Despite a field replete with research, analysis, recommended policies and practices — not to mention an abundance of educational programs and frameworks for grantmaking to diverse communities — philanthropic leaders have been slow to advance these values in their foundations. We wondered: what is getting in the way? Why are good intentions, buttressed with theory and practical advice, not achieving better results on measures of diversity, equity and inclusion? We wanted to explore more deeply.
With the support of the D5 Coalition, we began a year-long study to explore these questions. Our study was divided into two parts. We began with personal interviews of 23 philanthropic leaders in the Pacific Northwest. In order to better understand how these organizations incorporated diversity, equity, and inclusion into their work and workplaces, we collected baseline information about their staff composition, leadership styles, and organizational practices/policies.
This report details our findings. It includes an in-depth look at the peer cohort model we developed, in which ten foundation leaders met regularly to discuss these issues and support each other in advancing their own leadership. It also includes practical lessons about shifting organizational cultures towards greater diversity, equity and inclusion — lessons drawn directly from the experiences of our peer cohort leaders.
We presented this work in a webinar hosted by the D5 Coalition in April, 2014. The webinar recording and slides are below.