Since 2020, we’ve seen a greater sense of urgency to address racial inequities in the social sector—especially around access to power and resources. As the largest source of nonprofit demographic data, at Candid we’re often asked whether this push has resulted in actual change. Are more people of color serving in nonprofit leadership roles? Have we closed the racial leadership gap?

The answer is…yes and no. For this article, we use our archival demographic data to examinei whether there has been an increase in racial diversity among nonprofit leaders between 2020 and 2023. Here are our top three takeaways.

  1. There were no major shifts in the overall racial representation of nonprofit CEOs at the sector level 
  2. Roughly 2% of organizations indicated a change between BIPOC, white, and other leaders each year 
  3. When there was a change between BIPOC, white, and other, it was often a shift from a white CEO to a BIPOC CEO 

In short, there is no simple answer to the question: “Did nonprofit leadership become more racially diverse after 2020?” On the one hand, our analysis suggests that the overall racial distribution of nonprofit CEOs has remained constant over the past four years, with more than 70% of CEOs in the sector identifying as white. On the other hand, when we narrow our focus to the 2% of organizations with new CEOs of a different race, we see that in 2022 and 2023, there were twice as many organizations that hired a BIPOC CEO upon the departure of a white CEO, as those that hired a white CEO upon the departure of a BIPOC CEO. This analysis leaves us cautiously optimistic that we are starting to see changes when it comes to racial diversity in nonprofit leadership. Only time—and more data—will tell whether these small shifts will lead to systemic change.

Read the full article about diverse nonprofit leadership by Mantin Diomande at Candid.