Courtesy of NYC Service
The City released the report on Thursday.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The leadership demographics of city-based nonprofit organizations do not reflect the diversity of the Big Apple, according to a report released on Thursday by NYC Service and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York.
The analysis, “What Lies Beneath: The State of NYC Nonprofit Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” is a result of a six-month study conducted with the NYC Nonprofit Board Development Coalition, led by NYC Service, which assessed nonprofit board composition, board policies, as well as procedures in order to identify nonprofit board diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) gaps, strategies, recommendations and resources for the city’s nonprofit sector.
According to the study, DEI is valued, but not effectively addressed; representation in leadership matters; board complacency and resistance to change impede DEI; and boards may be perpetuating harmful biases.
The report’s findings are a culmination of 420 online survey respondents and 37 focus group participants, representing nonprofit chief executive officers/executive directors and board members throughout the five boroughs. The survey asked respondents to provide the composition of their board in terms of age, gender identity, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability status; their board policies and procedures; as well as, successes and challenges with regards to addressing DEI on their boards. The focus group interviews assigned NYC nonprofit CEOs/EDs and board members to separate focus groups to encourage open dialogue. Using an open-ended interview method, the participants discussed what they thought it meant to diversify a board; successes and challenges with recruitment and onboarding; reasons for joining a board; and barriers to and recommendations for achieving board diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
Based on the survey results, the study found that policies and procedures are not absolute guarantees in ensuring sustainable change. Nonprofit leaders must harness existing board support for DEI to build a deepened and common framework to successfully approach this issue, and move away from counterproductive and ineffective thinking and solutions.
“The best long-term solutions come from within communities as experts of their own experiences,” NYC Chief Service Officer Patricia Eng said. “Leadership that reflects the core constituency strengthens the fabric of the community, our city, and our nation. In today’s world, this is a ‘must have,’ not just ‘nice to have’ toward a vibrant democracy.”
To read the full report, visit nycservice.org.
In other nonprofit news, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) this week called on Congress to fund the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to the highest possible level to help houses of worship and nonprofit groups protect themselves against terrorist attacks. Gillibrand urged leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations committees to provide $60 million for the NSGP in the upcoming fiscal year. Currently, the Senate has only allocated $35 million for the national security initiative.
“It is unacceptable that while hate crimes and anti-Semitism are clearly on the rise in New York and all over the country, Congress has yet to provide security funding that at-risk houses of worship and nonprofits need to stay safe,” the Empire State’s junior senator said on Tuesday.