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2019 NGO & Foundation Transparency Report Card


For the third year in a row, Green 2.0, an independent advocacy campaign to increase racial and ethnic diversity among the top 40 mainstream environmental movement NGOs and its top 40 funders, presents diversity data from the movement’s largest organizations. As in 2017 and 2018, the 2019 Green 2.0 Transparency Report reflects data collected from the NGOs and Foundations on the number of women and people of color on their full-time staff, senior staff, and boards as collected through Green 2.0’s partnership with Guidestar by Candid. The full report shows the individual data for the top 40 NGOs and funders as reported over the three years.

This year, in order to take a wider view of the movement and to ensure thorough analysis of our data set, which is growing in scope and includes variances in both organizational size and regularity of data submission over time, Green 2.0 partnered with Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson, Associate Professor at University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business. Dr. Johnson analyzed data sets submitted to GuideStar and captured trends for each sector from 50 green organizations, 14 foundations and 36 NGOs which self-reported their demographic data over three years (2017-2019). She examined the change in diversity (race and gender) over time in boards, senior staff, and all full time staff.


People of color added to staff in organizations between 2017 and 2019

People of color added to senior staff in organizations between 2017 and 2019

People of color added to boards in organizations between 2017 and 2019

Woman and person of color added as board members between 2017 and 2019

The percent of women and people of color on boards increased as well with organizations adding, on average, one person of color and one woman to their board between 2017 and 2019. Dr. Johnson confirmed in her use of statistical tests that these changes are beyond what would be expected by chance. In other words, taken as a whole, organizations that are submitting data consistently are taking other steps to ensure improved greater diversity among their full-time and senior staff and boards. Those making the effort are reporting change that is statistically meaningful.

In order to sustain our ability to measure movement-wide growth across sectors growth, more organizations in the funder sector of the movement simply must report their data. As it stands, so few foundations have reported that Dr. Johnson simply could not make an apple-to-apples comparison of which sector is excelling more rapidly. It is clear that NGOs excel in reporting data and are making strides, and while we assume foundations are making less progress due to lack of commitment to even report data, we simply cannot know for sure.

Though the 2019 numbers are encouraging, Green 2.0 cautions against declaring victory. It is clear that opportunity, accountability, and effort are generating success, and all must be sustained. As we put forward the reasonable expectation that organizations push toward the tipping points of more than 30%, 40% or 50% people of color at full-time and senior staff levels, we hope that organizations will not shift focus and stagnate in their pursuit of diversity at a time when this movement needs greater unity and coordination of resources than it has ever had.


Indeed, young people are already building separate lanes of influence on climate change. Their leadership, messaging and and organizing strategies are noticeably more inclusive and racially diverse than the institutions that comprise the wider movement. They are nimble and rapidly responsive, and they are in part because they are the communities they are trying to save. We trust that the longstanding, mainstream environmental movement can push itself to remain relevant by evolving similarly and rapidly.