Racial and Ethnic Diversity at Nonprofit Foundations Nearing Historic Levels of Representation and Inclusion

If there’s one sector where diversity and inclusion efforts are succeeding, above all others, it might just be the world of nonprofits and philanthropic foundations. A new survey of nearly 2,400 men and women working at 124 different foundations conducted by CHANGE Philanthropy, a coalition of philanthropy groups, found that about 45% of staff and board members at these organizations identified as people of color.

Kay Dervishi of NYN Media reported that this year’s survey revealed a significant increase of Black, Asian American and Latino respondents working within the nonprofit sector over the previous year.

But despite the gains, Dervishi noted the increases aren’t happening equally or being spread evenly across organizations. 

“Community foundations struggle the most, with less than one-third of their staff and board members having identified as people of color in the survey,” Dervishi reported. “Corporate funders also reported that just 40% of their professionals were people of color. The two types of funders also reported fewer LGBTQ staff and board members, and corporate funders had the lowest number of participants that said they had a disability.”

According to Dervishi, the report revealed that nonprofits headquartered in the Northeast region of the U.S. had the most racial, ethnic and gender diversity.

“More than half of respondents [were] people of color,” Dervishi reported. “The region also saw the greatest percentage of gender-nonconforming, genderqueer and nonbinary participants, and the greatest percentage of people born outside of the United States.”

As with most organizations or foundations seeking to improve diversity and inclusion, there is always room for growth and opportunity; according to Dervishi, the two demographics with fewer respondents compared to previous years were Indigenous and Middle Eastern people.



For more on CHANGE Philanthropy and their work, click here.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.