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Enviro Organizations to Reveal Diversity Data

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Six top national environmental groups – Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, Resource Media, Audubon Society, Earthjustice and Environmental Defense Fund – will soon add diversity information to their profiles on GuideStar, an online database of nonprofit organizations. Their action follows the release of The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations, a report revealing the “green ceiling” that has resulted in underrepresentation of people of color in mainstream environmental organizations.

The report was authored by University of Michigan Professor Dorceta Taylor for Green 2.0, which is dedicated to increasing racial diversity in such organizations as well as in foundations and government agencies. Green 2.0 said the report found “lackluster interest” by many foundations and nonprofits in diversifying their staffs, even though people of color support environmental protections at higher rates than whites.

The diversity initiative was announced at a recent forum, “Breaking the Green Ceiling,” convened by Green 2.0, and New America Media, a national collaboration of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Green 2.0 is also partnering with the D5 Coalition, a group of foundations seeking to advance diversity and equity in philanthropy.

Groups Should Reflect Communities
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy told the gathering that it is essential for both EPA and the broader environmental leadership to reflect the communities most in need of being heard.

Also speaking at the event, incoming NRDC President Rhea Suh, the first woman of color to lead a major environmental organization, said the sharing of diversity data would be “a big step toward helping the mainstream environmental movement and the foundations that influence its priorities accelerate the drive to improve diversity in our ranks, especially at senior leadership levels.”

“A nonprofit sector that reflects the diversity of the human community it serves is far more likely to achieve its goals,” observed GuideStar President and CEO Jacob Harold.

“Emerald Cities applauds Green 2.0 for initiating greater transparency about diversity in the environmental advocacy arena,” said ECC President and CEO Denise Fairchild, who attended the forum. “We also congratulate Rhea Suh on being the first woman of color to head a major environmental group.

“As an organization dedicated to ensuring that low-income people of color and their communities benefit from efforts to curb climate change,” she continued, “ECC is proud to have 50 percent African American, Hispanic and Asian representation on its staff." 

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