TOP ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS PLEDGE TO REVEAL DIVERSITY DATA
Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Resource Media & Earthjustice promise to submit organizational diversity numbers by February 2015, Green 2.0 announced at event.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Six of the nation’s top environmental organizations have formally pledged to submit their diversity data by February 2015, it was announced at Green 2.0 and New America Media’s “Breaking the Green Ceiling” Forum Dec. 9. Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Resource Media and Earthjustice have agreed to submit their diversity data to their GuideStar profiles.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke at the briefing and underscored the value of the Green 2.0 initiative, measuring what we value and creating plans to improve diversity. She told the standing-room only crowd that in order to grow the movement, it is essential for the Environmental Protection Agency and the broader environmental leadership to reflect the communities most in need of being heard. This would help advance the goals of clean air, clean water, and healthy land for every American.
Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Chief of Staff to the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator – and daughter of a Tuskegee Airman – noted that the Green 2.0 initiative helps the Environmental Protection Agency and the sector to understand what has improved and how far we have to go, in having staffs that represent, and can speak for, communities all across the country.
Green 2.0 is partnering with GuideStar and the D5 Coalition to increase transparency on diversity in the mainstream environmental movement, as part of a comprehensive strategy. This follows the recent release of the “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies” report commissioned by Green 2.0 and authored by professor Dorceta Taylor, which found that although people of color now account for more than a third of the U.S. population, they have on average not broken the 16 percent “green ceiling” in mainstream environmental organizations.
Danielle Deane, director of the Green 2.0 working group, noted that the Taylor Report also found lackluster interest, among many foundations and NGOs, to institute strategies that could make cultures more welcoming in order to attract and retain a more diverse range of people. This is despite the fact that people of color support environmental protections at higher rates than whites.
Incoming Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh – the first woman of color to lead a major mainstream environmental organization – said, “Today we took 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. NRDC already has pledged to share its data. But while greater transparency is a key driver of change, we also must significantly broaden this conversation so that Americans from all walks of life embrace our efforts and goals as their own.”
“A nonprofit sector that reflects the diversity of the human community it serves is far more likely to achieve its goals,” said Jacob Harold, President and CEO of GuideStar. “We are also pleased to partner with Green 2.0. The ‘green ceiling’ findings made clear that it is time for the environmental community to move beyond a fragmented set of diversity initiatives and embrace a comprehensive strategy. The data needed to do that is what we’re offering. And that’s good for all of us.”
Kelly Brown, director of the D5 coalition of foundations seeking to advance diversity and equity in philanthropy, led the development of the standards. GuideStar, D5 and Green 2.0 have invited the top 40 environmental foundations and NGOs to pledge to submit diversity data to their GuideStar Profiles so that the sector can track progress. Organizations can make the pledge on GuideStar’s website.
“New America Media, as a collaboration of ethnic media across the country, was thrilled to co-host today’s event,” said Sandy Close, NAM Director who moderated the panel. “Green 2.0 is about diversifying not only the leadership but the outreach and communications of the environmental movement, and ethnic media are critical in achieving that goal.”
“At a time when people of color are on average not even 5 percent of mainstream environmental nongovernmental organization boards, it is clear that more must be done to address the overwhelmingly white ‘Green Insider’s Club,’” said Robert Raben, President of The Raben Group and founder of Green 2.0.
Mark Magaña, the first Latino to serve as senior staff at both the White House and in Congressional leadership, reiterated the need for organizations to address the internal cultural issues revealed in the Taylor Report. Hearing the stories of colleagues not feeling supported in the mainstream environmental organizations drove him to found GreenLatinos and play a critical role in the development of Green 2.0.
“That difference makes all the difference. No matter the scope, the scale, the audience, the intervention, the environmental challenge, the diversity of perspective, of approach, of experience matters,” said Roger-Mark DeSouza, Director, Population, Environmental Security & Resilience, Wilson Center. “The commonality of the challenges we face in the environmental movement in the United States and globally unify us in purpose to make real and impacting difference.”
Organizations are invited to tweet their support for a more transparent environmental sector by using the hashtag #PledgeDiversityData.
About Green2.0 (@diversegreen):
Green2.0 is dedicated to increasing racial diversity across mainstream environmentalNGOs, foundations and government agencies through increased data transparency,accountability and resources.
About New America Media (@NewAmericaMedia):
NewAmerica Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration andadvocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adultsconnect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnicmedia outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism.