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Diversity in Philanthropy and DiverseCity

July 29, 2012

Early summer brought some interesting news from the USA and Canada about diversity in the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors. 

First, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a recent study by a Carleton University professor for DiverseCity, a joint initiative of Maytree and the Civic Action Fund, found the rates of “visible minorities” to be dismally low on nonprofit boards.  Two interesting points – (1) the number of South Asians, while still low, is actually at the high end among all communities of color (at 3.4% only).  (2) The report recommends that Toronto-area nonprofits strive for at least 30% representation by visible minorities on their boards.  I’m not sure I would recommend quotas like the 30% figure but I think it is important to recognize the importance of critical mass (versus tokenizing individual minority board members).

South of the border in the US, the D5 Coalition (a group of foundations and philanthropic organizations working on diversity in the sector) released a new report entitled, State of the Work 2012, about their efforts so far.  D5 has created resources to help US private foundations “recruit new leaders who more closely reflect the country’s demographic trends, increase funding within diverse communities, and be more transparent about data collection with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the sector.” 

We at SAPP look forward to more activities like this in the future, diversifying the philanthropic sector – and hopefully including more South Asians as donors, board members, foundation officers, grantmakers, fundraisers, and managers.

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