The Hewlett Foundation began collecting information about the demographic makeup of its grantees in 2018 as part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Just as we collect and publish the demographics of our staff and board, we view the demographic data of our grantees as a critical input to help us understand who we are partnering with, and to inform and improve our practices for finding partners.

The purpose of collecting this data is not to grade specific organizations—in fact, we examine the data in aggregate fashion, anonymized so no program officer gets the data of any individual arts organization, think tank, advocacy group, or other grantee. That’s because our goal is to improve our own work: to know if we are supporting an inclusive and diverse set of organizations, and identify where we need to correct gaps and deficiencies or root out implicit biases in our selection processes. Aggregate information about the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of our grantees—including their staff, leadership, and board—helps us better interrogate how we ourselves are working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Among the key findings:

Across the foundation’s grantee organizations, there was an increase in diversity of race and ethnicity between 2018 and 2019, including a six-point increase in organizations led by people of color. However, there are important differences by budget: the larger the organization’s annual operating budget, the more likely its leadership is to be white and male.

Across the foundation’s U.S. grantee pool, staff who identify as Black or African American are represented in roughly the same proportion as in the overall population (12% of the typical grantee’s staff, compared with 13% of the overall U.S. population), while staff who identify as Asian or Asian-American staff are somewhat over-represented (11%, compared with 6% in the overall U.S. population) and staff who identify as Hispanic, Latino or Latina are somewhat under-represented (11% again, compared with 18% in the overall population).

While the typical grantee’s staff tilted female in every program, the likelihood of a woman leading a grantee organization varied widely depending on the program—from a low of 29% and 30% in our Cyber Initiative and U.S. Democracy Program, respectively, to a high of 69% and 76% in Global Development and Population and Serving Bay Area Communities programs.

Read the full article about supporting inclusion by Larry Kramer, Sara Davis, and Charmaine Mercer at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.