The Online Pay-What-You-Can Power of Difference Certification (PDC)

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Sum Logo

Local Charlottesville Nonprofit Offers Innovative Online Diversity Work Nationally

We are thrilled The Sum is launching this project. We’re excited that people from many fields, both in our local community and the country, have an opportunity to learn from The Sum’s important work.”

— Susan Bro, President: Heather Heyer Foundation, Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA, U.S.A., September 24, 2021 / — The Sum, a local nonprofit founded in 2006, will launch the online, pay-what-you-can Power of Difference Certification on Sunday, October 24th. It will run for 7 weeks and 7 modules through Sunday, December 19 (minus the Thanksgiving holiday week)–approximately 50 hours of work in total.

The PDC represents a radically innovative model that utilizes:
– volunteer facilitators leading small groups (1 to 4 ratio)
– experiential learning
– videos
– reflections
– exploration of our unconscious patterns related to race and other differences
– pre and post measurement
– one-on-one consultation

While it was developed for educators originally, it has been re-tooled for application in diverse fields (e.g. law enforcement, business, HR, healthcare, nonprofits, and government). Its asset-based support focuses on internal transformation to launch both personal and organizational effectiveness and fulfillment and represents the next evolution of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

“We are thrilled to see The Sum launch this project,” says Susan Bro, president of the Heather Heyer Foundation and mother of Heather Heyer who was killed on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville. “We partnered with Elliott and The Sum with tremendous results in the development of a project we called Heyer Voices. Elliott’s work dovetails with our mission of empowerment for positive change. We are excited that people from many fields, both in our local community and the country, have an opportunity to learn from The Sum’s important work. The Sum’s support of internal awareness and transformation is so needed.”

Executive Director, J. Elliott Cisneros adds, “DEI work is changing. We now recognize that the idea of “teaching tolerance” represents a bar that’s set too low. Similarly, no one wants to struggle endlessly against monstrous institutionalized systems and “isms” just for simple equity or inclusion…though I get why some people think that would be a place to start. But what we are really after is much bigger than that. It’s the creation of relationships (with ourselves first), communities, organizations, and a world where we are all seen, honored, and celebrated. Establishing places and opportunities for people to share their stories and listen to others in a safe, structured way can be done really effectively online today. And, truthfully, COVID 19 has helped many of us get more comfortable with this format, so The Sum is excited that now is the right time.”

When: Sunday, Sunday October 24th, 2021 through Sunday, December 19, 2021 (minus the week of the Thanksgiving holiday).
Where: 100% online
Cost: Pay what you can (we ask for donations to help cover a stipend for volunteer facilitators).
Organizations that wish to send more than one person we ask to donate accordingly: $400 for two people; $800 for 4 people, etc. (this allows us to keep our facilitator ratio at 1 to 4).
Format: 7 week-long modules (50 hours total)
Credit: 3 graduate level credits or 30 CEUs available.
Details or to register: click here

J. Elliott Cisneros, Executive Director
The Sum 501(c)3
PO Box 2754,
Charlottesville, VA 22902

About the organization: The Sum, a 501(c)3, was founded in 2006 in Colorado and relocated to Charlottesville after the events of August 11th and 12th, 2017. It’s founder, Elliott Cisneros, co-created the Power of Difference Model© (PDM) and the Power of Difference Assessment© (PDA) with Dr. Carla Sherrell of Naropa University, as well as the online Power of Difference Institute (PDI) and Power of Difference Video Project (PDVP). The Sum’s mission is “Launch personal and organizational fulfillment through the rocket fuel of our differences.”



J. Elliott Cisneros
The Sum
+1 434-260-9377
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