Giving Compass' Take:

• Many organizations are falling short when it comes to board diversity, jeopardizing their bridging capacity as well as the promise of their missions.

• What are ways to increase board diversity along with inclusion initiatives at nonprofit organizations? How can funders help them achieve these goals? 

• Read more about why we are struggling with diversity in nonprofit governance. 

People who get all their news from the front page, the home page, or the first 10 minutes of the evening news could be forgiven for seeing in the United States a country irretrievably fractured along unbridgeable fault lines.

But look a little more closely and you’ll see a different picture. You will see a country with disagreements on important issues, yes, but also a civil society held together to a significant degree by more than a million and a half nonprofit groups — such as religious institutions, neighborhood associations, kids’ sports leagues, and educational organizations. Each has a mission: to do important work that makes this a better world. And each has a board of directors, citizens who, in their free time, work hard to steward the group’s affairs and keep it focused effectively on its mission.

In the area of diversity, however, many boards and many organizations are falling short, jeopardizing their bridging capacity as well as the promise of their missions. Too many boards are not racially diverse and reflect neither the society around them nor the people they serve.

Effective nonprofit boards exercise strategic and thoughtful leadership that helps organizations achieve their missions, and they bring citizens together in meaningful ways, building connections within and among communities.

Diverse boards are not the only answer to what ails our not-always-civil society. But without them, change cannot take root; they are an important and powerful part of our ongoing journey toward civility.

Read the full article about board diversity by Carrie Irvin and Michael Lomax at The 74.