Benchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Philanthropy New York is pleased to share a new, watershed report on diversity in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

Benchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits is the first study of its kind for the New York philanthropic sector, the first nationally to examine the racial and ethnic demographics of foundations and nonprofit organizations at the same time, and the first to ask nonprofits how they define/describe a minority-led organization.

Two years ago, we realized that our work on diversity had proceeded ungrounded by any research-based knowledge about the racial and ethnic makeup of New York-area nonprofits and foundations, their institutional data, and their organizational capacities. Partnering with the Foundation Center, we created two surveys, one of which we sent to philanthropic organizations (including all Philanthropy New York members) and the other to nonprofit organizations in the New York metropolitan area. The surveys were mailed and responses collected between September 2008 and April 2009.

As one of only a few regional associations to have completed this type of research, we are already sharing our work with other regional associations, as well as with other colleague organizations. We are also committed to working with other local and national diversity initiatives and, especially, with our members.

We have invited several foundation and nonprofit leaders to comment onBenchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits. To read their thoughts on our report, click here.

Philanthropy New York will host a members briefing to introduce and examine the report’s findings on Tuesday, October 13th, and a second introductory programon Thursday, October 29th will be held for our nonprofit colleagues as well as funders.

Benchmarking Diversity is not definitive, but it does help narrow our knowledge gap:

  • It focuses primarily on racial, ethnic, and gender identity, and to a limited degree on sexual orientation and people with disabilities.
  • The core data invites various interpretations and analyses, and provides the groundwork for future research, but does not present a singular conclusion, story, or prescription for action.
  • We recognize that our results were generated from a self-selected pool of respondents, and that this may affect the completeness of our findings.

Nonetheless, we believe the findings add substantially to our ongoing work around diversity in our sector.

In closing, we invite you to:

  • read the report as a whole. No one statistic or query tells the entire story, and this issue deserves a thoughtful evaluation;
  • engage in in-depth conversations within your organizations and with your peers;
  • suggest areas for future education and research;
  • participate in our programs and initiatives on diversity and related issues in the coming months and years; and
  • examine and consider the resources, mission statements, model policies, and other practices that support a more diverse, inclusive sector.

We aspire to work towards a sector where notions of diversity, inclusiveness, and transparency are seamlessly woven into the fabric of its practices, which will result in stronger, more skillful, and more effective institutions that reflect the communities they serve. We invite everyone in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to discuss our report and join us in this work.

To download a copy of Benchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits, please click here.

We encourage our colleagues to comment on Benchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits. Please do so in the Comments section below! (Your comments will also appear on our website.)

Find More By

News type