Goodwill's Chief Diversity Officer Discusses the Great Migration

    [fa icon="calendar"] Feb 16, 2024 11:15:00 AM / by Sam Stockman

    Sam Stockman


    Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana continues its celebration of Black History Month by spotlighting African American leaders across the organization. Ivan P. Cropper, Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Chief Diversity Officer at Goodwill, sees February as a pivotal time to set the tone for the rest of the year – an opportunity to reflect on the influence of African Americans and those who paved the way for future generations.

    "Black history is American history, and although we emphasize it in February, it’s no less important throughout the year," Ivan said.

    Black History Month provides a space to recognize Black people’s contributions to America’s successes, which have had an enduring impact. Ivan recalls being influenced by figures such as Jesse Jackson running for president in the 1980s and being drawn to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From Spike Lee’s thought-provoking films to Oprah Winfrey’s journey from actor to executive producer in "The Color Purple," Ivan acknowledges the challenges these individuals faced to achieve success.

    Ivan's family history is intertwined with the Great Migration – a period of time between 1910 and 1970 when African Americans left the Jim Crow south behind in pursuit of opportunities up north. His mother, father and grandmother left Virginia and North Carolina in the 60s and 70s, with his grandmother selling her established corner store to join her son in Connecticut, where Ivan was later raised.

    In response to the events surrounding George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana looked inward to determine its role in fostering a better and more equitable world. The organization appointed Ivan as Chief Diversity Officer, entrusting him to lead the effort in championing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout the organization. Under Ivan's guidance, Goodwill incorporated DEI into its strategic plan, encouraging all departments to develop their own equity work plans that complement the organization's plans.

    "Being the Chief Diversity Officer is understanding the broad spectrum of where people find themselves,” Ivan said. “It's about ensuring that programs and learning opportunities are in place to meet people where they are and allow them to continue their education within that space."

    Ivan remains committed to collaborating daily with people from all walks of life. Similar to his parents and grandparents who sought to create opportunities for their futures, Ivan strives to create opportunities for the individuals we employ, educate and serve at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.

    "People of color have been on this continent for centuries, making contributions to American life,” Ivan noted. “I genuinely appreciate the people we work with day-to-day and what they bring to the table. Their open hearts and minds for people of all walks of life are evident every day. I’m happy to be a part of it."


    To learn more about the strategic plan visit our website. 

    Topics: Leadership Spotlight, Strategic Plan, DEI, Black History Month

    Sam Stockman

    Written by Sam Stockman

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