Foundations with few or no staff say racial equity is very relevant to their mission and are making grants that reflect close connections to communities and causes but the same can’t be said of board composition and staff. According to Exponent Philanthropy’s 2019 Foundation Operations and Management Report, 72 percent report racial equity as somewhat or very relevant to their mission, with almost two in five (37 percent) reporting that racial equity was “very relevant” to their mission. Yet, 75 percent of boards have no people of color and only 15 percent have one person of color.
According to BoardSource research, the diversity of boards today has not increased over the past two years and seems unlikely to change anytime soon based on current recruitment practices (BoardSource, 2017). These findings are extremely disheartening given the increased attention that diversity, inclusion, and equity have received over the past few years. A panel of nonprofit scholars and professionals convened at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) conference on November 16, 2018, to consider why nonprofit governance is still struggling with these issues.
Diversity and inclusion are critical issues for all nonprofit organizations. It needs to be addressed on all levels for a nonprofit organization from the clients (or survivors that are served by the agency), staff, and the Board of Directors. This database has key resources (articles and tools) that addresses inclusion and diversity for a nonprofit Board of Directors.
BoardSource created this report in an effort to better understand the particular dynamics of foundation boards and involved taking a close look at the subset of responses from the 141 foundation leaders who completed the Leading with Intent 2017 survey. While the sample of foundation responses is relatively small and a convenience versus representative or randomized sample, we believe the report nonetheless provides important insights into the dynamics at play within some foundation boards.
The 2017 version of Leading with Intent, from BoardSource, is a treasure trove of information about nonprofit board trends, but its purview is far too broad for us to manage in the context of one article. Therefore, NPQ will divide its coverage into a small series, with this first being the headliner. We mean for these pieces to further both exploration and action, so look for our webinar series that will launch next week in combination with BoardSource.
The diversity findings from BoardSource’s 2017 report Leading with Intent, highlighted the decline in board diversity and that boards are not prioritizing demographics when recruiting even as nonprofits express dissatisfaction with their boards’ diversity. This webinar aims to answer questions surrounding creating a culture of inclusion and creating a will of change within the board.