It Takes a Team: An Intentional Approach to Increasing Black and Latino Innovators in the NewSchools Portfolio
Harris, Crystel S.
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CitationHarris, Crystel S. 2021. It Takes a Team: An Intentional Approach to Increasing Black and Latino Innovators in the NewSchools Portfolio. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
AbstractPhilanthropy plays a significant role in our society, wherein large foundations or individuals with significant wealth identify societal needs and use their financial power to address matters they deem important. Philanthropists wield a great deal of authority in the social sector, identifying pressing issues and influencing who should be leading the work to address those issues. For that reason, it is important to consider who is making these decisions and how they go about making them. Today, White leaders are more frequently funded and allotted larger grants from funders, even to serve large populations of people of color, contributing to the marginalization of those that they often seek to support.
There is an obvious need for more Black and Latino leadership in the education sector, as research has shown that increasing leadership diversity improves student outcomes, spurs innovation, and strengthens organizations. NewSchools Venture Fund (NewSchools) is a national nonprofit that funds education entrepreneurs using a venture philanthropy model. The organization focuses on supporting PreK-12 sector change and believes in the importance of considering who is leading that change, holding the position that people of color must be owners, planners, and decision-makers guiding and remaking all levels of our educational system.
This Capstone outlines the steps I took during my strategic project to support the diversity of leaders within NewSchools’ portfolio of ventures. My goal was to lead a collaborative and data-driven cross-team group, focused on the internal and external work necessary to build sustainable pipelines of Black and Latino entrepreneurs across investment areas. The use of data (quantitative and qualitative), attention to the development of a strong team culture, and an intentional facilitative approach were critical components of my approach to setting a foundation for NewSchools’ continuing work. Along the way, I also consider implications for my own leadership and DEI journey, as well as the philanthropic sector at large.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370276