Philanthropic Sector Diversity at the Executive Level

The Council on Foundations recently released, The State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector. As Associations Now reports, researchers generally found “a clearly diverse philanthropic sector,” however, the rate of change has stagnated having shown no growth in the last decade. Despite the diversity in the field overall, the trend was not reflected at the executive level:

The problem that the council sees is that this progress on diversity is not being reflected at the executive level, with 12.4 percent of executives being minorities and 55.1 percent being women.

‘The representation of women and racial/ethnic minorities decreases as you move from the administrative level, to the professional level, to the executive level staff,’ the report states.

The report points out other notable trends that capture the changing demographic landscape of the philanthropic sector.

  • Further disaggregation revealed that while the overall rate of change in the number of women holding leadership positions has been increasing over the 5 years studied , that rate actually decreased when only considering foundations with over $2 billion in assets by -.5 to -3.8 percent.
  • When reviewing staff composition by ethnicity and age, researchers noted that the gap between white (78%) and minority (22%) staff over 40 was larger than the gap between staff under 40, 68% and 32%, respectively.

PEAK Grantmaking has a deep commitment to strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in philanthropy. We are working to create a more diverse profession by researching and ultimately providing grantmaker employers with information and resources to cast a wider net for qualified candidates. This work is being funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation “to support the work of leading philanthropic and nonprofit infrastructure organizations to advance racial equity and sector effectiveness and to expand the reach within their spheres of influence.”

How is your organization working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion? What are some ways to promote more diversity at the executive level? Give us your two cents in the comments section below.

Victor Gongora

Victor Gongora is Effective Practices Project Manager at PEAK Grantmaking. Find him on Twitter @PEAK_Victor.