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America was founded on the principles of justice, equality, and inclusion. As a nation, we continue to strive for full participation and equality for all citizens, upon whose shoulders rest the responsibility for upholding these principles. America is a multicultural society dedicated to inclusive participation in our democracy, and our laws and social policies have evolved over time to reflect this commitment.

For our nation, we endeavor to build upon the diversity of our citizens to embrace the fullness of our democracy, and in doing so we advance inclusion as both a moral imperative and an excellent business model. The public service sector—from government and academic think tanks to foundations and nonprofit organizations—must be inclusive if we are to develop fair and effective structures to fulfill the intention of our democracy. This can be accomplished through removing cultural and structural barriers as well as individual acts of discrimination or bias.

Though growing in population, people of color remain underrepresented in the leadership of the public service sector, an issue that can and must be resolved if we are to effectively change our nation’s most pressing social issues—from education to health, environment, and justice. Our country is now composed of one-third, or 34 percent, people of color—a population that will grow to 54 percent by 2042.[1]  However, federal government leadership is only 16 percent people of color.[2]On the state level, people of color hold only 15 percent of statewide elective executive positions across the country. Moreover, only 18 percent of nonprofit leadership positions are filled by people of color[3]  and only 17 percent of foundation executives are people of color.[4]

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[1]U.S. Census Bureau, August 2008
[2]Membership of the 111th Congress: A Profile, Congressional Research Service, December 2008
[3]Change Ahead: The 2004 Nonprofit Executive Leadership and Transitions Survey, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2004, p. 2
[4]Change Ahead: The 2004 Nonprofit Executive Leadership and Transitions Survey, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2004, p. 2