Leading with Our Values!

How does an individual, a team, a board of directors, or an entire organization lead to fulfill its values and goals? 

The most effective organizations lead by being rooted in their shared values.  In 2017, Philanthropy West Virginia adopted six defined values for its work and mission fulfillment.  These values include: Inclusion, Leadership, Collaboration, Lifelong Learning, Integrity, and Advancing West Virginia.

Most recently, our board of directors and staff annual planning session discussed and identified ways for us to live and lead with these values more actively. This blog post focuses on our first value of Inclusion.

When you think of the word philanthropy, there are several definitions: generosity, giving of one’s wealth for the betterment of the community, and love of humanity are just a few. Philanthropy WV’s leadership value of Inclusion is directly linked to “the love of humanity” definition of philanthropy.

In February, our board and staff had a thoughtful and purposeful presentation, discussion, and took action steps for us as philanthropy, citizens, and leaders around Inclusiveness and Diversity.  Thanks to our board member and President & CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Dr. Michelle Foster who presented on “Leadership & Workforce Diversity in Philanthropy”.

Dr. Foster’s presentation highlighted how philanthropy can do better to be aware of the history and how we can shape a brighter and broader future. Dr. Foster’s presentation added to Philanthropy WV’s learning the past few years in raising the importance of diversity and inclusion in philanthropy.  Since 2017, diversity and inclusion is a major focus for our Annual Conferences and general programs to educate us all on better ways to be inclusive in our work and communities.  At the 2018 Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration, our opening keynote speaker Gladys Washington, Deputy Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation put us on course with her presentation titled: “Patience, Please: How Philanthropic perseverance can foster social change and equity in the South”.

Ms. Washington stressed the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity by sharing that, “We all do better, when we all do better.”  Ms. Washington noted that when we include all at the table and in our work that we create better opportunities for all populations.  Both Dr. Foster and Ms. Washington’s presentations were very educational, inspiring, and action-oriented for our work in philanthropy.  Based upon the continued learning journey on diversity and inclusion for myself and our organization that we must:

  • Share great resources and presentations such as Dr. Michelle Foster, Ms. Gladys Washington, and others to educate the field of philanthropy to improve practice and culture
  • Do our part to advocate for more inclusion and diversity in the philanthropic sector when it comes to staff, board members, grantees, communities served, and more
  • Promote more inclusion, diversity, and equity in our society locally, statewide, and nationally
  • Provide resources, connections, and opportunities for our members to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in their organizations and communities. (Check out the great resources from United Philanthropy Forum here!)

When philanthropy serves with the value of inclusion, it gives individuals, communities, and our nation a mindset of building abundance for current and future generations. As philanthropy and citizens of our great state are more inclusive and lead by our values, we see stronger, better, and growing communities.  We are always Better Together as a people, state, and nation when we are inclusive.