An afternoon session here at the Council on Foundations annual meeting tackled the big questions behind foundation-board diversity, including perhaps the biggest: how to explain the gap between talking about making boards more diverse and the current reality.
According to recent studies, 8 percent to 14 percent of nonprofit CEO’s and board members are minorities. Many in the discussion session believed that the gap was a lack of will. While most people would like to see foundation boards become more diverse, very few foundations have put in the necessary leg work and pushed themselves outside of their comfort zones to ask people from different backgrounds, speakers said.
“I don’t believe the will will be expressed by most boards whether they are philanthropic boards or corporate boards,” said Charlynn Goins, chairman of the board at the New York Community Trust.
Ms. Goins said she believes some external pressure needed to spur boards to become more diverse.
Continue the conversation here. What do you think? Post your thoughts about how to improve foundation-board diversity—or the diversity of charity leadership as a whole—in the comments below.
Plus, read an opinion article from the latest issue of The Chronicle, in which leaders of three of the biggest foundations in the United States urge other grant makers to do more to make a push for diversity.