Diversity For Nonprofits: Mission Drift Or Mission Fulfillment?

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Paul Henry Hawkins


Nonprofit, Mission, Strategic, Social Justice


Nonprofit stewardship imposes two special duties. As stewards of donative resources, nonprofits must fulfill their programmatic mandates. As stewards of public benefit, they must also be responsive to pressing social issues that transcend organizational confines. This paper examines the tension nonprofit leaders encounter when, in response to the latter duty, some stakeholders push for an organizational diversity initiative, while other stakeholders, in response to the former duty, claim organizational diversity initiatives trigger mission drift. Drawing upon an interdisciplinary theoretical palette, this article proposes a conceptual way to reconcile a tightly constructed nonprofit mission with a broader calling to mitigate the degenerative effects of historically embedded identity hierarchies.


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