New report finds gender representation stagnant among US philanthropy leadership


Alliance magazine


The proportions of women and people of racial and ethnic minorities in philanthropic leadership levels has been stagnant over the past decade, according to a new report from the Council on Foundations.

The report, titled ‘The State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector,’ found that representation of ‘women and racial/ethnic minorities’ declined with each new leadership level – from administrative to professional to executive – despite efforts to make foundations more diverse.

The report drew on data collected from 455 foundation survey responses over a four-year period, and matched the information with ‘observational data’ from over 6,000 foundation positions in 2006 and more than 8,000 positions in 2011.

‘Our report raises important questions about why there hasn’t been more change in the diversity of our institutions in recent years, despite the steps taken to create a more diverse and inclusive philanthropic sector,’ said Council on Foundations President and CEO Vikki Spruill.

Women represented 77 percent of professional positions in 2015, according to the report. However, despite the steady representation within the philanthropy workforce, only 60 percent of executive leadership positions examined were held by women. This data aligns with information presented in the 2016 Full Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report, published in July. This report showed that representation of women in leadership roles declined in larger foundations, where women represented less than half of the CEOs.

The report also found that representation of racial and ethnic minorities increased 4.1 percent from 2006 to 2015 within foundations with more than $1 billion in assets. However, while larger foundations had more diverse staffs, ‘there was little change in the proportions of racial/ethnic minority staff over that time period,’ with less than one percent growth over a five-year period.

The September issue of Alliance looks at issues of diversity in global philanthropy.

Tagged in: Council on Foundations

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