The larger the nonprofit, the more likely it is to be run by a white man, according to the new Candid diversity report

NEW YORK — White men are most likely to lead the largest, best-funded nonprofits, while women of color tend to lead the organizations with the least funding, according to a study by the nonprofit data research organization Candid.

The State of Diversity in the US Nonprofit Sector report, released Thursday by Candid, is the largest demographic study of the nonprofit sector, based on diversity information from nearly 60,000 public charities.

According to the study, white CEOs lead 74% of organizations with annual revenues greater than $25 million, while white men lead 41% of these nonprofits, despite only making up about 30% of the population. Women of color, who make up about 20% of the U.S. population, lead 14% of organizations with revenues over $25 million and 28% of the smallest nonprofits – those with less than $50,000 in revenue.

The Candid report provides data for nonprofits that have complained for years that minority-led nonprofits are attracting fewer donations, government funding and sales, even after the racial reckoning following the killing of George Floyd and promises from funders of all sizes seeking are looking for change. Many groups argue that when a charity's leadership comes from the community it serves, its needs are met more effectively. According to a report from the Ms. Foundation for Women and the advisory group Strength in Numbers, less than 1% of the $67 billion that foundations donated in 2017 was specifically earmarked for minority women and girls.

“Our mission is to use data to make the entire industry more efficient, effective and equitable,” Candid CEO Ann Mei Chang told The Associated Press. “We believe data is a force for good and can help anyone trying to do good do good better.”

The report's findings are based on data collected through the Demographics via Candid initiative, in which nonprofits voluntarily report their organizations' diversity metrics. Cathleen Clerkin, Candid's vice president of research, said the report's authors compared its findings to other industry-wide data and found them to be consistent.

Because the diversity information was self-reported, Clerkin said Candid looked into whether nonprofits would be more likely to share their information because they were more diverse, but found that this was not the case. What would more likely determine whether a nonprofit reported its diversity information was how much they relied on outside donations, Clerkin said, adding that Candid hopes the report will encourage more charities to provide the organization's information.

The report found that environmental and animal welfare groups were the least likely to have diverse leadership, with 88% having a white CEO. According to the report, nearly three-quarters of religious nonprofits had white CEOs.

Portia Allen-Kyle, chief of staff and interim head of external affairs at the racial justice nonprofit Color of Change, said the report's findings were not surprising. “The decline of Black leadership and other underrepresented populations is exactly what we unfortunately expect to see in an era of attacks on the tools of Black power like affirmative action, like DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), etc.,” said she. “It is a nonprofit where disproportionately white leaders receive disproportionate amounts of resources from these white, ultra-wealthy donors, while Black leaders from the most impacted communities are expected to often turn water into wine, with nothing more than pennies on the dollar.”

Allen-Kyle said the fact that the report also shows that women of color are overrepresented as leaders of the smallest charities also comes as no surprise. “With these small nonprofits, especially with advocacy, Black women are going to do this work no matter what and they're doing it for free and regardless of whether or not they get paid because they believe in it,” she said.

The report also found that Latinos were underrepresented as nonprofit CEOs in nearly every state.

“We've been talking about this for decades,” said Frankie Miranda, president and CEO of the Hispanic Federation, which supports Latino communities and nonprofits. “It's the reason the Hispanic Federation was founded in 1990 – to advocate for Latino-led, Latino-serving providers, because we weren't part of the conversation when the decision-making around funding and support was happening.”

That has led the Hispanic Federation to become one of the nation's largest grantmakers for Latino nonprofits. But even if the findings aren't unexpected, the Candid research is still extremely valuable, Miranda said.

“This study will validate our argument,” he said. “This is critical for us to be able to say, 'Here's the evidence.' It's proof to major donors that you need to do better when it comes to diversity within your organization. They must have the cultural competency to understand the importance of investing in our organizations, and the importance of getting to know these organizations to serve these communities.”

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Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits is supported by the AP's partnership with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP's philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

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