aka Umoja - A Black Heritage Experience   |   Appleton, WI   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 27-3970232


UMOJA, INC will empower transracial families (primarily families with black children and parents of another culture) to raise children that will have a positive black identity, be able to talk about race in an honest and open way, feel comfortable in all different cultures, and handle basic skin and hair care. We will do that by providing a powerful weekend experience for the entire family, which will include age appropriate breakout sessions and large group cultural celebrations.

Notes from the nonprofit

We are a small non-profit that is run completely by volunteers. We support families that are fostering or have adopted Black children. The majority of the families have parents that are white. Our overall goal is to help these families raise the children to have a positive Black identity. Because most of what we do is at a conference, the majority of the families attending are from the Midwest, although some families have flown in. Our biggest challenge is finding funders that are interested in our particular focus with a limited geographical reach. However, we have done a lot with little resources. Two more operational goals would be to get to the point of having an Executive Director AND to give grants to families that can't afford the expense of the conference. There is more to do and we need the resources to do it.

Ruling year info



Julie Ryno


Dr. Bola Delano

Main address

4326 N Bull Rush Dr

Appleton, WI 54913 USA

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Subject area info

Cultural awareness

Human services

Population served info

Children and youth


Foster and adoptive parents

Foster and adoptive children

People of African descent

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Tax forms

Show Forms 990


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Umoja - A Black Heritage Experience

UMOJA: A Black Heritage Experience is a grassroots project organized by adoptive parents working with African Heritage, Inc. to develop and produce a family weekend black heritage experience for transracial adoptive families. Speakers and programs share black cultural information about identity, race, history, food, dance and music. It also provides a safe environment for black children in white families to learn social interaction with other blacks, so that they can feel comfortable in both cultures.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Foster and adoptive parents
Foster and adoptive children

Where we work

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback



Assets info

BMF Data: IRS Business Master File

Financial data

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: 2023

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Contributions, Grants, Gifts $6,132
Program Services $0
Membership Dues $0
Special Events $37,080
Other Revenue $6,566
Total Revenue $49,778
Program Services $60,252
Administration $2,320
Fundraising $2,082
Payments to Affiliates $0
Other Expenses $55,851
Total Expenses $60,252


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: 2023

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Total Assets $7,330
Total Liabilities $1,878
Fund balance (EOY)
Net Assets $5,384


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Julie Ryno

Julie Ryno is the white adoptive parent of two African-American children. Professionally, Ms Ryno retired in 2022 as the National Sales Manager for Diversified Woodcrafts, Inc. Ms Ryno co-founded Umoja in 2005 with Dr. Bola Delano because there were no black heritage camps in the Midwest at the time. She has used her marketing skills to develop the camp, while Dr. Delano worked on the programming for the heritage experience. In addition to Umoja, Ms Ryno has been a board member for African Heritage Inc., the Council for Art Education, the Hands On Science Partnership and Ed Market Association Board of Directors. In 2012 Ms Ryno was awarded the Champion of Adoption Award by the state of Wisconsin for her work with Umoja. In 2019 Mr Ryno received the highest award in the education marketplace; The David McCurragh Award.


Bola Delano

Dr. Bola Delano-Oriaran is currently Divisional Dean for Social Sciences, Professor of Education and Director of Student-Teaching Abroad at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. Delano-Oriaran is the founder and co-founder of numerous initiatives, including African Heritage, Inc., Umoja, a Black Heritage program for transracial families with Black/African-American children and the African Heritage Emerging Student Leaders Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards on diversity issues and community change, including the 2020 Ethics in Action Award, Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioner Award, the City of Appleton’s Toward Community Unity in Diversity Award, St. Norbert College’s Scholarship Award, the Wisconsin State Human Relations Association’s Outstanding Human Relations Educator Award, and St. Norbert College’s Bishop Morneau Community Service Award. She was also recognized as one of the 28 most influential African-Americans in Wisconsin.

There are no officers, directors or key employees recorded for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Julie Ryno


Term: 2024 - 2011

Sabrina Robins

AbaCor an Abaxent CO

Darin Smith

Center for Novel Therapeutics in Addiction Psychiatry

Brenda G Juarez

University of South Alabama

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/30/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/30/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.