Most Foundation Boards Lack Asians, Pacific Islanders, says LEAP
The most recent of the Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) research reports has examined the inclusion of Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) in the top 100 foundation boards. The results have revealed a real scarcity of APIs in the foundation world. While APIs increased their numbers of board seats by six in 2012, inclusion has dropped from 4.95 percent in 2010 to 4 percent this year. The decline is a consequence of an increase in the number of board seats at the top 100 foundations.
“There has been little progress in the top 100 foundation boardrooms. Therefore, our attention must focus on the need for all foundations to increase Asian and Pacific Islander representation on their boards,” said Linda Akutagawa, LEAP’s President and CEO. “Furthermore, there are zero APIs leading any of these foundations in the role of executive director, president and/or CEO, an issue we must challenge.”
Other key findings of the report include:
• Of the available 1,086 board seats in 2012, only 44 were filled by a total of 42 API directors and only 29 of the top 100 boards had any API representation.
• Of the 42 directors, 40.5 percent were women; a jump from 33.3 percent in 2010.
• The 42 API directors included the following ethnicities: Chinese (14), Japanese (11, Asian Indian (8), Korean (4), Filipino (2), Laotian (1), Singaporean (1), and Vietnamese (1).
• Nine of the top 100 foundations had at least two API board directors; up from seven in 2010.
“Being effective in creating positive change in today’s world requires cultivating fresh perspectives and you don’t get that by perpetuating an ‘all of the same’ leadership model,” added Akutagawa. “LEAP strongly encourages foundations to step up and ensure that talented individuals—regardless of gender, race and ethnicity—have opportunities to sit at the decision-making table and contribute.”
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