Founder Stories: The Why & How Of Launching & Building A Nonprofit Rooted In Equity

This week, I’m talking with two incredible and inspirational women – Donnie Belcher and Lauren Burke –  CEO and COO respectively,  of Camp Equity. These women have, multiple times in their lives, seen a deep social problem and jumped into action – as a teacher and lawyer, as a Skadden Fellow, as Echoing Green fellows, and now together, through Camp Equity. In this conversation, we talk about what it means and looks like to be both intentional and responsive to a critical moment.

I loved this conversation, in large part because Donnie and Lauren have rooted their organization in the values and working principles of equity. We talk about how from the beginning of Camp Equity, as they mapped out everything from their working relationship to how they would hire to how they would structure funding partnerships, equity in practice has been at the core; Not an add-on, but THE frame for decision making.  We talk about what it actually looks like for a nonprofit to try to grow that way.

Finally, we blend the big-picture, strategic and tactical. We talk about deep issues like racial equity and systemic change and mindset gremlins, and Donnie and Lauren share highly practical, concrete strategies and lessons about fundraising, early hiring, program design, and launching a nonprofit more generally.

Ultimately, I just deeply admire these two women. This conversation sheds light on their world-changing organization, their amazing partnership, and some of the realities of launching, doing, and living social change work.