If the civil sector truly aims to embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, it must actively reject the white dominant culture practices that exploit its people. Tarnished delivers a practical exploration of organizational culture and its power to shift the sector.
Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth, activist and philanthropist
Maryann Kerr has written an important and timely book, anchored in honesty and personal vulnerability. Her story from her career in the charitable sector — one that will resonate with many women across sectors — serves as a catalyst to courageously lift the veil and offer an authentic glimpse into the toxic cultures and governance styles of many charitable organizations. She serves up a constructive critique of the sector that often paradoxically strengthens the very systems of oppression that give rise to causes they are trying to address. The social impact sector should be at the forefront of the current diversity, equity and inclusion movements but it can only do so authentically if it changes itself and if it embraces the needed culture change with urgency and honesty.
Marina Glogovac, CEO, CanadaHelps
Courage derives its root from the Latin word for heart. Someone once defined courage as “to speak one’s mind by telling all of one's heart”. Maryann is courageous in putting her mind to her thoughts and to pen the words from her heart. I was touched by her authenticity in her book Tarnished. We do need to retain, reimagine and make alterations to the social sector. Her impact comes through from the forward of the book right through to the last chapter. Congratulations on sharing your life’s work.
Tim Herron, fellow Barnes Consultant and Charitable Governance colleague
Tarnished is a must-read for leaders at all levels. Maryann delicately pens teachable moments and couples each lesson with practical tips and tactical frameworks that will strengthen your mindset and sharpen your skillsets.
Tycely Williams, CFRE, Chief Development Officer, The Bipartisan Policy Center
Tarnished is an excellent book for the civil sector to address the difficult topics not often discussed within organizations. In particular, Maryann defines and tackles the White Savior Industrial Complex head-on in a delicately firm way that honours everyone. The teachable moments in this book are a must-read
for all organizations that espouse a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and ultimately, belonging.
Dr. Kami J. Anderson, Interculturalist, Scholar-activist, Executive Director of Bilingual Brown Babies
Tarnished is a brave examination of the need for drastic, equitable change in the social profit sector. It tells the truth about the foundations of toxic workplaces and the ramifications of white supremacy in the social profit sector. The resources, analyses and practical strategies apply to many different industries and readers will walk away with the inspiration and the will to thrive in more supportive workplace conditions.
Dr. Joy L. Wiggins, CEO, Joy Wiggins, PhD: Equity and Inclusion Consulting LLP
A thoughtful and helpfully provocative book. Tarnished fills a vitally important void in the literature on the social profit sector and should become required reading for all leaders looking to advance organizational culture, people management, and performance. Bravo to Maryann!
Ted Garrard, C.M., Chief Executive Officer, SickKids Foundation
In Tarnished, Maryann honestly reflects on her 34 years of experience working in the social profit sector — the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book is a must read for anyone looking for a deep understanding of the complexities of the sector in areas such as leadership, culture, retention, governance and diversity. She also shares important insights on the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and how the pandemic will affect it going forward.
Jo-Anne Ryan, Vice President, Philanthropic Advisory Services, TD Wealth
A powerful book filled with stories, research and practical tools for anyone who works in the social profit sector and cares about the quality of their work life. An inspiring playbook for emerging leaders and those they lead.
Hala Bissada, CEO, Hala Events
This powerful book combines data, compelling stories and an authentic, gripping personal narrative to directly confront toxic patterns that hold us back in our philanthropic workplaces. As Maryann says, we can no longer hide the inequities that exist both inside and around our sector.
Brian Gawor, CFRE, Vice President for Research, RNL
Kerr not only calls attention to the unacceptable behaviours and toxic workplaces in the nonprofit sector but provides robust evidence of its impact on individuals and philanthropic missions. She pulls together studies, reports, surveys, and personal accounts of hostility, abuse, bullying and racism from nonprofit leaders, donors, and colleagues. Pulling from various professional standards including those from the nonprofit sector, she sets up a new framework built upon equality, accountable leadership, and professional practice. The evidence is overwhelming that the nonprofit sector needs reform. Tarnished elevates the issue of toxicity in the sector, arming individuals to insist on an experience that better models the mission of philanthropy — love and compassion for others.
Kathryn Dilworth, Ph.D., Philanthropy Scholar and Consultant
Maryann Kerr, I applaud you for the creation of Tarnished. I pray that the words on the pages speak to every reader to the fact that a psychological seismic shift in their heart and mind must take place for intentional grace, humility, and love to flow. Let’s demonstrate to the world that the social impact sector is the ‘love sector’ filled with compassion, respect, kindness, empowerment, and freedom.
Katherine Smart, Gift Planning Consultant, Abundance Canada
Maryann’s kind heart shines through in every word. Not only her perspective and insight, but that of so many different organizations and leaders within these pages make Tarnished a must-read for individuals at all levels in the social profit sector.
Jodi Gaiser, Organizational Consultant
As a new and aspiring fundraiser, I have big hopes and dreams for the charitable sector, and admittedly was shocked to learn what often transpires within their workplaces! Maryann Kerr’s Tarnished is a “must read”, comprehensive guide-book full of resources, wisdom, insights, and heartfelt stories meant to spark a movement towards a better sector for everyone. It is my personal and deep hope that Tarnished becomes the catalyst for real and lasting change to become the ‘humanitarian sector’, for ALL of us. Thank you Maryann for your courage and abiding love for the charitable sector, we are indebted to you!
Linda Terry, Fundraising Coordinator, The Salvation Army
A wake up call for the social profit sector. Kerr offers a frank and unvarnished overview of pressing leadership issues, but you’ll never question her respect and fondness for public interest work. Tarnished belongs on the bookshelf of every board chair and executive director in the country.
Krystyn Tully, social entrepreneur, advocate, writer at Charity Case blog
Merry Christmas Maryann and congratulations again on your book release 🎉. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tarnished and as Jill did, saw myself in both the good (soft leader..new term for me) and bad (it is what it is…I really should stop saying that). I also found the language around diversity (global majority in particular) to be progressive, thoughtful and a real aha moment for me. Having actionable points at the end of each chapter makes this a valuable tool for every leader in our field.
All to say that I think you knocked it out of the park with this book! Way to go 👏👍😊
Happy new year 🥳 Take care,
Tina Triano, (Former CEO, Oakville Hospital Foundation)
A few other things that I loved about the book:
1. It is Canadian and offers Canadian research, resources and solutions.
2. Kerr shares personal stories about her own experiences and the experiences of others in the sector to illustrate how deeply damaging some organizational practices are and the impacts they have had on the wider sector.
3. Kerr calls our sector what it is: “social profit” – not what it isn’t: “non-profit.” If we want our community to recognize the value of what we do, we need to present our work with language that defines our value. We are much more than just non-profit – we are community benefit, social profit, investing-in-people organizations doing essential work in our community. The fact that we don’t earn a profit says nothing about our work and everything about the lack of value that has been afforded to the important work that we do.
Tarnished will open your eyes to the many challenges and disparities that our sector is facing, and it will also give you encouragement and resources to take on some of those challenges. Together, we can bring change and health to our sector, and continue providing the essential services that our community needs. Go get the book – you won’t be disappointed! (Excerpt from review published on Hilborn charity e-news, February 9, 2022)
Joanne Linka, Manager of Communication and Fund Development at The Cridge Centre for the Family in Victoria BC.