Project LEAD Promotes Racial Diversity in Civic Leadership

Project LEAD pic
Project LEAD

Afshan Lakha serves as a principal partner with Lakha Investments LLC, a commercial real estate firm in Bellevue, Washington. Beyond her obligations with the company, Afshan Lakha supports a number of community and charity organizations, including United Way of King County. United Way focuses on building better communities and offers programs such as Project LEAD (Leadership Effectiveness And Diversity).

Project LEAD operates based on the concept that communities thrive when their civic leadership follows ethical values and reflects their racial diversity. Designed to facilitate racially diverse leadership foundations, the month-long program provides leadership training to people of color with the experience and talent to effectively serve on nonprofit boards. United Way launched Project LEAD in 1992 and has graduated more than 1,000 individuals from the program since.

Courses are offered each spring and deliver instruction through a series of evening and full-day workshops. Topics covered range from collaboration and conflict resolution to strategic fundraising and managing legal risk. Participants also learn about board operation and protocol, in addition to the various issues facing nonprofit organizations. Upon completion of the program, participants attend a graduation ceremony and an agency fair to meet representatives of various nonprofit groups.

Applicants must possess considerable community volunteer experience and a history of successful team collaboration. They must also commit to participating in all training sessions and prepare themselves to accept the legal and financial responsibilities of serving on a nonprofit board.