Foundations Must Promote a ‘Diversity Dividend’ at Green Groups

The 50 foundations that give the most to environmental groups shelled out more than $1 billion to green organizations in 2012. One might wonder: What exactly is the makeup of the boards and top leaders of those foundations who are making vital decisions about what organizations to support?

Last year, we learned the answer from a study conducted by Dorceta Taylor, a professor of environmental justice at the University of Michigan. Green 2.0, a new campaign dedicated to increasing racial diversity at mainstream environmental groups, released the most comprehensive report on the makeup of those foundation boards and senior staff members.

We learned that, of the organizations that responded to the survey, 87 percent of board members are white, and senior staff members are 88 percent white. The diversity of the boards of the grant recipients is even more imbalanced: On average, they are 95-percent white. Yet 40 percent of America’s population isn’t white.

Do the math. Most green foundations give diversity almost zero importance.

The “green ceiling” is hitting people of color hard and has for decades…

If “people of color” wanted to join, they would. It is ridiculous to blame the groups themselves.