AWAKE to WOKE to WORK: Building a Race Equity Culture

Posted by Equity in the Center on March 5, 2019

Achieving race equity — the condition where one’s racial identity has no influence on how one fares in society — is a fundamental element of social change across every issue area in the social sector. Yet the structural racism that endures in U.S. society, deeply rooted in our nation’s history and perpetuated through racist policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages, prevents us from attaining it. The impact of structural racism is evident not only in societal outcomes, but
in the very institutions that seek to positively impact them:

• Race Outcomes Gap. People of color fare worse than their white counterparts across every age and income level when it comes to societal outcomes. They
experience significant disadvantages in education, economic stability, health, life expectancy, and rates of incarceration.

• Racial Leadership Gap. BoardSource’s Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices found that people of color comprise 10% of CEOs, 10% of Board Chairs, and 16% of Board members. Compared to 40% of the working population, these figures indicate a large gap between race demographics of the working population and social sector leadership. Building Movement Project’s recent report, Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap, highlights that the racial leadership gap is not a pipeline problem, nor is it due to differences in education, skills, or interest; rather, it is a structural problem
within the sector.

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