No doubt you will be shocked–shocked!–to learn from a Greenlining Institute study that less than 4% of grant money from national foundations goes to minority-led charities. The Gates Foundation was able to move the needle a bit with a $535 million gift to the United Negro College Fund (with this gift included, the percentage of grant dollars to minority-led charities shoots up to 14.7%), but the overall point remains: organized philanthropy is color-blind–that is, blind to the existence of anyone of color.
Could this possibly have anything to do with the disgracefully low levels of minority representation on foundation boards? In 2002 (and trust me, little has changed), the Foundation Center reported:
only two in five foundations (314 of 704) have one or more persons of color on their boards. In 2002, more than half (55.7 percent) of the 930 minority board members identified in the management survey served on the boards of community foundations, and less than 5 percent served on family foundation boards.
And if you ask them about it, the foundations will say they just can’t find any qualified minority members–an answer they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) tolerate from the charities they fund.