TORONTO, June 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The report, Leadership Diversity in the Nonprofit Sector: Baby Steps, Big Strides,
and Bold Stances, released today, finds that even in small amounts, leadership diversity
contributes meaningfully to the performance of nonprofit boards.
Based on three surveys of more than 420 organizations, the report finds
that a diverse board contributes to overall board effectiveness by, for
example, safeguarding and fulfilling the mission of the organization
and enhancing fiduciary oversight. Board diversity also improves
stakeholder relationships, increases the organization's responsiveness
to the community and their clients, and brings fresh perspectives to
decision-making. The more diverse a board, the more likely it is to
report these benefits.
"There's definitely strength in numbers," says report author Chris
Fredette, assistant professor at Carleton University. "Once a critical
mass of 30% leadership diversity is reached, we see an increase in the
benefits of diversity experienced by the organization. What's more, we
found no downside. Diversity does not lead to more conflict or distrust
between board members as some have suggested it might."
Despite the overwhelming advantages of leadership diversity, the
research found that visible minorities continue to be underrepresented
in nonprofit boards in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). While visible
minorities make up 40% of the GTA's population, of the 4,254 board
positions examined only 15.6% are held by visible minorities.
"Progress is slow, but there are signs of encouragement," explains Ratna
Omidvar, president of Maytree and co-chair of DiverseCity. "The
majority of boards we surveyed had at least one visible minority board
member. However, as the research indicates, one is not enough."
The report includes a number of recommendations for organizations that
wish to strengthen their board, including understanding and
communicating the benefits of leadership diversity and aligning
diversity efforts to the organization's mission and mandate.
"For organizations with a genuine interest in making progress, diversity
must become a strategic imperative," adds John Tory, chair, Greater
Toronto CivicAction Alliance and co-chair, DiverseCity. "Issues of
diversity need to be embedded into the decisions, discussions, and
activities of boards in much the same way, and with as much heft, as
these same boards give to financial considerations."
Leadership Diversity in the Nonprofit Sector: Baby Steps, Big Strides,
and Bold Stances is the fifth in a series called DiverseCity Counts that commissions
research measuring the levels of diversity in leadership in the GTA.
Download the full report at www.diversecitytoronto.ca/counts.
DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project is a joint project of Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction
Alliance, funded in part by the government of Ontario. With its nine
initiatives, the project is changing the face of our region's
leadership. It is expanding networks, strengthening private and public
institutions, advancing knowledge on the role of diversity in
leadership and tracking progress. www.diversecitytoronto.ca.
DiverseCity onBoard connects highly qualified candidates from visible minority and
underrepresented immigrant communities with governance positions in
agencies, boards, commissions and nonprofit organizations across the
GTA. Interest in replicating this award winning initiative has been
received from across Canada and around the world.
SOURCE Maytree Foundation
For further information:
Markus Stadelmann-Elder, Manager, Communications, Maytree, 416-944-2627 x284, firstname.lastname@example.org