For centuries, America has been known around the world as the land of opportunity. Yet even as our nation has risen to become one of the most powerful and prosperous in history, some of our communities seem to be perpetually left behind. Whether people in such communities face homelessness, substandard schools, unemployment or high crime rates, many find their obstacles almost insurmountable.

People of color comprise 30 percent of our country, but 60 percent of our prison population. The unemployment rate for African Americans and Native Americans has been twice that of Caucasians for several years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Hispanics are more than three times as likely to drop out of high school compared to Caucasians, while African Americans are nearly twice as likely. Americans from Southeast Asia face some of the highest poverty rates in the nation.

Yet in the face of these discouraging statistics, countless leaders around the country have brought their passion, innovation and expertise to the challenge. Thousands of non-profits, significant numbers of them led by community members themselves, have answered the call. These organizations are providing housing, tutoring, mentorship and many other vital services to people in need.

The Center for Leadership Innovation (TCLI) believes community-led organizations hold the key to real transformation in underserved minority communities. Through leadership workshops and training, peer consultant networks and funding opportunities, we are helping diverse leaders and their organizations to reach their full potential. TCLI applauds these leaders’ tireless sacrifices and remains committed to investing in every aspect of their development.

Making sure these leaders are equipped to carry out their missions with integrity and excellence is TCLI’s contribution to addressing today’s critical social issues on a local, national and international scale. Won’t you join us as we work to ensure that their good work not only continues, but is also expanded across the nation and ultimately the world?

Vera R. Jackson, PhD, MSW, ACSW
President and Chief Executive Officer