The Women’s Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (WNLI) is a group of Philadelphia area women leaders in the nonprofit sector that has been meeting and working on increasing diversity in the nonprofit sector since 2012. The group was established by the late Dr. Happy Fernandez, former president of Moore College of Art, two-term member of Philadelphia City Council, and former professor at Temple University. It has engaged with board leaders and women board members of nonprofit institutions to increase diversity on the boards of the major nonprofit institutions in Greater Philadelphia. Its volunteer members have also worked both independently and in cooperation with Philadelphia’s Forum of Executive Women, and more recently with The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business, to make available reliable information about women’s representation in the leadership ranks of Greater Philadelphia’s nonprofit sector. In 2020, WNLI collaborated with Nonprofit Issues to publish a national report on board gender diversity, written by two of our members.
Governing boards of nonprofit healthcare and higher education institutions (meds and eds) will reflect the gender, racial, and other diversity of their stakeholders.
To increase significantly the percentage of women on the governing boards of nonprofit healthcare and higher education institutions (meds and eds) and to expand women’s influence and formal leadership on these boards.
Our beliefs/why this is important:
Gender and racial diversity of boards improves governance and produces better outcomes.
Equity starts at the top. Women should be full participants in the governance of meds and eds.
Strategy for pursuing our mission and vision:
We will close the gender gap on Philadelphia area nonprofit meds and eds boards so they have a minimum of 30 percent women, including women of color, on the way to parity.
We will encourage and support stakeholders of meds and eds to demand change. Boards need to be urgent and intentional about achieving board diversity. They need to rethink and reform recruiting and nominating systems, establish pipelines of women candidates and identify new sources of candidates.
Carolyn Adams, Ph.D., Former Dean, College of Liberal Arts, and President of the Faculty Senate, Temple University
Dotty Brown, Former reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer and book author
Jolley Bruce Christman, Ph.D., founder, Research for Action
Wendy Epstein, Principal, Epstein Consulting Group, Strategy and Development for Nonprofits
Judith Gay, Ph.D., Interim President of Erie County Community College and
Vice President Emerita of Community College of Philadelphia
Michelle Feldman, Communications and Engagement Manager, PHILADELPHIA250;
Former Director, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
Terry Gillen, J.D., Urban Policy Consultant; former Director of Federal Affairs for Philadelphia
Vicki Kramer, Ph.D., consultant to nonprofits; lead author Critical Mass on Corporate Boards
Rosalyn J. McPherson, President and CEO, The ROZ Group, Inc.
Afaf Meleis, Ph.D., Dean Emerita, Professor of Nursing and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Carmen Febo-San Miguel, M. D., Executive Director Taller Puertorriqueño
Karen Minyard, Former Managing Director and SVP Wealth Management, PNC Financial Services Corp.
Linda Munich, Former Vice President of Public Affairs for 6abc
Natalie Nixon, PhD, President & Creativity Strategist, Figure 8 Thinking; Trustee of Vassar College
Bonnie Raines, Board member and former Policy Associate, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Jane Scaccetti, Shareholder and CEO, Drucker & Scaccetti; Trustee Temple and Salus Universities
Leslie Stiles, Board President of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women