Diversity Key to Finding Meaningful Solutions

Image of Dr. Ross
President and CEO
Mar 16, 2015

If you’re reading this blog post, then you’re probably very familiar with a fundamental message of the The California Endowment: that where we live plays a powerful role in the health of our families, too often with devastating results. 

The geographic factors we talk about most of the time include access to groceries with healthy food, the number of parks and bike paths in our neighborhoods and local schools that put a focus on helping students overcome challenges, instead of using discipline as a catch-all solution.

Well, we also know that clean water, clean air and other environmental factors are essential to the health of our families. And, too often, the same neighborhoods that struggle with quality food, parks and schools are too often hit with smog and and other toxins.

That’s why we were shocked to learn that the leadership of the mainstream environmental movement -- from funders to advocates -- lacks meaningful representation of people of color who often experience these geographic inequities.

Last week, I joined with Robert Raben, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney General based in Washington, D.C. who founded Green 2.0, an initiative to increase diversity in the environmental movement, to co-author an op-ed  in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. We called on more foundations to submit their diversity data and make public the diversity of their boards and staff leadership at all levels.

We are thrilled that, just as the op-ed was published, five major foundations announced that they would disclose diversity data. 

That’s good news for our environment, for diversity and for the ongoing work of foundations that are fighting to make our nation a healthier, better, and more inclusive place.

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