Fairmount Ventures Assistant Vice President Kelly Woodland during an event in Center City on Thursday.


The Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum released a new report Thursday titled “How African American-Led Organizations Differ From White-Led Organizations.”

The study was designed to articulate the unique and critical value of African-American-led nonprofits, as well as the challenges these organizations face.

Over the course of the last two years, PAALF members worked with Branch Associates Inc. to conduct an extensive survey of more than 145 leaders of human service-oriented nonprofits in Philadelphia, supplemented with qualitative research from African-American executive directors and local funders.

“The knowledge that African-American nonprofit leaders bring to this community is invaluable,” said Sharmain Matlock-Turner, CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition and co-chair of the PAALF. “This new research gives us a platform to build on that strength by promoting opportunities for increased collaboration, talent development not only within African-American organizations, but across all sectors.”

The PAALF commissioned the study that was conducted by Branch Associates. Funding came from United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and support from Urban Affairs Coalition.

The report’s findings will be shared with the nonprofit and philanthropic community. To view the executive summary and full report, visit

“From the time that [W.E.B] Du Bois studied African Americans in the late 1800s to this work today, it shows that data does matter in shaping a movement that turns numbers into real action,” said David Brown, a professor at Temple University and co-chair of the PAALF.

Brown said the research has helped move a social agenda forward within the Black community in Philadelphia.

According to Fairmount Ventures Assistant Vice President Kelly Woodland, African-American-led nonprofits are doing more with less during these challenging economic times.

“When we think about African-American-led organizations, the reason why we wanted to do this research is because we wanted to capture a snapshot of this segment, first and foremost,” Woodland said. “We wanted to be able to identify our assets and the value-add of Africa-American-led organizations, and there is significant value of our organizations to Philadelphia.

“We also wanted to create opportunities for great alignment among our leadership so that they can come around and get together around common issues,” she added. “And, lastly, we want to begin a different type of conversation, one that is not deficit oriented, but a conversation that begins with recognizing our asset and our value, and that’s a little different than what we may have been doing previously when you think about our organizations and the contributions that they make.”

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