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California’s Race to Lead: The Racial Leadership Gap in the Golden State

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
9:00am - 11:00am PST
California Community Foundation, Joan Palevsky Center
281 S Figueroa Street #100, Los Angeles, CA 90012
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Southern California Grantmakers is pleased to partner with the Building Movement Project to discuss the findings from their recently released Race to Lead report which explores the nonprofit racial leadership gap in California. To view the report, please click here.

The nonprofit sector is experiencing a racial leadership gap. Studies show the percentage of people of color in the executive director/CEO role has remained under 20% for the last 15 years even as the country becomes more diverse.

To understand the causes of this disparity, the Building Movement Project conducted the Nonprofits, Leadership and Race survey with over 4,000 respondents. The study found few differences between white and people of color (POC) respondents in their aspirations or preparation for leadership roles—in fact people of color are more likely to be interested in becoming a nonprofit leader than whites. Survey respondents identified Boards of Directors and executive recruiters as key barriers to the hiring of more people of color executive directors/CEOs.

The results call into question the common assumption that to increase the diversity of nonprofit leaders, people of color need more training. The findings point to a new narrative. To increase the number of people of color leaders, the nonprofit sector needs to address the practices and biases of those governing nonprofit organizations. Rather than focus on the perceived deficits of potential leaders of color, the sector should concentrate on educating nonprofit decision-makers on the issues of race equity and implicit bias accompanied by changes in action leading to measurable results. This transfers the responsibility for the racial leadership gap from those who are targeted (people of color) to those who oversee organizations as well as the sector overall, which needs to embrace systems change work to ensure that its policies, practices, and culture are aligned with the values of diversity, inclusion and equity.

The Building Movement Project and a panel of philanthropic and community leaders will lead attendees through a thoughtful discussion on overcoming barriers and ways to accelerate progress in the nonprofit racial leadership gap.  


Presentation of California’s Race to Lead by:

Frances Kunreuther
 Co-Director, Building Movement

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld
Co-Director, Building Movement

Panel Discussion:

Kafi Blumenfield

Trustee, The James Irvine
Foundation and Tides

Wendy Chang

Director, Dwight Stuart
Youth Foundation


Alberto Retana

President & CEO,
Community Coalition

Mari Riddle

Executive Director,
Grand Performances



No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Philanthropic and nonprofit leaders

Space is limited. RSVP is required by February 9, 2018 . To RSVP, please click here.