DID YOU KNOW?   The final piece of Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring and historic “I have a Dream” speech is believed to have been predominantly improvised.

DID YOU KNOW? The final piece of Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring and historic “I have a Dream” speech is believed to have been predominantly improvised.

As both a Baptist minister and social activist, Martin Luther King Jr. played a vital part in the American Civil Rights movement from the mid-1950s until the time of his assassination in 1968. King fought for human rights and equality for African Americans, the underprivileged and all who suffered from injustice. Through peaceful protest, he helped to facilitate events of historical significance like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington. As a result of these events, watershed legislation such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were voted into law. After sharing his vision of the future through his masterpiece, the “I Have a Dream” speech, King was named “Man of the Year” by TIME Magazine and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King is remembered and celebrated each year on the third Monday of January on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986. And now that you’re feeling inspired, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Think Airbnb, but for Nonprofits

As real estate costs around the Bay Area show no sign of coming down any time soon, nonprofits find themselves faced with the same displacement and affordability crisis that is affecting the populations they serve. According to the Bay Area News Group, the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF)—which supports nonprofits—is launching Spacesforgood.org. This free online platform will allow nonprofits, landlords, real estate brokers, and event venues to advertise their available spaces to nonprofits for short-, long-term and temporary use. Is your Bay Area nonprofit concerned about the ever-increasing cost of real estate? Click on the link above to discover more information about NCCLF’s online tool, and how it could help your organization’s long-term financial sustainability.

2.  Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders

Long before the doling out of promotions, titles and bumps in pay, the cultivation of your organization’s future leaders begins early on. According to Forbes, many young employees and junior-level staff are willing to take initiative and are excited to make a noticeable impact within their organization. That being said, it is the responsibility of an organization’s executive team to encourage junior staffers to demonstrate leadership skills. Want your employees to feel empowered to contribute their ideas? Check out the link above to learn five ways to cultivate the next generation of leaders within your organization.

3.  The Affordable Housing Decline

High rents, stagnant incomes and a shortage of housing aid have resulted in lower-income families having an increasingly difficult time finding affordable housing. And according to housing advocates, the new tax bill and potential cuts in housing aid will only worsen the problem. The lowering of tax rates may make Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (credits used by developers to finance affordable housing projects) less appealing, and the supply of affordable housing will continue to shrink. Many may be forced to choose between paying rent or paying for medicine, food and other necessities. Does your organization help provide housing to low-income communities? Click the above link from NPR to read more about the difficulties facing affordable housing.

4.  Nonprofit Boards (Still) Lack Diversity

According to a recent BroadSource report, demographics of nonprofit boards have changed very little in the last several years. In addition to a severe lack of ethnic and racial diversity amongst board members, boards as a whole are putting little effort towards prioritizing demographics with regards to their recruitment practices. Because nonprofits serve communities that are largely underrepresented and populations that disproportionally consist of people of color, organizations have a greater responsibility to support and build diversity throughout their ranks. The above link from Nonprofit Quarterly provides four suggestions to achieve greater diversity on your board.

5.  Framework for Creating a 'People Handbook'

Most organizations have an operational handbook that explains how to execute work-related tasks, but very few organizations have a “people handbook”—a guide to navigating interactions with colleagues. Many of the conflicts that arise amongst team members are the result of workers' unfamiliarity with how personalities and work styles differ from those they work with. According to Forbes, this lack of understanding leads to conflicts between team members which in turn limits productivity. Want to create a ‘people handbook’ for your nonprofit? Check out the link above for a framework for improving team cohesion and communication.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We're off to spend the rest of the afternoon brainstorming ways to make King's vision a reality. See you next week!

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