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For years, US corporations have made statements pledging to add leaders of color to their boards, however, new data finds that little progress has been made. On Tuesday (coincidentally the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month), new analysis from the Institutional Shareholder Services’ ESG division showed that while underrepresented ethnic and racial groups comprise 40% of the US population, they are just 12.5% of board directors at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies. This number has barely moved since 2015 when nonwhite members made up 10%.

If you narrow the scope to just the top 200 companies in the S&P 500, African-Americans hold only about 10% of board seats and Hispanic or Latino leaders hold only 4% of board seats. This representation also falls well below their shares of the US population at 13% and 19%, respectively.

Board diversity is important as the decisions made influence thousands of Americans. Additionally, there is an economic imperative. Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth one by 36% in profitability.

We’ve previously written about innovative campaigns like The Board Challenge and The Board Diversity Action Alliance and hope similar initiatives include more racial minority groups to further increase the diversity of corporate boards as well as continue to hold corporations accountable for reporting out diversity data.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” JFK, Rice University, September 12, 1962
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An honor to see our CEO Jean Case and Chairman Steve Case recognized for their commitment to investing for change in the Forbes Impact 50. This list of inspiring changemakers also features the likes of Cheryl Dorsey, Jacqueline Novogratz, Freada Kapor Klein, Mitch Kapor, Marc Benioff, and Lynne Benioff.
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