May 2, 2017

Inside Philanthropy’s Boardroom 'Bubble'

A first-of-its-kind Chronicle analysis puts data behind the longstanding concern that large foundations are elite, insular, and out of touch with average Americans.

At the 20 wealthiest national foundations, which control $162 billion in assets, plenty of board members have degrees from top private universities, but only a handful few live in rural or poor parts of the United States.

The analysis, which examined the gender, race, education, and residence of 232 foundation trustees, found that:

  • More trustees have Harvard degrees (52) than live in the “flyover states” (51).
  • Only one of the 232 trustees lives in one of the five states with the highest poverty rates.
  • 81 percent have graduate degrees.
  • 40 percent have Ivy League degrees.

The Chronicle also examined racial, ethnic and gender diversity on the boards. It found that 72 percent of trustees are white, while 63 percent are male.

See the full report here. Below are data on the trustees for each of the 20 foundations in our analysis. Click on a foundation name to see information about each board; you can also click on up to three foundation names to see the information on multiple boards.

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