Reimagining Governance in a Racial Justice Coalition: A Case Study in Transforming Power


  • Judy Freiwirth Nonprofit Solutions Associates



racial equity and governance, power dynamics and governance, alternative governance models, shared leadership


This case study elucidates the experiences of a mid-size community-based nonprofit coalition whose mission is to address systemic racism and organize and advocate for racial justice. Following several years of operating as a fiscally sponsored coalition, their staff decided it was the opportune to establish themselves as an independent nonprofit with its own 501(c)3 designation.  This juncture presented a unique opportunity for the Coalition to design a governance model that was in alignment with their deep values of racial equity, shared leadership, democratic principles, non-hierarchal organizational structures, and the advancement of grassroots Black leadership, and the prioritization of individuals most adversely affected by systemic racism and oppression.  This case study illustrates the Coalition’s transformational journey and the challenges encountered during the design process of their new governance model, based on the principles of the pioneering governance framework, Community Engagement Governance™ (Freiwirth, 2013).





Governance Case Studies by ARNOVA Governance Section and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management