Doing More With Less: Racial Diversity in Nonprofit Leadership and Organizational Resilience


  • Steven Mumford University of New Orleans



Nonprofit Leadership, Racial Diversity, Organizational Resilience, COVID-19 Pandemic, Racial Funding Gap


Racial diversity in nonprofit leadership presents a variety of benefits crucial for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, leadership remains predominately white. Practitioner-oriented studies decry racial disparities in nonprofit funding, but academic literature offers mixed conclusions on how diversity influences resource acquisition. This article examines associations between racial composition of nonprofit leadership and organizational resilience to the pandemic, based on a survey of New Orleans-based nonprofits in winter 2021. Logistic regressions assess whether leadership diversity increases the likelihood of organizational resilience in both service delivery and financial health, finding that greater board diversity is associated with targeted programming and advocacy to support racially diverse communities, and expanded service delivery. However, greater Black board representation is associated with lack of reserves, threatening financial sustainability. The analysis uncovers disparate effects of racial diversity on resilience for service delivery versus finances, suggesting diverse nonprofits are “doing more with less” in response to the pandemic.

Author Biography

  • Steven Mumford, University of New Orleans

    Steven W. Mumford is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of New Orleans, where he helps lead the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and PhD in Justice Studies programs. His research focuses on assessing and promoting social equity within and through nonprofit leadership and program evaluation.






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