GuideStar Launches First-of-Its-Kind Program to Collect Diversity Data from Nonprofits at Scale

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Green 2.0 Partners to Highlight Participation of Environmental Organizations; Foundation and Nonprofit Leaders Voice Support

GuideStar, D5, and Green 2.0

"A nonprofit sector that reflects the diversity of the human community it serves is far more likely to achieve its goals,” said Jacob Harold, President and CEO of GuideStar.

Today, GuideStar launched a new way to help set standards for how data about diversity within the nonprofit sector is collected. GuideStar worked in collaboration with the D5 Coalition, which developed the data standards with a wide range of partners to advance transparent and uniform data collection about staff, board, and volunteer demographics in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, enabling more informed decisions about philanthropy. The voluntary program will appear as a new section within the GuideStar Exchange, the only program of its kind that encourages nonprofit transparency on a national scale and allows nonprofits to supplement the public information that is available from the IRS.

The launch also coincides with a pilot partnership between Green 2.0, which will collaborate with GuideStar and D5 to seek participation from environmental organizations in this groundbreaking diversity tracking effort. This comes in the wake of wide press about the problematic “green ceiling” - the mainstream environmental movement’s failure to keep up with the changing face of America. This was documented in “Diversity In Environmental Institutions” report commissioned by Green 2.0 from Professor Dorceta Taylor. Green 2.0’s working group advocates for improved diversity in the mainstream environmental movement.

Without sector-wide standards for how data on diversity is collected, nonprofits and foundations have had difficulty identifying trends, gaps, overlaps, and opportunities. Better diversity information across the sector will help foundations better understand the constituencies they are working to help. Nonprofits will be better able to evaluate of the impact of their work and hold themselves accountable to their goals. The social sector at large will better be able to measure progress and make informed decisions about philanthropy.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with D5 to finally offer a standard way for nonprofits to report information about their organization’s demographics. A nonprofit sector that reflects the diversity of the human community it serves is far more likely to achieve its goals,” said Jacob Harold, President and CEO of GuideStar. “We are also pleased to be launching this effort with Green 2.0 to focus on collecting environmental sector data. The ‘green ceiling’ findings made clear that it is time for the environmental community to move beyond a fragmented set of diversity initiatives and embrace a comprehensive strategy. This is not just a moral challenge, it’s a strategic opportunity. The data needed to do that is what we’re offering from GuideStar. And that’s good for all of us.”

“For too long, a lack of reliable data has left foundations and nonprofits in the dark about the true impact of their work,” said Kelly Brown, Director of the D5 Coalition. “These voluntary standards for reporting data can help organizations measure progress toward the goals they set, evaluate their impact on the constituencies they serve and, at the end of the day, be more effective.”

“At a time when people of color are on average not even 5 percent of mainstream environmental NGO boards, it is clear that more must be done to address the overwhelmingly white ‘Green Insider’s Club,’” said Robert Raben, President of The Raben Group and founder of Green 2.0. “Green 2.0 is pleased to partner with GuideStar and D5 to invite leading mainstream organizations to share their organizational diversity data. Transparency about the data is the first step toward the sector’s collective acknowledgement that the time to improve is now.”

The new data collection feature of the GuideStar Exchange provides recommended standards for organizations to voluntarily share information about the make up of board members, staff, and volunteers based on gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and ability/disability. Organizations can enter this information into the free GuideStar Exchange, or they can integrate the standards into their own collection and reporting systems, such as voluntary surveys, annual assessments or client intake forms—whatever an organization determines is the best mechanism.

While the standards have been developed with broad participation of numerous partners—including The Foundation Center, the Race and Equity in Philanthropy group, regional associations of foundations and others—they remain a work in progress.

About GuideStar
GuideStar is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects people and organizations with information on the programs, finances, and impact of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar, CFC Charitable Organization #75786, serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

About the D5 Coalition
D5 is a five-year coalition to advance philanthropy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion. D5 consists of a growing collaboration of foundations large and small, individual donors, regional and national associations, and organizations that focus on diverse communities.

About Green 2.0
The report was commissioned by Green 2.0, an initiative dedicated to increasing racial diversity across mainstream environmental NGOs, foundations and government agencies. The working group members are online at www[dot]diversegreen[dot]org.

