In the U.S., underrepresented ethnic groups make up 40% of the population but only 12.5% of board directors. Black directors make up just 4% and Black women make up just 1.5% of the 20,000 plus directors. And according to a 2021, Fortune magazine article on women CEOs, in 2021, the number of women running businesses on the Fortune 500 hit an all-time record: 41. However, of the 41, only six are women of color and two identify as Black women.

And, if you look at the leadership of public institutions, nonprofit organizations and commissions, you’ll find that without an intentional focus, the issue is the same. Though we do not yet have this specific data in Maryland, and a bill put forth by Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones may begin to address this issue, we can make a reasonable assumption that the data in our state is similar.

Enter, philanthropy.

Introduced by Speaker Jones during the last legislative session, House Bill 1210 is intended to encourage organizations to address issues related to board and leadership diversity. Inspired by HB1210, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County has invested in helping to create a pipeline of women of color leaders through a new funding partnership with The 3rd and The Highland Project — this partnership is to implement a leadership development program for women of color in Howard County.

Read the full article about WOC in positions of leadership by Candace Dodson-Reed and Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz at Maryland Matters.