Giving Compass' Take:

• Vu Le at Nonprofit AF discusses the main reasons why more executive directors of color are stepping down from their positions and why it is important for funders to take notice. 

• Research shows that EDs of color are more likely to experience leadership challenges such as inadequate salary and lack of a relationship to funding sources comparatively to their white counterparts. How can donors prioritize and help address funding issues for EDs of color? 

•  Read about examples of funders who are pushing philanthropic donations toward people of color. 

I am stepping down as Executive Director of my organization Rainier Valley Corps by this December. RVC is in a great place, thanks to our team, board, partners, and supporters, so it is a good time for me to take a break from being an ED. It’s been 12 consecutive years of that; I need to rest and recharge and spend more time with my family and Netflix.

While my transition is extremely positive—my board is awesome and supportive; the team is really great; it’s completely my decision to step down; and we have a nice timeline to find my replacement—honestly the reality is that I’m also really exhausted. And I am not the only one. EDs/CEOs of color have been leaving their positions left and right. In the past few months alone, I know of at least a dozen EDs/CEOs of color in my region who left their positions. More across the sector. There’s not many of us to begin with, as only 10% nonprofit leaders are POC, so this is a serious problem for our sector. The attrition of POC leaders is an urgent issue we’ve been ignoring, and it will have serious implications for our sector. All of us need to pay attention to these issues, especially funders.

So why are POC leaders leaving their ED jobs, and what can we do about it? There are several reasons, and it is important for us to understand them. There has been some important research done on this topic. The Race to Lead report by the Building Movement Project, for example, discovered that EDs/CEOs of color were more likely to experience leadership challenges like inadequate salary (49% POC leaders reported experiencing this problem vs. 34% of white leaders); lack of relationship with funding sources (49% POC vs. 33% White); and being called on the represent one’s entire community (53% vs. 23%).

Read the full article about why executive directors of color are leaving their jobs by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.