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Foundation and nonprofit leaders voicing support for the new GuideStar partnership with D5 and Green 2.0, listed alphabetically by organization, are:

Kresge Foundation President and CEO, Rip Rapson        
National Audubon Society President and CEO, David Yarnold
NRDC President Frances Beinecke
Resource Media President, Scott Miller
Rockefeller Brothers Fund President, Stephen Heintz
Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune
The California Endowment President and CEO, Robert K. Ross
W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO, La June Montgomery Tabron

Their statements of support follow:

-Kresge Foundation President and CEO, Rip Rapson:
“The Kresge Foundation has long believed that nonprofit organizations are more effective in achieving their missions when their board and staff members are reflective of the populations they serve. For many years we have required that grantseekers provide us with information concerning the demographic characteristics of their board and staff, and we have inquired about grantees’ diversity practices.

“We endorse this effort form GuideStar, D5 and Green 2.0 to gather information about demographic data and diversity practices of nonprofit organizations and foundations, and the special focus on the environmental sector given the recently documented diversity challenges. We think it will be helpful for the sector to employ standard reporting metrics. It will allow for comparisons across organizations and, hopefully, simplify the reporting process for participating organizations.

“Kresge will encourage all of its grantees to participate in this voluntary data-collection effort by GuideStar, D5 and Green 2.0.”

-National Audubon Society President and CEO, David Yarnold:
“What matters is not our intentions or what we say – what matters is what we do. We need to operate differently, recruit differently and hire differently. Tracking progress is crucial.”

-National Resources Defense Council President, Frances Beinecke:
“Everyone deserves healthy homes and a healthy planet, which is why we all must work together to protect our air, water and communities from the impacts of pollution and climate change. Broadening the diversity, equity and inclusiveness of the environmental movement is critical to achieving that objective. GuideStar’s new examination of diversity and the partnership with Green 2.0 provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of this work. But it can’t end there. We all have a role to play. Creating inclusive workplaces, expanding our community collaborations, promoting equity, and diversifying our voice are essential to remaining strong, effective and true advocates for all people and all communities.”

-Resource Media President, Scott Miller:
"Resource Media believes it is a strategic and moral imperative to embrace diversity and inclusion, internally as a learning organization and externally as communicators charged with engaging a wide array of audiences in respectful, authentic ways. Like many organizations in our field, we have a long way to go. We support the new GuideStar survey and look forward to participating. I firmly believe good data and transparency will help us be accountable and meaningfully measure progress."

-Rockefeller Brothers Fund President, Stephen Heintz:
“The Rockefeller Brothers Fund supports the collaboration between D5 and GuideStar to facilitate standardized and widely accessible organizational reporting of staff and leadership diversity information through the GuideStar Exchange. In the wake of recently documented diversity challenges in the environmental sector, we are pleased as well to see the partnership with Green 2.0 to encourage participation from the mainstream environmental movement. This is an important step forward to build better transparency and understanding about diversity across the nonprofit sector.

“The Fund has long been committed to sharing diversity data on its staff, leadership, and operations, including related information on our website and annual publication, Charting Our Progress, since 2008. As a funder we believe it is important to understand both the diversity of the organizations we fund and how they engage diverse perspectives in their work.

“We are excited to participate in the GuideStar Exchange effort and encourage others to do so. This builds on the work of many organizations over the past few years, and we are particularly appreciative of the efforts of GuideStar, D5, and Green 2.0 to make this happen. Shared data furthers the possibility of shared understanding and progress across all of our efforts as we support a nonprofit sector that responds to the demographic realities of our nation.”

-Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune:
"The Sierra Club is proud to have supported the Green 2.0 report and we look forward to participating in this next phase of collaboration with GuideStar. We are committed to taking a hard look at what still needs to be done within our own organization and instituting policies and practices to ensure that the environmental movement includes everyone who cares about clean air and water. We are working hard to ensure our staff and volunteer leaders reflect the country we live in today, and we are working with diverse communities in the fight to ensure a just and clean environment for all."

-The California Endowment President and CEO, Robert K. Ross:    
“The California Endowment is thrilled to participate in and support this sector-wide effort in philanthropy. A more robust future for our nation will require greater attention to the inclusion of diverse leaders and stakeholders in addressing an array of important civic challenges.”

-W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO, La June Montgomery Tabron:
“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s journey toward racial equity, diversity and inclusion has extended over decades. We applaud this sector-wide effort and fully believe that tracking and sharing data is essential to gauge our progress, correct our course as necessary and to remain true to our vision and goals for this work. That’s why for the past decade, we have measured and reported our workforce composition and employee and trustee demographics to our external website and actively work with grantees to collect data, demographics and plans for engaging diverse communities in their work.”

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Gabe Cohen
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