New Report Provides Data on Foundation Diversity
NEW YORK — Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors today released the first of three publications that examine the state of diversity in philanthropy. The series arrives as public pressure grows for foundations to be more responsive to underserved and diverse communities, and foundation leaders reconsider the many ways to incorporate diverse perspectives into solving our greatest challenges.
Published with the goal of encouraging open dialogue in the field, highlighting accomplishments and promising programs, and recommending strategies to address institutional and field changes, the series will include quantitative data, analysis of model diversity programs and commentary by leaders in philanthropy and related fields.
The first report, “Philanthropy in a Changing Society: Achieving Effectiveness through Diversity,” is the most comprehensive examination to date of the major approaches to foundation diversity over the past 25 years. The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors team thoroughly analyzed grant data collected by the Foundation Center and staffing and board composition trends from the Council on Foundations. The team tapped the advice of more than 50 philanthropy professionals and reviewed relevant literature to collect, describe and assess diversity programs and resources, and solicit comment on successes and challenges. These philanthropy leaders include scholars, directors of diversity programs, program participants and executives of major private, community and family foundations and philanthropic associations. Key findings include:
* Overall, there was much progress from 1982 through 2006 among foundations.
* 2006 staff diversity had grown to 23.2 percent, from 12.6 percent in 1982, with board diversity at 13.0 percent from 4.3 percent.
* Program officer diversity reached 35 percent compared with 15.4 percent in 1985.
* The share of grant dollars targeting minority populations increased modestly from 5.9 percent to 7.4 percent of foundation giving analyzed by the Foundation Center in its annual grants sample.
* First half of 25 years saw greatest progress, with growth slower thereafter. While CEO and board diversity more than tripled during the entire period, only 41.5 percent and 32.7 percent of this change, respectively, took place between 1994 through 2006. Since the early 1990s grant dollars targeting minorities hovered just above or below eight percent.
* Diversity within foundations varies greatly by staff title, with program staff representing the greatest diversity and more senior or executive roles less so — a situation similar to other sectors.
* Diversity across foundation types also varies: independent foundations are most diverse among all staff, public foundations have the most diverse boards, and corporate grantmakers the most diverse pool of CEOs.
* While number of grants and grant dollars targeting minority populations did not increase in direct proportion to increases in staff and board diversity, they did seem to increase and stabilize during similar periods.
* Diversity programs evolved as the field became more aware of “inclusiveness” as the ultimate goal, i.e. ensuring the participation of diverse voices, rather than just on diversity head count.
* Generally, programs had positive impact on individual participants and foundations, but limited resources, scale and duration, lack of coordination across foundations, isolated operations, and lack of outcome-oriented evaluations hampered replication or field-wide advocacy.
* Affinity groups that began as informal support networks among staff of color have been the most consistent advocate for increasing diversity and inclusiveness.
“World events have made us increasingly aware of our global interdependence, and the case for diversity has evolved as we gain a better understanding of what it takes to be a truly inclusive society,” saids Melissa Berman, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “We are especially proud to be providing our colleagues with objective information to help them further their institutional missions while reflecting and adapting to a changing society.”
“Philanthropy in a Changing Society” is the result of a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
“Upholding human and individual rights has always been one of our guiding principles,” said Maureen Smyth, senior vice president of programs for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. “We hope our colleagues will join us in exploring and implementing models that will promote greater inclusiveness within the field and, in turn, better help society’s underserved communities.”
Noting that efforts to mobilize leadership are underway through the Diversity in Philanthropy Project, the Council on Foundations and regional associations of grantmakers in California, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York, the authors also recommend the following strategies:
* Increase advocacy, outreach and peer support by networks of foundation leaders grappling with improving effectiveness and responsiveness in the face of rapidly changing demographics.
* Collaborate with emerging donor communities to connect leadership among diverse communities with the larger institutional philanthropy field.
* Improve and expand existing programs that increase the pool of diverse candidates for staff and board positions, support institutional efforts to include diverse voices in all aspects of their work, or efforts to reach out to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities across all program areas.
* Promote field impact through coordinated multiprogram strategies to leverage resources focusing on increasing diversity and inclusiveness, particularly at regional levels.
* Increase research on trends in staffing, board composition and grantmaking so foundations have data to establish benchmarks and monitor progress.
“Philanthropy in a Changing Society: Achieving Effectiveness through Diversity” is available at no cost by contacting email@example.com. A PDF can also be downloaded from www.rockpa.org/ideas_and_perspectives/publications.
About Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (www.rockpa.org) is an independent, nonprofit service that develops and manages thoughtful, effective giving programs for individuals, families, foundations and trusts. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors advises on more than $200 million in annual giving in 60 countries. Headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the organization was originally developed as the private philanthropy service of the Rockefeller family and traces its antecedents to John D. Rockefeller, Sr., who in 1891 began to professionally manage philanthropy “as if it were a business.”
 Analyses include grants of $10,000 or more, as reviewed since 1989, and grants of all amounts examined prior to 1989.