Vital Voices: Lessons Learned from Board Members of Color
While more than 86 percent of board members of color recently surveyed said they either almost always or often feel comfortable voicing their opinions at meetings, 13 percent said they have encountered some form of tokenism.Vital Voices: Lessons Learned from Board Members of Color is BoardSource’s first survey designed to amplify the voices of people of color serving on nonprofit boards of directors. It is part of BoardSource's effort to discover why boards tend to lack racial diversity. In comparing the BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Indexes of 2007 and 1994, BoardSource found that board demographics remained relatively stable, with 86 percent of board members white in both indexes despite a dramatically changing landscape. The Vital Voices survey, conducted in October 2009, analyzed data from 550 respondents. The report was made possible by the generous support of the James Irvine Foundation. Half of the survey respondents said that reaching out to communities of color when recruiting new board members is one of the three most important things a nonprofit board can do to become more inclusive. The top three reasons respondents gave for being recruited were
their leadership potential
the organization’s need for their professional skills
their ability to represent the needs/interests of specific racial/ethnic communities
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