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May 29, 2015

Wall Street Holds Growing Sway on Charity Boards, Study Finds

The percentage of nonprofit board members who come from the finance industry has more than doubled in the past 25 years, changing not just the face but also the values of the charity world, according to a new academic paper cited by CNBC.

Financiers hold 44 percent of board slots and 56 percent of board leadership positions at liberal-arts colleges and New York City nonprofits, the study by Ohio State University law professor Garry W. Jenkins found.

The growing Wall Street presence undercuts racial and economic diversity on charity boards and can foster an "uncritical adoption of financial concepts, approaches, and values," emphasizing data-driven decisions, short-term targets, and "executive-style leadership and compensation," the report states.