A new report surveyed over a hundred nonprofit organizations in the Sacramento area and found that Latino leadership is lacking. The report was conducted by the advocacy group, Latinos LEAD, and found that Latinos made up only about 10% of all nonprofit boards in Sacramento. The survey also found that on 40% of these boards, there was no Latino representation at all.
“Even if you’re talking about how do you best get food to folks who need it, how do you best create opening and welcoming spaces for arts, how do you address environmental challenges, it doesn’t look the same from community to community,” said Geoff Green, a board member of Latinos LEAD.
But, according to the latest U.S. Census data, about 24% of Sacramentans identify as Latino. In reacting to the survey results, Green said he believed the most significant barrier keeping many Latinos from serving on nonprofit boards is that they can be insular in their approach to selecting members.
“Boards are generally selected through existing social networks,” Green said. “If you’re starting with a board that is all or primarily white-identifying individuals or whatever the demographic is, there’s a greater chance that those folks’ networks look more like themselves.”
Megan Wargo is the CEO of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, headquartered in Sacramento. She said her board has made a concerted effort to diversify, as this can lead to better community outreach.
“If people didn’t see themselves in our leadership, they would have trouble seeing themselves in getting outdoors and connecting to those outdoor resources,” she said.
Wargo said her organization actively sought help from Latino leadership organizations to find board candidates.
“We realized we could do better,” Wargo said. “We looked to bring in cohorts of new members so we’re not just bringing in one new person at a time.”
Latinos LEAD also mentioned that other ways they’ve seen companies more successfully diversify their boards have included an open application process for a board position, to avoid just recruiting through existing networks.
Latinos LEAD has created a website where people can search over 1,000 nonprofits across the country to see which have Latino representation.
Surveys conducted by other organizations have looked at Latino representation in corporate boardrooms and the higher number of Latinos exiting the workforce. The data from these surveys have found similar levels of Latino underrepresentation in positions of power.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.