Re: “YouthCare CEO to step down after protest, racial turmoil inside homelessness organization” [July 15, Local News] and “Hugo House director resigns amid calls for racial equity” [Feb. 19, Books]:
Historically, a woman who took on a leadership position in a nonprofit organization had to work twice as hard, be twice as productive and get paid significantly less than a man. It’s troubling that in the past year in Seattle, two women have been forced out of their positions with accusations of racism. Both of these longtime leaders, at the helms of Hugo House and YouthCare, brought each organization out of the ashes of financial ruin and into positions of financial strength and national respect. These are two highly competent professionals who stabilized their organizations and were paid a fraction of what they could have earned in the private sector.
Racism is pervasive and unacceptable, but these two leaders were not racist. They were doing their jobs and doing them well. I’d wager they were relieved to leave organizations that treated them so disrespectfully.
Seattle is the biggest loser in these fights. We are blaming the wrong people and, unfortunately, discouraging competent leaders to take on leadership positions in nonprofit organizations. These are hard jobs — long hours, low pay. Good luck in finding their replacements.
Rosemary J. Coleman, Seattle