What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• A report published by the Building Movement Project surveys nonprofit leaders of color to shed light on the pervasiveness of the nonprofit racial leadership gap.
• How can donors help create more social capital pipelines and increase funding sources for nonprofit leaders of color? What are the major barriers for diverse nonprofit leadership?
• Read about the benefits of nonprofits that empower leaders of color.
Despite the growing attention paid to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), entrenched disparities driven by white privilege continue to dominate the nonprofit sector, a report from the Building Movement Project finds.
A follow-up to a series of reports based on a 2016 survey, the report, Race to Lead Revisited: Obstacles and opportunities in addressing the nonprofit racial leadership gap (49 pages, PDF), found that entrenched biases in the sector disadvantage leaders of color and that DEI efforts and growing awareness of systemic racial injustice have not led to significant change.
Based on a 2019 survey of more than five thousand nonprofit staff, the report confirmed the earlier survey's findings that while respondents of color and white respondents had similar levels of educational attainment and were roughly equally distributed across the organization from the administrative support to senior manager/director levels, fewer people of color held executive director or CEO positions.
Indeed, the racial gap at the top widened over the three years between surveys, from 23 percent of white respondents and 20 percent of respondents of color holding executive director or CEO positions in 2016, to 26 percent of white respondents and 17 percent of respondents of color in 2019.
The data demonstrates that nonprofit organizations are defined by a pervasive and systemic white advantage, a term used in this report to describe the concrete ways that structure and power in nonprofit organizations reinforce the benefits of whiteness. This is particularly evident when comparing organizations run by white people and organizations led by people of color. The data shows notable differences in the experiences of both people of color and white respondents based on the racial composition of their organization’s leadership.