Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Report Offers Lessons for Philanthropic Field to Keep Up with Changing Face of America

D5’s “State of the Work” Report Features Efforts by Foundations to Increase Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Chicago, IL (Via Press Release) —The face of America is changing. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of the American South grew by 14%—and the Latino population in the South grew by 57%.  One in five Americans has a disability.  Fifty-seven percent of college graduates are women.  Same-sex couples live in 93% of counties in the US.

How can the philanthropic field increase its diversity, advance equity, and improve its inclusiveness to keep up with these trends?  D5—a five-year effort to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy—examines this question in its annual “State of the Work” report, released this week.

Featuring lessons learned from executives of the American Express Foundation, the Baltimore Community Foundation, Access Strategies Fund, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Capek Consulting, Russell Family Foundation, and FSG, the report draws on the successes and challenges of philanthropic leaders to create a more diverse sector in 2012.

“Its vital that philanthropy stays ahead of the changing face of our constituencies in order to effectively meet the needs of those we seek to benefit,” said Kelly Brown, Director of the D5 Coalition.  “Unfortunately, philanthropy lacks a data collection mechanism to accurately answer whether, as a field, we are ahead of or behind these trends.  It is our hope that foundations will join us in improving this data collection—and then be transparent with the results so we can learn and improve.”

“The opportunity before us is tremendous,” said Brown. “If we get this right and grow diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy, foundations will be able to draw on the power of diverse staffs and boards to achieve lasting impact, forge genuine partnerships with diverse communities, and increase access to opportunities and resources for all people.  We believe the cumulative impact of these efforts is a stronger sector that more effectively advances the common good.”

By the end of 2015, D5 hopes to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy by:
  • Recruiting diverse leaders for foundations—including CEOs, staff, and trustees;
  • Identifying the best actions organizations can take to advance diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Increasing funding for diverse communities and ensuring that foundations offer all constituencies equal opportunity to access the resources they need; and
  • Improving data collection and transparency to measure progress.
Kevin Griffin Moreno, a Senior Program Officer at the Baltimore Community Foundation, says his organization incorporated diversity into its strategic planning process to ensure that it had meaning in the way the foundation does business.  “I wanted to make sure that before we started talking to anybody in the community, particularly our grantees, about a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, that we—the board, staff, and volunteers—had a clear sense of what that meant for us.  We had to be prepared to demonstrate how we were adopting those principles and putting them into practice before we breathed a word about incorporating them into our grant guidelines, to the way we run initiatives or in the way we manage investments.”

While philanthropy has more work to do to stay ahead of the changing face of America, many leaders in the field are launching bold initiatives to get ahead of the curve.  In April 2013, leaders from 26 major foundations—including the California Endowment, Annie E. Casey Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and Open Society Foundations—met in Chicago to form an alliance and take action on issues that affect boys and young men of color.  The alliance seeks to “evaluate promising approaches, advocate for effective public policy and systems change, and invest in these young men as assets for America's future.”

As many leaders across the country are taking important steps forward, “State of the Work” 2013 profiles the lessons they have learned.  The report offers suggestions for determining how diversity, equity and inclusion can help increase effectiveness—and provides concrete ideas for how to translate those values into action.

The complete report can be found at

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