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Vision and Voice: The Role of Leadership and Dialogue in Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Publication Date: 
April, 2014
Philanthropy NorthwestD5 CoalitionSeattle University Nonprofit Leadership Program

Despite a field replete with research, analysis, recommended policies and practices — not to mention an abundance of educational programs and frameworks for grantmaking to diverse communities — philanthropic leaders have been slow to advance these values in their foundations. Philanthropy Northwest (PNW) wondered: what is getting in the way? Why are good intentions, buttressed with theory and practical advice, not achieving better results on measures of diversity, equity and inclusion?

With the support of the D5 Coalition, PNW began a year-long study to explore these questions. The study was divided into two parts. They began with personal interviews of 23 philanthropic leaders in the Pacific Northwest. In order to better understand how these organizations incorporated diversity, equity, and inclusion into their work and workplaces, they collected baseline information about their staff composition, leadership styles, and organizational practices/policies.

This report details their findings. It includes an in-depth look at the peer cohort model, in which ten foundation leaders met regularly to discuss these issues and support each other in advancing their own leadership. It also includes practical lessons about shifting organizational cultures towards greater diversity, equity and inclusion — lessons drawn directly from the experiences of peer cohort leaders.

PNW presented this work in a webinar hosted by the D5 Coalition. The webinar recording and slides are below.

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