Race to Lead

Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap

October 18, 2017

Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap

Building on the Boston Foundation's Nonprofit Effectiveness work and the spring release of Opportunity in Change: Preparing Boston for Leader Transitions and New Models of Nonprofit Leadership, this forum focused on the racial leadership gap that the nonprofit sector is experiencing.

Race to Lead report cover Download Race to Lead

Studies show the percentage of people of color in executive director/CEO roles has remained under 20% for the last 15 years, even as the country and the people nonprofits serve have become more and more diverse. To understand the causes of this disparity, the Building Movement Project conducted a survey with more than 4,000 nonprofits on the topic of nonprofits, leadership and race.

At this forum, the Boston Foundation, Barr Foundation and Race to Lead report authors Sean Thomas-Breitfeld and Frances Kunreuther presented the results, including new analysis of Massachusetts data, which calls into question the common assumption that to increase the diversity of nonprofit leaders, people of color need more training. The findings point to a new narrative: to increase the number of people of color as leaders, the nonprofit sector needs to begin by addressing the practices and biases of nonprofit organizations themselves.

View the forum presentation.

Read the related blog post by Associate Vice President for Programs Jennifer Aronson.