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April 29, 2016

Opinion: Study Shows That in Nonprofit Support, Race Matters

A survey of Philadelphia human-services charities found significant disparities in size, financial resources, and other measures of success between white- and black-led organizations, three area African-American leaders write in a column for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The new report from the Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum is based on interviews with 145 charity heads, about half of them black and most of the rest white. The African-American-led groups lag in staff, volunteers, and cash reserves and are more dependent on government grants, making their financial situation more precarious, write Sharmain Matlock-Turner and David Brown, the forum’s co-chairs, and Kelly Woodland, its former managing director.

Among other recommendations, the authors call for greater collaboration among black-led groups to build “social capital” that can lead to more funding opportunities and access to political leaders. They also urge Philadelphia nonprofits hiring new leaders to solicit the forum to identify qualified African-American candidates and guarantee them interviews, a variation on the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule” for head-coaching vacancies.