Latinos, California's largest minority population, are the most underrepresented ethnic or racial group in the state's nonprofit sector, a new report from the Urban Institute finds.
Funded by the California Endowment and the Hewlett, Irvine, and Packard foundations, the report, Measuring Racial-Ethnic Diversity in California's Nonprofit Sector, (51 pages, PDF), by Carol De Vita and Katie Roeger, found that while Latinos comprise 36 percent of the state's population, they hold only 6 percent of the executive director positions, 9 percent of the board seats, and 28 percent of the staff positions at nonprofits and foundations. Asian Americans, the second-largest minority in the state at 12 percent, hold only 7.6 percent of the available board seats, while African Americans, who comprise approximately 6 percent of the state's population, hold 6.2 percent of the board seats in the state.
According to a 2007 Urban Institute study, California's nonprofit boards are more racially and ethnically diverse than the national average, though most trustees in the state (72 percent) are white; the national figure is 86 percent. The new report also found that 31 percent of the state's nonprofit governing boards are comprised only of whites, compared with 51 percent for boards nationwide, while 9 percent of the boards in the state are comprised only of people of color.
The study does not explain why the figures for Latinos are low compared to those of other ethnic groups, nor does it provide details about service delivery. "Little is known about how service quality, cultural competency, and effectiveness are linked," De Vita said. "Do nonprofits led by a person of color and serving people of color produce better results than other organizations? Finding answers to this tough question is vital to strengthening the nonprofit sector and the communities it serves."