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The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations Mainstream NGOs Foundations Government Agencies

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Abstract

Environmental institutions have been working on diversity efforts for the better part of five decades. This report discusses the findings of a study of three types of environmental institutions: 191 conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies, and 28 environmental grantmaking foundations. It also reports the findings of interviews conducted with 21 environmental professionals who were asked to reflect on the state of diversity in environmental institutions. The study focuses primarily on gender, racial, and class diversity in these institutions as it pertains to the demographic characteristics of their boards and staff. It examines the recruitment and hiring of new workers as well as the types of diversity initiatives undertaken by the organizations. The report also discusses other kinds of diversities such as cultural, sexual orientation, inter-generational, and rural-urban.
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... The paucity of race-conscious grantmaking within philanthropy may also be related to the lack of racial diversity inside foundations. Foundations have come under scrutiny for the demographic composition of their executive leadership team and boards, often comprised of wealthy, White individuals (Ramirez et al., 2022;Taylor, 2014;2009). Environmental foundations are trying to enhance staff diversity, but People of Color are underrepresented on their staff and boards (Roberts, 2018). ...
... Despite the buzz created by the release of The State of Diversity in Environmental Institutions report (Taylor, 2014), foundations have not fully embraced the idea of putting substantial financial support behind diversity efforts (Biemesderfer, 2021). Many foundations lack diversity in their staff and board (Ramirez et al., 2022;Taylor, 2014;2009;Roberts, 2018;D5 Coalition, 2016) and are reluctant to reveal the demographic characteristics of their grantees (Taylor, 2021). ...
... Despite the buzz created by the release of The State of Diversity in Environmental Institutions report (Taylor, 2014), foundations have not fully embraced the idea of putting substantial financial support behind diversity efforts (Biemesderfer, 2021). Many foundations lack diversity in their staff and board (Ramirez et al., 2022;Taylor, 2014;2009;Roberts, 2018;D5 Coalition, 2016) and are reluctant to reveal the demographic characteristics of their grantees (Taylor, 2021). ...
Technical Report
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This report examines the environmental grantmaking practices of 220 foundations that distributed more than 30,000 grants totaling $4.9 billion that were distributed over three years. It reveals disparities in environmental grantmaking that are related to region, the size of the grantees' revenues, the sex and race/ethnicity of the grantees' cheif executive, and the type of organization being funded. The study also found that environmental justice organizations and those focused on people of color were at a disadvantage in the number of grants received and the grant dollars they were awarded.
... Stereotypes and misperceptions about the perspectives and concerns of people of color and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups may also pose problems for environmental organizations seeking to diversify or broaden public outreach (Lewis et al., 2021). Within the United States, communities of color have been excluded from many aspects of mainstream environmentalism due to persistent barriers inhibiting access to parks and outdoor recreational spaces, as well as a history of exclusion among mainstream environmental organizations (Davis, 2019;Taylor, 2014). Inequities in access to resources (e.g., time, money) may also drive different expressions of environmentalism, limiting some resource-intensive forms of participation, such as charitable giving or volunteerism, among some socioeconomically disadvantaged groups (see . ...
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