March 31, 2010; Baltimore Sun | That most nonprofits are not led by minorities, lagging behind the populations they represent and serve, is not a surprise to readers of the Nonprofit Quarterly. We have covered this issue dozens of times, including giving attention to the legislation proposed in California that would have compelled large foundations to at least report on their grantmaking to people of color-led nonprofits.

The Baltimore Sun reports on a study conducted by the Urban Institute for the Baltimore-Washington Regional Nonprofit Racial Diversity Collaborative, which aims to recruit and promote minority leadership in the sector. For example, in Baltimore, 69.4 percent of the population is comprised by minorities, but only 33.7 percent of the nonprofits are minority led. The gap in Washington D.C. is a minority population of 67.7 percent compared to only 30.1 percent minority-led nonprofits. In D.C.-area counties, the minority proportion of the population is 62.6 percent served by only 22.4 percent minority led nonprofits.

According to Darryl Jones, the CEO of Maryland Nonprofits, the study findings were not surprising: “It corroborated what my personal experiences have been. When you have organizations that have few people of color on staff, oftentimes there aren’t opportunities to grow and to increase their capacity.” Now the challenge is, in the Baltimore-Washington corridor just like in California, now that we have put numbers to the minority leadership gap in the nonprofit sector, what is the nonprofit sector—and what are foundations—going to do to rectify this imbalance?—Rick Cohen