Survey finds increasing racial, ethnic diversity at foundations

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The racial and ethnic diversity of staff and board members is increasing across the philanthropic sector, according to a survey released this month, with 45% of respondents identifying as people of color.

CHANGE Philanthropy, a coalition of philanthropic groups, heard from 2,390 people at 124 foundations for its latest report analyzing the diversity of foundations and other funders. This year’s report found the number of Black, Asian American and Latino respondents increased, though the number of Indigenous and Middle Eastern people responding to the survey decreased.

But that increased diversity hasn’t been equally spread throughout the sector. 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. 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 the report, the Northeast region had the greatest racial and ethnic diversity among its foundations, with more than half of respondents being people of color. 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.