With support from the Foundation, and building on the knowledge gained through its National Character Initiative, the Building Capacity for Leaders of Color project aims to help create systems to build the capacity of leaders of color in the afterschool field by conducting field research on needs, launching a national learning community for leaders of color, publishing the learnings and recommendations for sustainability and supporting NAA's State Affiliates in launching similar efforts.
This project acknowledges that inequity exists and is creating an intentional space for leaders of color to explore leadership development that is designed for and by leaders of color. Research shows that people of color thrive in leadership development spaces that are designed specifically for them and take into account their experiences with inequity, power, privilege and oppression.
"We believe investment in this project will result in an increase in the knowledge, skills and resources of afterschool professionals of color, allowing them to develop their own capacity as leaders and supporting them in their work to create positive, high-quality afterschool and SEL experiences for youth," said Gina Warner, President & CEO of NAA. "At the same time, we will also be working to identify and address barriers that exist at the system level, that prevent leaders of color from advancing to greater positions of impact and influence."
NAA has created a National Advisory Group to support the Building Capacity for Leaders of Color project. The Advisory Group will play a key role in informing the design of elements of this project and in sharing the findings and successes across the broader field. In addition, work is already underway to conduct field research, with finding scheduled to be reported on in December.
An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000. The National AfterSchool Association is the membership association for professionals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during out-of-school hours.