Join us for the opening and closing ceremonies of Excelerator!
The Excelerator experience will kick off by exploring the current global reality of operating in a pandemic while simultaneously confronting systemic and structural racism. As the weeks progress, however, participants begin to prepare for the future—gaining clarity on what it takes to thrive, as an organization and as a person in the future. Closing ceremonies will be a culmination of our future-focused perspective, addressing what is on the public policy and philanthropic landscapes.
Recordings of all sessions will be available to registrants for on-demand viewing through Dec. 22, 2020.
Three-Day Opening Ceremony
Grounded in our shared goals to advance equity, the Excelerator’s three-day opening ceremony will feature national speakers focused on the state of equity around the nation.
Tuesday, Oct. 20 from Noon-1 p.m. CT
Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy
Cornel West is professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University and professor emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his master’s and doctorate in philosophy at Princeton.
West has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at 19th- and 20th-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.
West co-hosts The Tight Rope podcast with Tricia Rose, which navigates the balance between uncertainty and hope. Each week they welcome listeners and guests as thought collaborators on topics ranging from pop culture, art, and music, to the contours of systemic racism, philosophy, the power of Socratic self-examination, and the possibilities of a peaceful and just world.
West is a frequent guest on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span and Democracy Now. He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.—a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.
Wednesday, Oct. 21 Noon-1 p.m. CT
Former South Carolina Representative
Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent state representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014, he was the Democratic nominee for South Carolina’s Lt. Governor.
Earning his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina, Sellers has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to service taking championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity.
In addition to having served on President Barack Obama's South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election, Sellers is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation. That, coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done, has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as The Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans in 2014 and 20015.
He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, and the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Sellers practices law with the Strom Law Firm LLC in Columbia, South Carolina and is a political commentator at CNN.
Thursday, Oct. 2 from Noon-1 p.m. CT
A Time for Boldness: How Nonprofits and Philanthropy Can Stop Being the White Moderate Sector and Unlock Their Full Power
While the twin pandemic of COVID-19 and white supremacy bear down on our communities, our sector has been playing a pivotal role. However, the current crises also reveal many of our weaknesses including our own inclinations to maintain the status quo through many of our philosophies and practices. We allow mostly white donors to avoid taxes. We are terrified of advocacy and systems change. We engage in toxic intellectualization and perpetuate the "Nonprofit Hunger Games.” All of us must examine how we are individually and collectively complicit in maintaining racist, inequitable systems. Change is coming. We need to embrace it. It is time for us to envision a socially and economically just society, and to be bold in realizing it.
Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former executive director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.
Le’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.
Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com. Listen to his episode, Let’s Stop the Nonprofit Hunger Games, on the More than Health Care podcast, which is produced through a partnership between the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, Beech Acres Parenting Center, and KVC Health Systems.