New York City Nonprofit Leadership Racial Equity Research Project

We need clear, solid data on the racial leadership of nonprofits in New York City and the financial position of BIPOC-led organizations.

Nonprofit New York, Candid, and SeaChange Capital Partners are working on an updated report that will help the sector, funders, and policymakers understand current racial leadership disparities within the nonprofit sector. By completing the demographic data in your Candid Profile (formally Guidestar), you will help our sector understand how the leadership of nonprofits in New York City reflects the city’s population.

The nonprofit sector in New York City employs 18% of the City’s workers and accounts for 9.4% of the City’s GDP. Nonprofits make crucial contributions to the City’s economy, sustain the safety net, directly serve New Yorkers to alleviate poverty, and build communities in every neighborhood across New York City. A majority of the New York City nonprofit workforce are women and people of color, but a closer look at nonprofits’ leadership demographics and fiscal health illuminates a serious racial equity problem. Nationally, people of color are less likely to be in senior leadership positions in nonprofits, and for similar organizations, the revenues of Black-led organizations are 24% smaller than revenues of white-led counterparts, and unrestricted net assets of Black-led organizations are 76% smaller than white-led organizations. Analysis by the Asian American Federation found that between 2002 and 2014, Asian serving nonprofits received only 3.1% of City social service contracts, despite the fact that over 15% of the City’s population is Asian and the community has a poverty rate of close to 20%. New York City’s nonprofit sector, philanthropic leaders, and policymakers frequently make inferences about the scope and impact of racial disparities, but inferences are not enough. We need clear, solid data on the financial position of BIPOC-led organizations and what the current best practice is for what counts as leadership, as defined by BIPOC communities.

In 2018, Nonprofit New York partnered with NYC Service to issue What Lies Beneath: The State of NYC Nonprofit Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The report includes data from a demographic survey of NYC nonprofit sector leaders collected in 2017. The report found that nonprofit leadership demographics did not reflect the diversity of New York City. From the sample of 420 respondents, a majority of New York City nonprofit CEOs/EDs and board members identified as white, between the ages of 46 and 64, cisgender, and heterosexual. Specifically, 69.3% of CEO/EDs identified as white in 2017, yet the white population of New York City at the time was 31.8%.10 Conversely, the percentage of CEO/EDs who identified as Latinx, Black, and Asian was much lower than the percentage of the Black, Asian, and Latinx population of the City. In 2017, Hispanic/Latinx individuals were 29.2% of the City population, but only accounted for 7% of respondent CEOs/EDs. The Black population in New York City was 24.3%, yet Black CEOs/EDs were 14.9% of respondents. The Asian American population was 14.1%, but only 4.9% of CEO/ED respondents were Asian. While this data has helped to document the racial leadership disparities in NYC, there is more work to be done. It has been close to four years since the data was collected and since that time there have been monumental forces that have impacted the sector. On the positive side, funders and policymakers have launched dedicated racial equity initiatives. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic crisis, plus the Great Resignation that we are currently experiencing has certainly impacted the current landscape.

In 2019, Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center to update the demographic survey on the Candid profile allowing organizations to share information about their executives, board, senior leadership, and staff, along race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status. To increase transparency and efficiency in the sector, Nonprofit New York and Candid currently have a data-sharing agreement and dedicated partnership to increase nonprofit organizations in New York City to complete the demographic information within their Candid profiles. In the last year there has been an increase of 166% in the number of nonprofits in New York City that have provided some demographic information through Candid profiles.

Candid’s GuideStar platform is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. The searchable application currently includes data on over 2.8 million nonprofits, including more than 48,000 in New York City, making it easier to understand who they are and what they do. Any nonprofit listed on GuideStar can easily claim and maintain their own profile at no cost to ensure accuracy and transparency.

Our sector and funders need updated analysis on the leadership demographics of nonprofit organizations in New York City, and analysis of demographic disparities based on organizational budget size and type of organization. To truly tailor public policy and program interventions to promote intersectional racial equity within the nonprofit sector, the sector, funders, and policymakers must understand differences in financial position and financial sustainability of nonprofit organizations based on the demographics of organizational leadership.

Are you a nonprofit, and want to be part of the research?

Update your Candid profile including your demographic information.

Join an upcoming training: “Start Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story Using Your Candid Profile” to learn more about Candid Profiles and the research:

June 16, 10 - 11 am ET