Ashlei Spivey

Ashlei SpiveyAshlei Spivey is a bold leader who actively works to create just and equitable communities. In her work as a community organizer, philanthropist, and activist, she champions racial and gender equity in hopes to create sustainable system change.

She is a graduate of Jackson State University where she studied communications and marketing, then attended University of Texas Arlington for her master’s program in urban social planning. She boomeranged back to Omaha nine years ago bringing racial and gender equity to the work happening in the city where she was born and raised. She has spent the last decade of her professional career working in spaces from organizational development to philanthropy.

Ashlei is the founder of I Be Black Girl (IBBG), a collective that supports Black women and girls to grow, give and connect. IBBG has had outsized impact since inception in 2017; it has invested more than $100,000 in Black women and girls through the giving circle and entrepreneurship programming. In 2019, Ashlei was chosen as an ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellow, one of 10 philanthropic professionals nationally selected for this opportunity. Ashlei also proudly serves on the ACLU of Nebraska board of directors.

Ashlei has been recognized as a 2018 Midlands Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient, 2018 The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Young Professional Changemaker, 2018 Omaha Women’s March Keynote, 2019 Ten Outstanding Young Omahan, 2019 Urban League YP African American Leadership Award, and 2020 Tribute to Women recipient.

Most importantly Ashlei is a mom, daughter, friend, and neighbor.

Discussion guide

Women have always come together in this country to address social issues. The history of women’s philanthropy in the United States is intertwined with large social movements such as abolition, suffrage, temperance, prison reform, civil rights, and women’s rights. Then, as now, women often worked along parallel tracks according to one aspect of their identity—women of color on one track and white women on another—and often by class and religion as well as race.

Today, some organizations provide opportunities to create community according to donor interests and also bring people together across community. Sociologists describe the ways people come together as social capital. There are two main types of social capital—bonding capital connects people within community, and bridging capital connects people from different communities. For examples, the two giving circles featured in this podcast, the Orchid Giving Circle and I Be Black Girl, are examples of bonding capital. The board of the Texas Women’s Foundation is an example of bridging capital.

DISCOVER how people create community

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  1. Occasionally, an organization that was founded on bonding principles may wish to expand and bridge across race and/or generation. Can you think of an example in your community where this has been the case? What was the process? What were the outcomes?
  2. Find examples of identity-based organizations in your community. Do individual identity-based groups convene with other groups? For example, many communities have an interfaith organization that brings people from different faiths together to learn and to share. What can we learn from groups that reach across community and groups that work within community?
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a desire among many for more connection and community. Have you seen or participated in new forms of community building? Do you anticipate this yearning for community to continue post-pandemic?