The D5 coalition, on a mission to advance philanthropy’s diversity, equity and inclusion, just released the State of the Work 2013 report, which examines the diversity in today’s philanthropic sector.
D5 defines diversity as those who bring a unique perspective or life experience to the decision-making table, but focusing particularly on:
- Racial and ethnic groups: Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas, African-Americans and other blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives
- LGBT populations
- People with disabilities
Foundation Data Before Grantee Data
According to the D5 report, while a growing number of foundations are asking grantees for data on diversity, equity and inclusion, very few foundations are tracking that same data in their own organizations. As a result, sector-wide data aren’t available to answer the question of how much diversity exists in philanthropy today.
D5 is calling for greater transparency – from foundations that already have diversity data and from a greater number of foundations overall to collect and report on their diversity.
I support the goal of sector-wide data collection and transparency on diversity. I believe that data will better inform our planning and implementation of work toward greater inclusion.
Do You See Diversity When You Look Around?
I also believe that, if we use our eyes, we can surmise how much diversity exists in philanthropy, data or no data. For example, if we were to attend board meetings or CEO convenings of foundations in our region, we could see how much diversity exists at the decision-making levels in philanthropy. From there, we can work to understand how that diversity — or lack thereof — influences foundation priorities and grantmaking.
James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” I believe this to be true in philanthropy, too. We would do well to assess first our own organizations for diversity, equity and inclusion.
If we take this initial step of raising our organizational self-awareness, we will not only begin to gather the data we need to measure the sector’s movement toward greater inclusion. We will also have a starting place from which to endeavor to meet the goal of a more inclusive philanthropic sector.
– Lissa Jones, MCF director of diversity, equity and inclusion