D5 Coalition, a national effort that aims to analyze and improve upon diversity, equity, and inclusion in the philanthropic sector, first published its State of the Work report in 2011. Now in its third iteration, the State of the Work report for 2013 features lessons learned from executives of the American Express Foundation, the Baltimore Community Foundation, Access Strategies Fund, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Donors Forum Member Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Capek Consulting, Russell Family Foundation and FSG. The report draws on the successes and challenges of philanthropic leaders to create a more diverse sector in 2012—and offers actions to inspire leaders to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in 2013.
Donors Forum has long been involved in the diversity and inclusion effort. In 2008, Donors Forum convened a Committee on Diversity and Inclusion to focus local attention on the national movement and the work of D5. Donors Forum is a founding member of D5, and President and CEO Valerie S. Lies has been actively involved in its planning and implementation. ”America’s demographic landscape is undergoing significant change,” said Ms. Lies, “And, as communities become increasingly diverse, it is imperative that philanthropy evolves to reflect those changes.” In 2010, the Donors Forum Board approved a new diversity and inclusion statement as well as a set of principles.
Donors Forum’s Board Members Graham Grady, also on the Board of Advisors of the African American Legacy Fund, and Unmi Song, Executive Director of the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, have been leaders in the diversity movement and have participated in D5's work, as well as serving on Donors Forum’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Mr. Grady also serves as the Chair of the Diverse Trustee Subcommittee at Donors Forum and Ms. Song and the Fry Foundation are funders and advisors to D5.
In D5’s 2013 State of the Work report, Mr. Grady suggested that it’s time for foundations to take advantage of the talented individuals that have come from the disadvantaged communities that nonprofits are working to aid. “The irony, of course, is that although a significant percentage of the grantmaking by many foundations targets problems that plague poor communities, few people at the decision-making table are from those very communities,” he said in the report. “We have a wealth of talented diverse women and men—people with MBAs, law degrees, and high-powered corporate experience—who are from the community and part of the community, and are well positioned to set policy for grantmaking programs,” he continued.
Donors Forum also has a special web section devoted to diversity and inclusion information and resources. Though geared to grantmakers, nonprofits will also find the section useful. Included are links to job recruiting and affinity group websites, sample diversity policies, and toolkits. “Our goal is to make this research and work accessible to the field and connect interested foundations to the resources they need to make change,” said Ms. Lies.
— Rebecca Jackson, Communications and Development Voluntern