This analysis of the gender, racial, and ethnic makeup of the boards of directors of the largest 481 foundations in the nation reveals that 25 percent of the positions were held by people of color, including approximately 13 percent by African Americans, 6 percent by Latinos, and 6 percent by Asians. We were able to identify only one Native American board member in the 564 total board seats that we examined.
The list of foundations was obtained fromthe Foundation Center's website and selectedthe top 50 foundations by asset size. We searched each foundation's website forinformation on the board of directors and recorded the race/ethnicity of each board member along with theirgender. To determine if the assessment of the race/ethnicity of each board member was correct, we crossreferencedtheir name with the NNDB (Notable Names Database, http://www.nndb.com/). After recording therace/ethnicity of each board member we contacted their respective foundations to obtain a confirmation of the accuracy of the assessment. Data was collected in July of 2012.
Only 18 of the 48 foundations sampled responded to the request for confirmation of the race/ethnicity of their board members. Thus, it is possible that some of our data is not accurate. In the interest of transparency, we encourage all foundations to disclose their board of directors diversity data on their websites. Additionally, we were not able to obtain information about the executive boards of the Walton Family Foundation or the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, as they do not disclose such information about their boards