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Monday, August 23, 2021

Meet the Team: My Nonprofit Journey - Bilal Taylor

Welcome to our Meet The Team series, where each month we will introduce a member of the Charity Navigator team to our readers. Millions of visitors come to
Charity Navigator annually, and they may be surprised to learn that we're a staff of 25! We often proudly state that we are a "small yet mighty team"-- achieving a lot with the resources we have, while staying focused on our mission. We are extremely honored to be a part of the nonprofit community where our footprint (and our ratings!) have expanded, and we are incredibly appreciative of the support received from our donors and users, nonprofits, and funders. We hope this series will be enlightening and entertaining. Click here for other profiles.

My name is Bilal Taylor, and I have served as the Vice President of Culture & Community at Charity Navigator since late June 2021.  In this role I have primary responsibility for building out the Culture & Community “beacon” in our new Encompass Rating System.  In time, our team will grow this beacon to rate charities/nonprofits based on how they center the voices of their staff and constituents in building equitable, inclusive organizational practices, and transformative programs in the communities they serve.

I have served in various capacities in the nonprofit sector for nearly 22 years. My first job in the sector after earning my Bachelor’s degree was as a coordinator of a classroom-based teen pregnancy prevention program. Building this program from scratch with a small team gave me the opportunity to learn about rolling my sleeves up and co-creating programs directly with young people. As our funding mandated that we bring on an outside evaluator to measure our progress, I was also able to build my program evaluation skills in conjunction with a statistician from a nearby university. 

The lessons I learned in this first role have greatly influenced the trajectory of my life and subsequent career. I learned early on that the nonprofit sector is chock full of opportunities for me to engage youth and families in marginalized communities as partners in systems change. I was also taken by the love, wit, and wisdom that I have found to be unique among my colleagues in the nonprofit sector. On the other hand, I learned firsthand that nonprofit professionals must practice an almost radical form of self-care to ensure that they do not burn-out in the face of what can often feel like an undervalued sector of work.

After attaining my Master’s degree, I took on roles that allowed me to work with hundreds of young people and cross-sector partners to develop, implement, and evaluate systems change efforts in the US and abroad. If I could offer two pieces of advice to others who are considering entering the nonprofit sector, they would be to hold tight to a: (1) bold vision and (2) humble approach.  A bold vision for change is necessary to galvanize a sustained movement towards achieving racial equity and a more just world.  Nonprofit professionals also need to be humble enough to know that people with lived experience of the issues we hope to address are the experts on the challenges they face in their lives, and must be in the lead when devising strategies to address these challenges.

I’m thrilled to bring my experience and skills to the small, but mighty, Charity Navigator team! I believe we have an unprecedented opportunity to provide donors with the information they need to be confident that they’re contributing to organizations that value diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.  I also am excited about the opportunity to help nonprofits build their capacity to implement best practices that foster an inclusive organizational culture and achieve their ultimate goals in partnership with those they serve.   

Written by Bilal Taylor, Vice President of Culture & Community at Charity Navigator.

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