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Late in the spring of 2020, Louisville was rocked by news of the deaths of Black people at the hands of white police officers. Here is how CNPE’s CEO, Ann Coffey, responded in a public statement. Her comments appeared along with those of other community leaders in Louisville Business First on June 2.

What is our way forward?

I am grieving. The Center for Nonprofit Excellence is grieving. We  grieve for Breonna Taylor, for George Floyd, for David McAtee, and for their families. We grieve for the countless black men and women and children harmed by racism. We grieve for our communities now in so much unacknowledged pain that it is spilling out onto the streets.

We grieve because this has gone on for far too long. So many of us still don’t know our own history and what must be righted. From points of privilege, it’s hard to see how we perpetuate the very systems that cause so much pain and inequity.

The job of eradicating systemic racism is hard work. It requires laying bare a dark, shameful history and acknowledging how much of it persists today. Often, we shy away from confronting pain that deep.

And yet. I am hopeful because we have so many passionate leaders in our community who are up to the task. I am hopeful because the drumbeat I hear is demanding that we respond and devote this community’s resources to finally securing equity and compassion that extends to all. I am hopeful because responding to inequity and injustice is at the heart of what our nonprofit sector does – and we are strong.

As our community steps forward and commits to rooting out systemic racism, there will be opportunities for each of us to learn, to reflect, and to lead in new ways. CNPE has long valued diversity, equity, and inclusion – and, like many other nonprofit organizations, we are on a journey to do better. As we take our journeys, we’ll learn together.

It’s helpful for me to acknowledge that moving forward requires an honest reckoning with where we’ve been and where we are. I hope we seize this moment to move to where we want to be. Together.

I believe we can emerge from these trying times stronger and more united.



Ann L. Coffey, CEO Center for Nonprofit Excellence