The most recent report, Leadership Diversity in the Nonprofit Sector: Baby Steps, Big Strides, and Bold Stances was conducted by Carleton University’s Chris Fredette.
The research is based on three surveys of more than 420 organizations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It 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 report also finds that once a critical mass of 30% leadership diversity is reached, there is an increase in reported benefits.
Despite the overwhelming advantages of leadership diversity, the research found that visible minorities continue to be underrepresented in nonprofit boards in the 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.
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.
Excellence in governance is essential for the sustainability of voluntary sector organizations. Greater diversity will get us there.”
Ratna Omidvar and John Tory
Co-Chairs, DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project