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New CCPA Research Highlights Lack of Diversity in the Corporate Social Impact Industry


WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Results of a first-of-its-kind research study of corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals conducted by the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP), in partnership with the Building Movement Project (BMP) and Leverage Philanthropic Partners (LPP), clearly demonstrate the lack of diverse professionals working in the field of corporate social responsibility. This is the first CSR-related study to disaggregate data by race and seniority. Results include:

  • 61% of respondents indicated that they worked in teams with less than 25% BIPOC employees

  • 58% of respondents said “none/few” of their team members come from the communities served by their company’s CSR programs

  • Less than 20% of CSR professionals feel very prepared to effectively advance equity in their work

The report comes nearly two years after the killing of George Floyd sparked a nationwide movement for racial justice. Corporate America has pledged nearly $50 billion for racial equity in the wake of Floyd’s death, and many companies have made diversity, equity and inclusion a priority within their organizations. and especially in their social impact programs. Yet challenges remain, with key staff lacking the lived experience, training and resources to bring about real change.

“Ultimately, corporate social impact teams lack the diversity and lived experience of the people and communities their programs are aimed at, especially at the senior management level,” said Carolyn Berkowitz. , CEO of ACCP. “And without addressing these shortcomings, companies will fall short of their publicly stated racial equity goals.”

“When it comes to corporate giving, there is a direct relationship between where and how funding is channeled to community partners and who sits in seats of power and influence,” said Edgar Villanueva, director, Leverage Philanthropic Partners. & Decolonizing Wealth Project in the foreword to the study. . “Corporate giving needs to be informed by people who understand the issues facing communities because they come from those communities – and share the same historically marginalized backgrounds and lived experiences.”

The results are part of a research report, Advancing Equity in the Profession of Corporate Social Impact. The report outlines a five-part action plan for the social impact profession and its companies to advance racial equity and maximize the return on their social impact investments:

  1. Build a diverse talent pool by capturing the interest of young people of color and preparing them to enter the profession.
  2. Provide pathways for growth and upward mobility by differentially investing in development opportunities for business social impact professionals of color.
  3. Advocate for a sustained commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in employment practices and community investments.
  4. Train and resource corporate social impact teams to deliver on corporate equity commitments and equip professionals with the knowledge to catalyze change.
  5. Build partnerships in the broader realm of social impact that support racial equity.

Advancing Equity in the Profession of Corporate Social Impact was funded by various companies, including Bank of America, CAF America, Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Georgia-Pacific, KPMG, Salesforce, and Walmart. The findings are based on survey responses from more than 200 CSR professionals and information gathered from three BIPOC professional focus groups led by Building Movement Project & Leverage Philanthropic Partners.

Research Methodology

The survey was open to all corporate social impact professionals; ACCP has led outreach efforts to more than 1,200 professionals in the field and encouraged the participation of all members of CSR teams within a company. The survey was open for six weeks in August and September 2021. At the end of the study, 208 responses were collected and all responses were anonymous. LPP Founder Edgar Villanueva and BMP Co-Executive Director Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, both men of color, moderated the focus groups with BIPOC professionals working in corporate citizenship teams across the countries via videoconference in September and October 2021. Two of the focus groups were comprised of mid-level professionals and one was restricted to senior executives.

Access all Advancing Equity in the Profession of Corporate Social Impact report here.

The Association of Corporate Citizen Professionals (ACCP) is the membership association for goal-oriented businesses and a career-long resource for goal-oriented professionals. ACCP advances the field of corporate citizenship and serves as a strategic resource for its community of impact-minded professionals so they can do the most good they can in their businesses, communities and around the world. . For more information, visit accp.org.

Leverage philanthropic partners

LPP is an Indigenous and Black-led consulting firm working to advance social impact by providing transformative capacity building in foundations, nonprofits, and individual and family philanthropies.

Movement building project

Building Movement Project is a national nonprofit organization that develops research, creates tools and training materials, and facilitates networks to support and inspire the nonprofit sector to tackle important social issues.