At Mission Capital, we have been serving and building the capacity of the Central Texas nonprofit community since 2001. We believe that authentic collaboration between the nonprofit, private and public sectors leads to transformational community change. Our 2018 strategic planning process sharpened our focus on the systemic barriers faced by historically disenfranchised and underestimated Central Texas communities like African-Americans, Latinos and immigrants, who are left behind even as our local economy thrives.
Approved in January 2019, our new strategic plan focuses on challenging the systemic barriers and disproportionate outcomes that exist in Central Texas despite being a city of great growth and resources. The shift to our new mission, to equip and connect mission-driven leaders, organizations and networks advancing equity and opportunity through their work, is exciting work AND it is challenging work.
At Mission Capital we have 33 full-time staff and a 14-member Board of Directors. We serve over 800 organizations and 3,000 individuals in the Central Texas community that are doing life-changing work ranging from supporting homeless individuals to at-risk youth to foster care families.
Our Nonprofit and Social Venture Partner Membership programs, Applied Research, Learning & Leadership, Consulting, and Aligned Impact services equip mission-driven leaders, organizations and networks by “powering good” at three primary levels. We equip change agents as 1) individual leaders, 2) organizations, and as 3) collaborative networks.
The types of problems many communities face cannot be solved by a single person, organization, or idea. At Mission Capital we create new possibilities for systems-level solutions by serving as a backbone organization and leading and investing in multi-year, cross-sector aligned impact efforts such as Travis County Collaborative for Children and Good Measure (housed within our Aligned Impact practice).
We understand that we have much work to do to create internal change while we strive to contribute to systemic change. To date, we’ve made several efforts to ensure we’re holding ourselves accountable to learn and fully embrace what it means to do racial equity work. We are in the throes of exploring the deep, personal work of racial identity and lived experience among our own board and staff, as well as what it means to adopt an intentional racial equity lens to our work. In full transparency, the work has been slow but transformative.
Committing to “walk the talk”, we began focusing our efforts on internal goals, including ensuring our organization is ready to talk about race explicitly. We formed an internal Equity Advancement Team (EAT) comprised of Black and Indigenous People of color (BIPOC) to coordinate organizational cultural and structural changes within Mission Capital while supporting personal and interpersonal change efforts in existing learning spaces. Approximately 27% of our staff self-identify as people of color and the majority occupy junior roles in our organization.
We are developing a shared analysis and definitions for what equity work may look like at Mission Capital. This has taken the form of creating a visual road map of our efforts and learnings to date, sharing events, articles and podcasts internally, reading and discussing Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility in small reading groups, creating and conducting shared learning times around racial equity, and working through activities to develop personal and organizational motivations for doing the work. It has also required us to develop our own internal capacity for managing discomfort through crucial conversations.
As we continue to move forward on our journey an additional team, EAT PAC, comprised of white staff was formed to work in solidarity with EAT, lead white caucus groups and support white staff on their personal journeys. Approximately 73% of our staff self-identify as white and occupy mid-level manager and senior roles at Mission Capital.
Mission Capital realizes its position as a gatekeeper and influencer and seeks to leverage our positional power and relationships to proactively serve everyone with humility and respect. We have a responsibility to evaluate our impact and recognize that without consideration of equity, we risk advancing inequitable solutions in the communities we serve.
As we continue to do internal work to explore what equity means to us and how it shapes our work, we knew we couldn’t do this alone and began looking for an equity consultant to help us on this journey as we humbly explore this new way of approaching our services.
We recognize we need help identifying and prioritizing strategies and interventions that will work to create systemic changes within the organization. Additionally, we need help to ensure our board embraces these same goals and is willing to help support and fund this effort.
We are in the final stages of selecting the equity consultant (to be announced soon!) and are excited to begin using a holistic approach that speaks to shifting power and advancing racial equity at the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels.
We recognize that engaging in the work to advance equity will require us to reconsider, reevaluate and, in many ways, fundamentally change how we’re used to doing things as an organization. It will also influence how we work alongside other community partners already doing the work. Over the next several months we will be highlighting voices from the field – leaders, organizations and networks advancing equity and opportunity in Central Texas.
Thank you for your trust, confidence and support – we look forward to walking alongside you as a fellow sojourner.
“The truth has a strange way of following you, of coming up to you and making you listen to what it has to say.” – Sandra Cisneros
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