Dear friends and colleagues,
Did you know that the makeup of nonprofit boards can influence the trajectory of a regional economy?
Studies of regional economies in the Rust Belt have shown that when boards in different social sectors had little overlap, it hindered collaboration and led to misalignment of work. On the flip side, when board members in different sectors had excessive overlap, there was an even greater problem—a complete lack of infusion of new ideas and innovation.
What’s the ideal? Heterogeneous boards that have members who also serve on boards of other sectors, and board members who operate solely within that space. This sweet spot in social leadership prevents groupthink while also allowing for alignment of economic and social goals. It is the mechanism that allowed cities such as Allentown to embrace new industries and spin-off new sectors in the wake of the American manufacturing decline, while other cities such as Youngstown did not. Social leadership that brought together disparate groups of people played a major role in enabling post-Industrial cities to reinvent their economies.
With this is mind, and with the knowledge that New Orleans has major legacy industries such as oil & gas and port-related shipping that have lost thousands of jobs since their heyday in the mid and late 20th century, The Data Center looked at the composition of nonprofit boards within Southeast Louisiana and determined which sectors had substantial board member overlap and which ones were siloed.
We particularly focused on the environmental sector and its overlap with other sectors and within itself. This social sector is at the epicenter of the water management economic cluster and thus, incredibly important to New Orleans’ environmental fate and prosperity going forward. As detailed in previous reports, water management is potentially the federally-fueled economic ramp that New Orleans can take toward a more prosperous, sustainable future.
The data shows that environmental boards are significantly siloed not only from other sectors, but also from each other. With just 4 percent board member overlap within the sector and 0 percent overlap with many other sectors, the exchange of ideas and civic alignment that can follow from diverse boards is being left on the table.
Our new infographic explains why heterogeneous social leadership is so important, and where we stand in Southeast Louisiana.
Check out our new infographic at:
And here at The Data Center, we didn’t just identify this opportunity, we scraped the data to make acting on this opportunity as easy as downloading a spreadsheet and making a few phone calls.
Make use of our newly released nonprofit boards data that includes the names of board members of hundreds of Southeast Louisiana nonprofits and important information about these nonprofits, including their locations and sectors. The excel tables also show which nonprofits have overlapping board members.
Check out our newly released Nonprofit Board Excel Tables at:
Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center team
Allison Plyer, Keisha Dubuclet, Caroline Heffernan and Nihal Shrinath
P.S. The Data Center’s donors play a critical role in ensuring that our community has access to this kind of actionable, high impact data. If you’d like to be “counted in that number” we are pleased to announce The Data Center now has an easy-to-use option for donating through our web site. Check it out: http://www.datacenterresearch.org/support-us/