In honor of Black History month, we’re featuring Black-led organizations and talking to their leaders about their work, and the importance of African American representation. Today, we talk to Glen O’Gilvie the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (the Center) in DC.
About Center for Nonprofit Advancement
Created in 1979, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement was the nation’s first state association for nonprofit organizations. Identifying, monitoring, and sharing new and shifting trends within the nonprofit sector, the Center works collaboratively with local experts to develop custom programs and solutions for nonprofits. Through training, resources and relationships with the corporate, philanthropic and government community, the Center helps member nonprofits achieve a more sustainable future.
The Beginning of Glen’s Career
The child of Jamaican immigrants, Glen was born and raised on Staten Island in New York. He describes his childhood as typical of high-achieving immigrant families. If he came home with a “B” on a test, his parents wanted to know where the “A” was. From K-12, Glen went to Catholic schools, frequently being bused out of his local neighborhood. In high school, Glen was one of only five Black students in the school. He credits his experiences being one of only a few black students and having friends of different racial and ethnic backgrounds with his ability to work with people from all backgrounds now.
Glen went to college at Virginia State University, an HBCU. He wanted to live off campus, but his parents said they would only pay for on-campus housing. As a result, Glen took a variety of jobs, eventually getting a job at a group home for court involved youth. This early job helped Glen realize that he wanted to spend his life helping communities and people in need. Glen first became an Executive Director at the age of 29. He believes a willingness to put yourself in unusual situations where you can learn is important to growth.
Glen and his wife share a guiding philosophy of “Lift as you climb,” which can be seen in the work he does with the Center helping other nonprofits be successful.
The Importance of African Americans in Nonprofit Leadership
Glen likes to describe the nonprofit sector as the “people sector” or “people business.” He strongly believes that a commitment to diversity is important to helping the sector grow. It’s important for boards and leadership teams to reflect the people they serve. Glen also sees racial diversity and racial equity as existing at the pinnacle of supporting people.
At Brighter Strategies we’re thrilled to partner with the Center on a variety of projects.