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Front Page - Friday, July 28, 2017

Attorney connecting diverse talent with nonprofits

Attorney Wade Hinton has launched Board Connector, a networking website designed to connect persons of color and women with nonprofits aspiring to have more diverse and inclusive boards. - Photograph provided

Chattanooga is a diverse city, with women accounting for 51 percent of the population and people of color making up close to 40 percent. Recognizing most area nonprofit boards do not reflect the diversity of the Chattanooga community and boards have a difficult time finding diverse talent, attorney Wade Hinton created Board Connector.

Board Connector is a networking website designed to connect people of color and women who desire board director opportunities to nonprofits aspiring to have more diverse and inclusive boards.

“I have been fortunate to have served on dozens of nonprofit boards and task forces over the past 20 years,” says Hinton. “Frankly, most of the boards on which I served did not reflect the great diversity of the community in which I was born, raised and moved back to in 1999.

“I also recognized that there are individuals who want to serve on boards but do not know the process, so I created Board Connector.”

Since its soft launch in Chattanooga in late April, more than 75 professionals and 20 nonprofits have registered.

Hinton did not create Board Connector alone. He enlisted the support and counsel from several organizations over the past 12 months to develop the web platform. One of those charter partners was the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute.

“The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute is excited to partner with Board Connector, which will serve as a tool for our members to step into board leadership roles, and likewise, help those seeking new board members to identify qualified individuals who are willing to serve,” says Holly Ashley, CWLI executive director.

“CWLI is hopeful Board Connector will address the diversity gap to promote true inclusion. There is no shortage of female and minority talent in our community; it’s just a matter of connecting nonprofit nominating committees to those leaders who are ready and willing to serve.”

Other charter partners of Board Connector include the Benwood Foundation, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, the City of Chattanooga’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Mayor’s Council for Women, the United Way’s Center for Nonprofits and the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga.

“We recently disseminated a survey to our grantees that included questions about the composition of their boards, and the outcomes of these surveys were a confirmation that diverse leadership is needed in the Greater Chattanooga Area,” says Sarah Morgan, president of Benwood.

“Diverse leadership is needed not only at the nonprofit board levels but all levels of decision making. I do believe Board Connector will be a viable resource in ensuring that women and minorities are exposed to leadership opportunities in our community.”

Once successfully piloting Board Connector in the Greater Chattanooga Area, Hinton and his team plan to launch the web platform in cities throughout the U.S. Additionally, the team will offer corporate memberships for companies seeking to place their emerging leaders on nonprofit boards.

Signup for Board Connector is free for both professionals and nonprofits at www.boardconnector.org.

Source: Wade Hinton