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Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap

October 18, 2017
8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

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 will focus on the racial leadership gap that the nonprofit sector is experiencing. 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.

Please join the Boston Foundation, Barr Foundation and Race to Lead report authors Sean Thomas-Breitfeld and Frances Kunreuther for a presentation of 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.

Watch a video of the forum.    Download the report.    Download the presentation.

Understanding Boston

Understanding Boston is a series of forums, educational events and research providing information and insight into issues affecting Boston. This section contains a growing number of reports about Greater Boston that the Boston Foundation has developed through partnerships with government and local institutions.

The Boston Foundation’s civic leadership is conducted through our Understanding Boston formula for positive change. With an emphasis on strengthening the region’s competitiveness in the global economy, the Foundation works with an array of partners to convene task forces of experts and stakeholders, publish cutting-edge research and hold public forums to create action agendas for real change.

  • Civic Engagement

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    Over the last decade, the Boston Foundation has established itself as a major civic leader in Greater Boston and the region. Through its Understanding Boston series and with crucial support from the Civic Leadership Fund, the Foundation identifies challenges facing the city and region, commissions fresh research and shares information through a series of forums that thousands of people attend each year.

  • Community Safety

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    The Boston Foundation believes that the children and families of Greater Boston deserve to live in neighborhoods that are safe, clean and free of violence. As such, it works with its partners in the nonprofit and public sectors to develop positive activities for the city’s young people and strengthen neighborhood-based organizing designed to create safe and vibrant communities.

  • Cultural Vitality

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    The Boston Foundation believes that culture is integral to the educational, economic and social fabric of the lives of those living in Greater Boston and Massachusetts.  Vibrant cultural scenes vitalize communities and enhance the lives of those inhabiting them while attracting new residents, visitors, restaurants and other businesses.

  • Education

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    The Boston Foundation is deeply committed to strengthening the city and region’s education pipeline—from K-12 education in Boston’s public schools through college completion and into the adult workforce—which is crucial to Greater Boston’s competitiveness in the global economy.

  • Health & Human Services

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    The Boston Foundation focuses on encouraging healthy behaviors among Boston residents, increasing access to healthy food, providing more opportunities for physical activity and making Massachusetts the national leader in health and wellness.
  • Housing & Community Development

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    The livability and affordability of Boston’s neighborhoods is crucial for families to create strong foundations needed to achieve economic success and thrive in our competitive innovation economy. Affordable housing is a building block of vibrant communities and the Boston Foundation focuses on increasing neighborhood stability through its production and preservation.

  • Nonprofit Sector

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    With its commitment to strengthen and improve the quality of life in Greater Boston and the region, the Boston Foundation is deeply invested in the vitality of the entire nonprofit sector in Boston and across the state. Since its founding in 1915, the Foundation and its many donors have made more than $1 billion in grants to nonprofit organizations, including nearly $78 million in 2011 alone.
  • Philanthropy

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    As one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country—and the first community foundation to make a grant—the Boston Foundation is committed to examining the impact of philanthropy—and the challenges faced by foundations and charitable individuals in the 21st century--in our city and state.

  • Workforce Development

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    To ensure that Boston’s economy is thriving, residents must have access to training and education that lead to jobs with family-sustaining wages.  Building a jobs pipeline for Greater Boston and Massachusetts is crucial to the economic vitality of the city and region.  As such, workforce development is a major focus of the Boston Foundation’s civic leadership activities.

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