The Thirty Percent Coalition Receives $100,000 Grant from Nathan Cummings Foundation to Expand Efforts to Promote Women of Color to Serve on Corporate Boards

Press Release – Fort Washington, PA – January 8, 2019 – The Thirty Percent Coalition is honored to announce a $100,000 grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation to increase the candidacy and appointment of women of color to corporate boards.

Women as a group and women of color, in particular, are disproportionately underrepresented among corporate leaders.Continuing its work to increase female representation in the corporate boardroom, the partnership with the Nathan Cummings Foundation, known for its support of organizations advancing social justice, will allow the Coalition to expand its efforts to promote women of color to corporate boards.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation has long recognized shareholder activism and other forms of corporate engagement as important mechanisms for driving progress on environmental and social issues like diversity, equity and inclusion,  said Laura Campos, the Director of the Foundation’s Corporate & Political Accountability Program.The Thirty Percent Coalition has the reach and credibility to influence corporations’ approach to board diversity and we’re pleased to support its work to increase the number of women of color serving on corporate boards.

Over the past several years, progress to increase the number of women on corporate boards has been steady, but the pace of change is disappointing. The percentage of women on the boards of S&P 500 companies has increased from 18.7 percent in 2014 to 24.3 percent in 2018 (source: Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS)). However, the percentage of women of color in S&P 500 companies was only 3.0 percent in 2014 and 4.2 percent in 2018.

With the support of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, we will embark on a first-ever national Awareness Campaign to promote women of color in board leadership positions. The Campaign will consist of making the business case to companies to include women of color in their candidate pools, to encourage women of color to present their candidacy for board positions, and to create opportunities for companies and candidates to explore potential relationships,  said Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, Executive Director of the Thirty Percent Coalition.

Rhonda Mims, Chair of the Thirty Percent Coalition Board of Directors and EVP and Chief Public Affairs Officer at WellCare said,If we can determine why there is such a small number of women of color in the corporate boardroom, we can then implement solutions to achieve a fair representation. We are proud to partner with the Nathan Cummings Foundation to achieve this important milestone.

The Thirty Percent Coalition members include institutional investors representing over $4 trillion in assets under management, a sizable group of public companies and private equity firms, and the majority of the women’s and advocacy organizations in the US. An example of the Coalition’s impact is highlighted by the success of its “Adopt a Company” Campaign led by its institutional investors. Following the outreach and engagement since 2012, more than 200 companies have appointed a women to the board for the first time.

...we find that banks with more gender diversity on their board perform better once the composition of these boards reaches a critical level of gender diversity, corresponding to a board female share of around 13-17 percent.

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