Working to increase board diversity at NYC’s cultural institutions

Posted on: August 2, 2016

In New York City, “where more than two-thirds of residents identify as nonwhite, according to the 2010 census, 78 percent of the board members serving its cultural institutions are white,” writes Jacob Bernstein in Saturday’s (7/30) New York Times. The lengthy article reports on a recent city-commissioned study “on the ethnic makeup of the various organizations’ staffs, audiences and boards…. A number of historically insular boards appear to be making some inroads…. Exhibit A? Carnegie Hall, which in June named Robert Smith, the 53-year-old African-American chief of Vista Equity Partners, as its new chairman…. ‘There is an artistic history at these institutions that was sometimes way ahead of their philanthropic histories,’ said Gordon Davis, who in 1978 became the city’s first African-American parks commissioner under Mayor Edward I. Koch.” Among those interviewed in the article are Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a Harvard professor who formerly ran the New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Darren Walker, head of the Ford Foundation and vice board chairman at New York City Ballet; and Debra Lee, CEO of BET Networks and president of the board of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Posted August 2, 2016