Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

At BoardSource, we believe that boards can — and must — play a leadership role on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As the decision-making body at the highest level of organizational leadership, boards play a critical role in creating an organization that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Whether in the hiring of the executive, the determination of strategy, the allocation of resources, or the goal of serving the community with authenticity, the board’s leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion matters.

Unfortunately, many boards are not grappling with these issues, which is something that BoardSource believes is informed and exacerbated by the lack of diversity — especially racial diversity — on boards. According to Leading with Intent, only 20 percent of all board members are people of color, and a full 25 percent of nonprofit boards are 100 percent white. BoardSource offers a number of resources and articles designed to stimulate conversation and greater awareness around diversity, equity, and inclusion and will be expanding these efforts in the coming years.

Resources and Articles


Diversity and Inclusion Assessment
Assessment Tool – Our diversity and inclusion assessment, Board Diversity in Action, serves as the starting point for your board to develop an action plan to strengthen its practices in this area or jump-start a stalled plan.
Benefiting from Diversity
101 Resource – By understanding the power of diversity and by utilizing it appropriately, a nonprofit board possesses the basic tools for creating a responsive and open-minded organization.
Beyond Political Correctness: Building a Diverse and Inclusive Board
101 Resource – Achieving diversity on a nonprofit board is a challenging but doable and essential task. Exceptional nonprofit boards recognize that diversity is essential to an organization’s success. They see the correlation between mission, strategy, and board composition and understand that establishing an inclusive organization starts with establishing a diverse and inclusive board.
Bringing a Global Perspective to the Boardroom
201 Resource – An organization that is experiencing a shift in its constituent ethnicity or that is expanding its reach past national borders needs a board that understands the strategic implications of this change. One method of addressing these new needs is to bring in board members who contribute to a global perspective. These new board members may reside in another country, but this essential perspective may also be easily found just around the corner.
If Your Board Looked Like Your Community
The James Irvine Foundation – Moving board diversity from a ‘problem to solve’ to ‘something to practice.’ Staff and board members weigh in on common hurdles and how to overcome them.