“On October 22, 2009, the Council on Foundations released Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership 2009 Baseline Report, which describes how foundations choose their leaders and what those leaders say about the process. Based on the appointments of 440 CEOs and executive directors from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2008, this first-of-its-kind study contributes to the field’s knowledge of hiring practices, of the professional backgrounds of foundation and grantmaking executives, and of the major milestones contributing to career success and advancement. Key findings and subsequent field dialogues will help to inform stakeholders about the launch of the Council’s Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership project”
Here are the six key highlights from the research:
1. The majority (79.5%) of the 440 foundations appointing CEOs and executive directors during the study period filled them not through internal promotions but from candidates outside the foundations.
2. Most of the successful candidates (63.4%) held executive positions in their immediate prior posi- tion as either chief executive (38.9%) or vice president (24.5%) before successfully landing in their current position.
3. The majority of the successful candidates made the transition from fields outside of philanthropy— primarily from the business (24.3%) and nonprofit (24.8%) sectors.
4. Of the successful candidates, nearly 20 percent were from racially and ethnically diverse back- grounds and about half (48.7%) were women.
5. Thirty percent of field leaders who were interviewed said mentors played a major role in their career advancement.
6. About 85 percent of the interviewees expressed significant skepticism about the willingness of trustees, search consultants, and other hiring decision makers to be influenced by leadership development efforts (such as fellowship programs that train new leaders) as they contemplate hiring decisions about executive candidates.
To download the complete study, click here.