Episode 28 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.

You can immediately tell by the name of his blog, Nonprofit AF, that Vu Le is not afraid to challenge the status quo. And he is certainly willing to alert others to the inequities in society that community-based organizations (CBOs) deal with daily and the misconceptions and inefficiencies he sees within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Le decided to concentrate his career on social work because he saw the need. He also witnessed that the inherent bias that plagues general society also shows up in practices of nonprofits, often limiting opportunities for people who could bring significant value to the organization. This includes the lack of diversity at the higher levels of nonprofits, hiring practices that focus too much on formal education rather than lived experience, and a “cultural fit” mentality that may unintentionally discriminate – all areas he feels nonprofits should address. “The way that we think about qualifications, the way we interview, the way we judge candidates, these are all things that have to change,” says Le.

Le feels that strengthening the nonprofit sector means becoming more forceful to actively revamp practices and address the "BS" that has hampered progress. He would like to see less of a focus on the cost of providing services and pressure placed on funders to invest more in infrastructure, including higher living wages for nonprofit employees. Le realizes that this is not popular but is necessary to provide better services while also encouraging employees to stay within the sector. “We are getting very tired of putting up with a lot of BS in this sector, like this constant focus on overhead,” explains Le. “We have to do a much better job with it because it's driving people out of the sector.”

To move forward, have a stronger voice, and be more efficient, Le believes CBOs must ramp-up collaboration, break out of their silos, and end the “Hunger Games” mentality of fighting for resources. He points out that some are adopting this improved model through sharing resources by working out of hubs that handle back-office duties, freeing the organizations to concentrate on services. And while this may be difficult because the types of services offered are diverse, Le feels that the responsibility to the communities served requires this change.

Le knows that shaking up the nonprofit, private enterprise, and governmental systems to provide needed services is no easy task. However, to get the job done means being heard and not being afraid to call attention wherever it’s needed. And Le will certainly not shy away from that responsibility.

Listen to Vu Le as he points out why the status quo in the nonprofit sector needs to be shaken-up to deal with biases and inefficiencies in Episode 28 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, and Beech Acres Parenting Center. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

Subscribe on  Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify

Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.