The Next Normal: An Interview with Tarik Ward

The Next Normal: Tarik Ward

Today we speak with Tarik Ward, Director of Music Programs for the ELMA Philanthropies Services. Tarik and ELMA also work with Brooklyn Community Foundation, doing amazing work supporting small and emerging arts and youth development organizations.

The sustainability of nonprofits is always a question on the mind of organizations, but 2020 made it an even more pressing one. We discuss maintaining the sustainability of nonprofits in practice as well as how philanthropy can often play an unconscious role in disadvantaging black and brown led organizations. Tarik believes that if philanthropy as a whole can continue to evaluate its relationship with grantees and how success is measured, institutionalized bias can be rooted out and we can move forward towards greater equity.

Tarik explores whether nonprofit leaders should truly be afraid of sunsetting, the true nature of existential threats to nonprofits, and the importance of nurturing black and brown nonprofit leaders as we move forward.


What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

●       [1:50] About Tarik and ELMA Philanthropies Services

●       [2:30] The existential threats to nonprofits resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic

●       [5:37] Is it inherently bad for nonprofits to consider sunsetting?

●       [8:10] How do we ensure that contraction doesn’t disproportionally affect POC nonprofit leaders?

●       [10:00] The shifting role of philanthropy in the nonprofit space

●       [15:09] Where strong nonprofit organizations come from

●       [17:45] Confronting institutionalized bias

●       [18:55] The changed role of schools in their communities

●       [21:40] What leadership needs to look like in the next normal

●       [24:45] What leaders should ask themselves in terms of operations


Key quotes:

●       “In a practical sense, I think there’s going to be a real funding drought in 2021… I think the scary part is that what we’ve seen in 2020 was the easy part.”

●       “These are problems that have existed and we’ve been able to just float along on them but now it’s been exposed and we are forced to face all these things.”

●       “Not being there should always be a part of the solution set, just as in any market.”

●       “All of the data tells us that black and brown led nonprofits are under capitalized, under resourced and under capacity.”

●       “Traditional markers of success show up differently in different communities and have implicit bias buried into them.”

●       “No matter how big they become, it’s about how you nurture them.”

●       “What we’ve seen in COVID so far, and we’ve all seen it in different ways, is that it has exposed a lot of leaders, the good and the bad.”

●       “You have to be conscious, mindful, and intentional. This hasn’t changed a lot; it’s just magnified the problems.”


Resources Mentioned:

●       ELMA Philanthropies Services

●       Brooklyn Community Foundation