Research for Action



The Women’s Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (WNLI) and The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University are proud to announce the release of their second triennial report on board diversity in the largest medical and educational institutions in Greater Philadelphia. Closing the Gaps: Gender and Race in Nonprofit Boardrooms is the first report on area board diversity based primarily on information from the institutions themselves.

This report expands on our 2019 report, The Gender Gap in Nonprofit Boardrooms, and commends the institutions that have shown significant progress in the last three years. But it also points out the work required for many of these boards in order to reflect the diversity of their staffs, students, patients, and the communities they serve, and to give more women and people of color the opportunity to become board chairs.

Read the Full Report

Read the Executive Summary


WNLI’s update to its 2019 report, The Gender Gap in Nonprofit Boardrooms, reveals that diversity on nonprofit eds and meds boards has improved, but there is still a long way to go.

​Click here to read the update.  See the full report under 2019 below.


The Women’s Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (WNLI) and Nonprofit Issues have jointly published a new national study of gender diversity on the boards of major nonprofit educational and healthcare institutions. The report – Increasing Gender Diversity on the Boards of Nonprofit Eds and Meds:  Why and How to Do It – is based on in-depth confidential interviews with 59 ed and med board members and institutional leaders (chairs and chief executives) in 14 states and the District of Columbia, representing every region of the United States. This qualitative study explores the reasons behind the numbers reported in WNLI’s earlier report (with La Salle University and its Nonprofit Center) and recommends strategies for changing the numbers.

Read the Full Report

Read the Executive Summary

Click here to access a Ready Reference Page about the report from Nonprofit Issues.

Click here for the Press Release

Praise For Our Study

Female former college/university president and university board member: “Lots of interesting insights here, especially the ways in which nonprofit boards have their own exclusionary factors — expectation of giving, work through the executive committee because of the size of the board, etc.  I had not thought of these factors even though I’ve spent most of my life participating in nonprofit boards, one way or another.”

Female former board chair of academic medical center health system: “This extensive report provides evidence that when board leadership values diversity of skills, experience, age, geography, and points of view, they have a better opportunity to create a gender and racially diverse board.”

Male college faculty member, and former faculty president:  “This serious study, and its major conclusions, deserve wide attention from the current gatekeepers of  America’s Eds and Meds.”

Female healthcare system board leader: “I can state quite surely that the report and the visibility it received was an accelerator and a call to action for our board.”

Male university board chair: “I very much agree with your conclusions and hope your results will help folks make real progress.”

Female healthcare executive, faculty member, and member of corporate and nonprofit boards:  “I enjoyed reading this report. It is comprehensive, informative and clearly written. One surprising finding to me, although it shouldn’t of been, was that consumers have a role to play and don’t appreciate it.”

Female university board chair: “This report convincingly shows that institutional leaders must intentionally pursue greater diversity on their boards. It’s just not going to happen automatically. Our boards need to “look” more like the populations we serve.”


The Women’s Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (WNLI) and The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business, are proud to announce the release of the first census of women board members of the 50 largest medical and educational institutions in Greater Philadelphia. The Gender Gap in Nonprofit Boardrooms is the first in-depth analysis of gender diversity on the boards of these major regional nonprofit institutions. 

This research launches the first of what we hope will be a triennial look at the gender and racial composition of the boards of the largest 25 healthcare and 25 largest higher education nonprofits in our region. We want to encourage these 50 premiere nonprofit organizations, as well as all nonprofits in the region, regardless of budget and mission, to move to a gender and racial balance that is reflective of their constituencies and the larger communities of which they are a part. Read the full report.


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