Philanthropic Paths: An Exploratory Study of the Career Pathways of Professionals of Color in Philanthropy

This study, commissioned by the D5 Coalition, provides a nuanced picture of the career experiences of 43 philanthropic professionals of color ranging from Program Officers to CEOs working in an array of foundations. Through an exploration of the perceptions, analyses, and career histories of people of color working in the philanthropic sector, this study aims to advance the field's understanding of the following questions:

  1. What are the career pathways of people of color in philanthropy in terms of how they enter the field and advance to higher levels of seniority?
  2. What factors do philanthropic professionals of color view as posing the greatest barriers and contributors to career advancement in the sector?
  3. What is the perceived value of and challenges to achieving greater leadership diversity in foundations from the perspective of professionals of color in the field?

While not generalizable to the broader population of people of color working in the sector, interviews conducted with these individuals surfaced a set of potentially common points of entry and career pathways among professionals of color in philanthropy, as well as the factors that helped shape those pathways.


Arnold Chandler, Lisa Quay


D5 Coalition, Forward Change

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