Governance

The Wall Street Takeover of Nonprofit Boards

Executives from the finance industry represent a growing percentage of board members, and an even larger percentage of board leadership, at some of America’s most influential nonprofits. Overrepresentation of financiers results in less diverse boards—an essential element of governance—and greatly affects the culture and dynamics of nonprofit boardrooms.

Over the past twenty-five years the composition of the boards at some of America’s most important nonprofit organizations has dramatically changed. Without much notice, a legion of Wall Street executives (investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and others) has taken a growing number of seats in nonprofit boardrooms. Not only that, they hold a disproportionate share of the leadership positions on these boards.

One of the obvious reasons for this shift is undoubtedly the pressure that...


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