverse and culturally competent leadership and staff. The qualitative research used to uncover and explore existing issues and concerns about race gathers information from practitioners that can be analyzed and used to improve the work of drop out prevention and begins the sometimes difficult dialogue on race within the organization. This paper presents principal findings and recommendations for further action.

Keywords: Race, Racial Representation, Youth, Youth Development, Diversity, Dropout Prevention, Structural Racism, Organizational Development

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.125-136. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 659.421KB).

Mariko Lockhart

Robert H.B. Baldwin Fellow, Robert H.B. Baldwin Fellows Program, Communities In Schools, Seattle, WA, USA

Mariko Lockhart is an experienced non-profit executive, consultant, facilitator and trainer. She recently completed a yearlong research project as a Robert H.B. Baldwin Fellow, examining the role of race in the work of Communities In Schools, one of the ten largest youth serving organizations in the U.S. In her prior position as President & State Director of Communities In Schools of New Jersey (CISNJ), she was responsible for the overall strategic planning and administration of the statewide organization focused on connecting needed community resources with schools to help young people succeed. During her tenure, CISNJ developed a nationally recognized youth arts training program that won the prestigious Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She has coordinated the efforts of various coalitions of diverse public and private institutions and communities to successfully achieve shared goals. Mariko is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University and holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Mariko also completed the Leading for the Future Executive Education Programs at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Aspen Institute’s Racial Equity and Youth Development Leadership Seminar.


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