November 17, 2017

ICYMI: Reckoning With Race

Meyer has become a better place to work and a better funder because of what its people have learned about racism, oppression and its legacy. “It’s not an exaggeration,” said Meyer CEO Doug Stamm, “to say that we are an entirely different organization.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion can sometimes be philanthropic catchphrases.

So Marc Gunter, editor of the Nonprofit Chronicles, checked in on Meyer earlier this autumn to look into how our focus on equity has changed who we are and what we do.

A new survey of more than 1,500 nonprofits found that 90 percent of their chief executives, 90 percent of their board chairs, and 84 percent of their board members identify as white. Some 27 percent of boards identify as all white. The survey, published in a report called Leading with Intent by a group called BoardSource, found that boards are less diverse than they were in 2015, when the research group conducted a similar survey.

These is nonprofits, mind you, not foundations. But foundations, it appears, do little better. A recent Chronicle of Philanthropy analysis of the 20 wealthiest national foundations found that 72 percent of trustees are white. Non-Hispanic whites account for about 61 percent of the US population.

Does this matter? Absolutely, says Doug Stamm, the chief executive of the Meyer Memorial Trust, which lately has been engaged in what it calls an equity journey. It has put the issues of diversity and inclusion front and center for the Meyer trust and, increasingly, for the nonprofits that it supports.

Read more of Marc's report about Meyer here. And check out his journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact at nonprofitchronicles.com.