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Green movement more diverse but people of color still underrepresented

December 15, 2022

December 15, 2022

Green 2.0 Team

Read at Philanthropy News Digest

While diversity among staff at U.S.-based environmental NGOs continues to increase, demographic data remain incomplete, especially among foundations, a report from Green 2.0 finds.

Now in its sixth year, the Green 2.0 NGO & Foundation Transparency Report Card (179 pages, PDF) analyzed data on 64 environmental nonprofits’ full-time staffs, senior staffs, heads of organizations, and boards, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices, and found that 36.53 percent of full-time staff were people of color, up from 32.96 percent in 2021. According to the report, 59.5 percent of all staff identified as white, 11 percent as Latinx/Hispanic, 9.9 percent as Black/African American, 7.2 percent as Asian, 4.8 percent as multiracial, 2.2 percent as American Indian/Alaska Native, 0.4 percent as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and 0.3 percent as Middle Eastern/North African.

The share of people of color among senior staff also grew, to 33.52 percent from 28.92 percent last year. The report noted, however, that the average number of senior staff of color added fell, from three in 2021 to two this year. Among heads of organizations, 31 percent were people of color: 14.1 percent were Asian, 8.5 percent were Black/African American, 4.2 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native, 2.8 percent were Latinx/Hispanic, and 1.4 percent were multiracial. Among board members, 33.2 percent were people of color.

In addition, the report found that while 90 percent of participating NGOs wrote DEI goals into their strategic plans and 90 percent had a process for addressing racial discrimination, harassment, and microaggressions, only 56 percent had resource or affinity groups, 56 percent had managers trained in cultural competency, 54 percent had transparent salary pay scales, 54 percent had transparent promotion processes, and 43 percent offered mentoring programs.

The report also examined data provided by 20 foundations and found that 43 percent of full-time staff identified as people of color: 12.9 percent were Asian, 11.7 percent were Black/African American, 9.8 percent were Latinx/Hispanic, 7 percent were multiracial, 0.5 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native, 0.3 percent were Middle Eastern or North African, and 0.1 percent were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. People of color comprised 35.2 percent of senior staff, 20 percent of heads of foundations (15 percent Black/African American and 5 percent Latinx/Hispanic), and 24.3 percent of board members. Green 2.0 also noted that greater “transparency and participation is required from funders to build a more representative movement.”

“Indigenous leaders and the traditional ecological knowledge of their communities are critical to building a winning movement, yet we have long been denied a seat at the decision-making table,” said First Nations Development Institute president and CEO Michael Roberts. “The findings of this year’s Report Card indicate the absence of Indigenous leaders as CEOs or on senior staff of foundations—our voices and our knowledge is needed to transform how we serve all communities. Foundations can no longer deliberately exclude Native voices and must do better.”