The U.S. is becoming more racially diverse. Since 2010, 96% of all U.S. counties registered an increase in their percentage of nonwhite residents. Yet the people who lead nonprofits in the U.S. remain disproportionately white.
This mismatch can make it difficult for such organizations to understand and address racial inequality in their community and throughout the country.
While researchers, funders and community leaders often highlight the dismal levels of racial diversity among nonprofit boards, an even greater disparity often goes overlooked. Not mentioned is the fact that scarcely 10% of nonprofit executive directors are people of color.
A few major nonprofits are led by people of color, such as Darren Walker the president of the Ford Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the country, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the CEO of Feeding America, the biggest U.S. group fighting hunger, and Angela Williams the CEO of Easterseals, a nonprofit that provides disability services. But these are exceptions among both large and smaller nonprofits.
What’s more, research suggests that this situation is likely to continue for years to come.
Community organizations, like neighborhood associations, food pantries and mentoring programs are places where every member of society can develop leadership skills, participate in civic life and influence public policy. The underrepresentation of leaders of color in such organizations can hinder efforts to address racial inequality and racial tensions.
Read more at The Conversation.