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2020 NGO & Foundation Transparency Report Card


For the fourth year in a row, Green 2.0—an independent advocacy campaign to increase racial and ethnic diversity within the mainstream environmental movement—presents diversity data from the movement’s most influential non-profit organizations (“NGOs”) and foundations. The 2020 Green 2.0 Transparency Report Card reflects data collected from the 40 largest NGOs and 40 largest foundations on the number of women and people of color on their full-time staffs, senior staffs, 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 four years.

This year’s results are colored by two major national news events—the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide protests over law enforcement abuse and racial justice reforms—that likely influenced the mixed participation we received from both NGOs and foundations. In 2020, three NGOs that had not previously participated in the annual survey (Oceana, Root Capital, and Pew Charitable Trusts) submitted their diversity data to Guidestar by Candid. Unfortunately, three other NGOs who had submitted data in previous years did not participate in 2020. This resulted in the total number of NGOs participating in the survey remaining the same: 37 out of 40.


Among foundations, participation in the Transparency Report Card fell slightly, with four new additions and six previously reporting foundations failing to submit diversity data, for a total of 11 out 40 foundations participating. While NGOs have generally been transparent with their data, the majority of the top 40 foundations critical to funding work on conservation and environmental issues still have not reported any diversity data to GuideStar by Candid in the last four years. Transparency in this sector continues to be a priority for Green 2.0.

Finally, in 2020, several organizations that did not appear in the lists of top 40 NGOs and top 40 foundations inquired about participation in the Transparency Report Card. As a result, Green 2.0 opened participation in the survey to organizations who voluntarily submitted their data to Guidestar by Candid. This year, four NGOs (Center for Environmental Health, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Rising Sun Center For Opportunity, and WildEarth Guardians) and two foundations (Pisces Foundation and William Penn Foundation) appear for the first time in the Transparency Report Card. Green 2.0 looks forward to adding more groups to this list in future years.


This year’s results show measurable increases in people of color and women on staff, among senior staff, and on the board. The 2020 report shows similar changes in race and gender diversity that we saw in 2019, although we should note that we are including data from seven fewer organizations because of a low response rate this year.

Full-tIme Staff

On average, reporting organizations added six people of color and eight women to their staff between 2017 and 2020.

Senior Staff

On average, reporting organizations added two people of color and two women to their senior staff between 2017 and 2020.

Board Members

Reporting organizations added, on average, one person of color and one woman to their boards since 2017.


The data show positive trends in the number of people of color at multiple levels of the organizations surveyed. There are more people of color among full time employees, senior staff, and board members in 2020 than in 2017 while the number of women on staff, senior staff, and boards also increased.


Dr. Johnson’s statistical tests confirmed that these changes are beyond what would be expected by chance. 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. Although the results are quite positive, there is continued work to be done in this area.


In order to sustain our ability to measure movement-wide growth across sectors, more organizations in the foundation sector of the environment movement 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; while we assume foundations are making less progress due to lack of commitment to reporting, we cannot know for sure without the absent data.


The importance of data transparency can not be overstated. It is an important step that allows and pushes each organization to self-assess where they are making progress and identify areas they still need to improve. Still, diversity data is only one factor in assessing the environmental movement’s progress in advocating for and representing the communities negatively impacted by our current state of environmental policies. Several environmental organizations who believed they had made a commitment to diversity found themselves struggling to reconcile their good intentions with the reality of a discontented staff or with accusations of harassment and discrimination.


Diversity without inclusion is tokenism. Diversity without equity is segregation. Diversity without accountability does not promote justice.


As an organization, Green 2.0 has pursued transparency among environmental groups as a tool to improve representation and policy outcomes for communities of color. Moving forward, we will explore news ways that future Transparency Report Cards can capture more data and give the environmental community a fuller picture of the progress we are making in building a more inclusive and equitable movement.