Community Learning Series: Partnering with Emerging Black and Brown Leaders

Published: October 24, 2022 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

On November 10, the Community Foundation will host an in-person event to reflect on and discuss a recent initiative to partner with emerging Black and Brown leaders.  

The Thrive cohort, launched at the beginning of 2021, is an effort to advance racial equity in Linn County through support for emerging leaders of local nonprofits. Five people were selected to participate, each one a founder or leader of an emerging organization aimed at improving lives in Linn County. Cohort members included Keeyon Carter (Wellington Heights Community Church), Mugisha Gloire (United We March Forward), Leslie Neely (Advocates for Social Justice), Jorel Robinson (Big Bang Foundation), and Bridgette Williams-Robinson (Bridge Under the Bridge).  

Current cohort members have spent the last two years participating in group learning activities to create connection, strengthen nonprofit leadership skills, and explore organizational best practices. In addition to monthly meetings, each organization received quarterly grants of $2,500 for support of the emerging leader and their organization. 

“Establishing a nonprofit organization can be a risky undertaking in the best of times,” said Rochelle Naylor, Senior Program Officer and liaison to the cohort. “During the pandemic, while the nation was coming to terms with a racist past, we needed grassroots organizations more than ever, but the challenges were greater than ever as well. Thrive was a way to support these emerging leaders and their organizations while learning how the Community Foundation can better serve everyone in Linn County.” 

At the event, Mugisha, Keeyon, and Bridgette will reflect on their time with Thrive and how we, as a community, can better support our people and organizations. Tamara Marcus of Advocates for Social Justice will fill in for Leslie.   

Community Foundation staff will also reveal plans for the next iteration of Thrive, which will kick off in early 2023.  

The event will take place on Thursday, November 10, from 4-6 p.m. in the Whipple and Beems Auditoriums at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. It is this year’s final Community Learning Series event, which was created to elevate awareness, generate discussion, and encourage action around issues of broad community importance.  

To register for the event, click here.  

Visit the Nonprofit Giving Center and the Nonprofit Calendar to search for a nonprofit fund, organization, cause, or event to support.