21NTC Session

Changing Nonprofit Structure to Further Equity


This is a moment to dream of a new nonprofit sector — one prepared to meaningfully confront the dizzying systemic barriers to justice in our world. Alas, institutionalized nonprofits struggle to imagine something different. We are too accustomed to the world as it is, and too accustomed to the benefits we enjoy from the current nonprofit industrial machine.

But we don’t have to have the answers, we just have to be accountable to our communities. Really accountable. Structurally accountable. 

In this session we’ll discuss ways to meaningfully and radically share power with our communities through alternative governing bodies, changes to board structure, empowered internal committees, even inclusive facilitation techniques. Through the stories of grassroots organizers and member-led organizations we’ll explore what it means to truly give up power with the goal of dismantling white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression.

Session Type

60 minute session

Learning Outcomes

  • Name the barriers to gaining power in nonprofit institutions (authority, culture, access)
  • Complete a power mapping exercise for their organization
  • Imagine alternative structures and decision making processes that center historically marginalized groups

Target Audience

Equity agitators and those who have felt excluded from nonprofit decision making.




Sam Chenkin

Organizer & Consulting

Reclaim the Sector

I’m a white queer trans woman building community in the pursuit of transformative justice. My main project — Reclaim the Sector — is an organizing and consulting effort seeking to radicalize the nonprofit sector towards this purpose. Unlike most equity consultants I don’t focus on creating “woke” leaders. Instead I help nonprofits create new decision making and accountability structures that ensure real power is in the hands of community members.

I bring to this work over a decade of nonprofit experience, personal experiences of trauma and marginalization, and the many rich relationships that sustain me and inform my vision of a better world. Also, I’m into quilting, cooking without a recipe, and not taking myself too seriously.

Elicia Gonzales

Executive Director

Women's Medical Fund

Elicia Gonzales is a queer Latinx, Licensed Social Worker with a Masters in Human Sexuality Education. She is the Executive Director for Women’s Medical Fund, an organization that since 1985 has worked to ensure and expand abortion access now and always through direct service and community organizing. Elicia formerly served as Executive Director for GALAEI: a queer Latinx Social Justice Organization and adjunct professor for Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies. Elicia serves on the Bread and Roses Community Fund board, is the co-founder of the SEXx Interactive Collective, and was a former appointed member of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. Elicia lives in Fishtown, PA with her amazing wife and cats – named Justice and Josie, and is originally from Denver, Colorado.



March 23, 2021


9:45am – 10:45am