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Philanthropy Associations and Networks Show Some Progress on Staff Diversity

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

In order for United Philanthropy Forum members, or any organization, to be authentic leaders in addressing issues of racial equity, their staffs and boards should be diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. Diversity alone is not enough, but it’s an important aspect of engaging in this work. That’s why the Forum is committed to regularly tracking and lifting up data on the staff and board diversity of our organization and our members.

Last year we conducted our first-ever compensation and benefits survey for all regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), which included a look at PSO staff demographics. Our 2018 Compensation & Benefits for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report, out this week, shows some signs that PSOs are making progress in staff diversity. The report is based on the responses of 55 regional and national PSOs, representing nearly three-quarters of the Forum’s membership.

The 2018 report reveals that 40% of PSO staff are people of color, which is an increase from 34% in 2017 and is similar to the 39% of the U.S. population who are people of color. The PSO figure is significantly larger than the 26% of U.S. foundation staff who are people of color (according to the latest Council on Foundations data), indicating that PSO staff are more racially and ethnically diverse than the field that they work to advance, inform and support.

PSO staff diversity clearly varies by organization size. For PSOs with budgets under $500,000, 81% of staff are white, compared to 58% for PSOs with budgets over $2.5 million.

It’s important to look not just at the diversity of all PSO staff but the diversity of PSOs’ senior leadership, and the Forum’s report shows that more work needs to be done at the chief executive level. Just 27% of chief executives of PSOs are people of color, according to the report, which is significantly lower than the 40% of all PSO staff who are people of color. However, this figure is up from 22% in 2017, and it is still much higher than the 10% of chief executives who are people of color at both U.S. foundations (according to the COF data) and U.S. nonprofits (according to BoardSource data). Also, the percentage of CEOs of regional PSOs who are people of color has nearly doubled from 13% to 24% in the past six years—another sign of progress.

You can download two different summary compensation & benefits reports—a one-page Highlights report and three-page Executive Summary—from the Forum’s website. (The full report is only available to Forum members and other survey respondents.) In late October, the Forum will release a companion key metrics report that will include a look at the diversity of PSO boards.

This compensation & benefits report is part of the Forum’s mission to advance, inform and support the vital work of PSOs in the philanthropy field. Our tracking of diversity data in the report is part of our ongoing efforts to help all PSOs advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion in philanthropy.

David Biemesderfer
President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum
Follow me @dbiemesderfer