The Exit Interview: Perceptions on why Black Professionals Leave Grantmaking


This report examines one of the primary challenges of most diversity and inclusion efforts: retention. It highlights the decline of black philanthropic executives and provides insights about why these executives choose to leave, citing reasons such as lack of advancement into leadership positions, inability to make direct community change, and feeling isolated and undervalued. The report features first person narratives that punctuate the findings that philanthropic leaders should focus on the entire career cycle, from recruitment to retention to advancement, in order to keep their black executives on board. These findings are not new or unique to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors; indeed, they echo what black executives and staff have said in the private and government sectors as well. Rather than taking comfort in this, nonprofits should treat it as a wakeup call. The nonprofit and philanthropic sectors need to recognize that being mission-based is not enough to retain employees, especially black staff members. This report underlines the need for every organization to be vigilant about building inclusive work environments where all perspectives and backgrounds are valued and heard.

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