A note from the Capital Collaborative Team: We are excited to share this month’s feature by Jesse and Amelia, alumni of Camelback Ventures’ Capital Collaborative Cohort 3. As you read, we encourage you to think about your own community of coworkers and colleagues. How are you making time to build authentic relationships with each other? Do you have what you need to be able to think expansively, and hold each other accountable with love? If you are in search of this type of community, check out the Capital Collaborative Cohort

Camelback Ventures’ Capital Collaborative had extraordinary content: Speakers, experts, DEI specialists, individual coaching, etc. However, the transformative impact of the 6-month experience comes from engaging in the rigorous content alongside a cohort of peers grappling with many of the same professional challenges who are inspired to take practical and meaningful steps toward racial justice through grant making.

Amelia Cotton Corl

This experience was powerful and game-changing for us and we couldn't get enough of it … literally! Even though the formal program ended in April, many of us have sought out and participated in continued settings to come together and collectively build on the learning and power that comes from a community of practice narrowly focused on being in key roles to promote equity through philanthropy. We are busy people. Many of us already struggle balancing personal and professional responsibilities – yet, we have still found enough value in making time to be in community with each other that we continue to seek out a community to share and listen to each other’s challenges, successes, and wonderings.

Jesse Dixon

Learning and working alongside a peer group was incredibly powerful in helping us think and work differently. Reflecting on why a peer group is so meaningful, we identified two reasons: Knowledge-sharing and emboldening. Having a group of professionals who share our values and work in a similar space allowed opportunities for collective problem-solving, exposure to new ideas and practices, and brainstorming solutions by harnessing the collective wisdom of such a great group. Just as importantly, we emboldened each other to take risks. We pushed each other to take the bolder step, have the difficult conversations, and be honest about our insecurities and vulnerabilities. This compels us to do more.

Many powerful DEIB trainings are already out there. To maximize the likelihood that these experiences translate into continuously improving practice, it is vitally important to find community and a dedicated space to focus time on getting better and doing more. Whether that’s a colleague you attend the training with, a group of local funders trying to move the needle on equity, or folks on the other side of the country who you can be vulnerable with and who will lovingly push you to be your best self.

We are grateful to have found this in our fellow Capital Collaborators and others. In our cohort, we noticed a particular chemistry in having multiple people from a single organization participate at the same time. Not only did this shared experience forge connections and commitments from a shared context, but it offered another space of accountability to continue the work outside of the fellowship period. Some joined as a leader and staff member, others attended as a trio from different levels of the same large organization. Each benefitted immensely from moving through the process of dismantling and rebuilding our individual and collective work for racial justice together. For the two of us, we started the Camelback experience from different organizations, and our shared commitment for this work enabled us to shift to be permanent teammates in St. Louis. 

For anyone considering this cohort, or simply wondering how to continue the work, we cannot understate our observation that shared experience is the key to long term commitment and accountability. So whether it’s a dedicated space like affinity groups within your own organization, partnership with nonprofit leaders like CCFD, or continued training with Camelback’s partner DEI Works Collaborative, there are many options of exceptional quality. Reflecting on the past year together, we want to shout from the rooftops that you don’t ever need to feel stuck or alone in this work. The surge of energy from shared experience and accountability will nourish and sustain us for years to come.

The Capital Collaborative by Camelback Ventures works with white funders and social impact investors who want to deepen their individual and organizational commitment to racial and gender equity in philanthropy — but may not know how. You can learn more about how to get involved by submitting an interest form for the Capital Collaborative’s next cohort or signing up for the newsletter.