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NEW Leadership Research Series Report 
2012 API Representation on the Top 100 Boards

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Download the press release
Download the executive summary
Download the key findings
Download the full report (28 pages) 

Key Findings

  • In 2012, 71 percent of the Top 100 Foundations lacked API representation on their boards
  • 42 API directors sit on 44 board seats at 29 of the Top 100 Foundation boards
  • Although APIs increased their share of board seats from 37 in 2010 to 44 in 2012, the percentage of board seats held by APIs decreased by almost one percent due to an increase in the total number of board seats at Top 100 Foundations from 748 to 1,086
  • As in 2010, no APIs head a Top 100 Foundation in the role of executive director, president and/or CEO. Two API directors remain as chair of a foundation board: Tessie Guillermo and Irene Y. Hirano Inouye
  • Out of the 42 API directors, 17 (40.5 percent) are women, an increase from 12 (33.3 percent) in 2010
  • In 2012, the ethnic breakdown of the 42 API directors is as follows: Chinese (14), Japanese (11), Asian Indian (8), Korean (4), Filipino (2) Laotian (1), Singaporean (1) and Vietnamese (1)
  • Even though 42 of the Top 100 Foundations are headquartered in two states with the largest API population (California and New York), only 33.3 percent have API representation on their boards
  • Nine of the Top 100 Foundations have two or more API directors on their boards (an increase from seven in 2010): The Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The California Endowment, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The California Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund

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About Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs)

People of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) descent make up more than half the world’s population and 6 percent (18.5 million) of the total U.S. population. According to the 2010 Census, the Asian American population in the United States grew 46 percent between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other major race group in the country, including Hispanics. The Census Bureau’s latest population projections estimate APIs to reach 41 million by 2050. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, API’s buying power is projected to climb to more than $1 trillion by 2017.

There are several terms that are used referring to this community: Asian, Asian American, Asian Pacific Islander, Asian Pacific Islander American, Asian Pacific American and Asian American and Pacific Islander American to name a few. There are two major groups that comprise the community: Asian and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Asian category as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent,” which includes over 20 different ethnic groups.  Southeast Asian generally includes Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian and Vietnamese.  South Asian generally includes Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Pakistani, and Sri Lankan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the largest Asian groups in the U.S. include: Chinese (23.5%), Asian Indian (18.8%), Filipino (17.1%), Vietnamese (11%), Korean (9.9%) and Japanese (5.3%).

The Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islandercategory is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands,” which includes 20 different ethnic groups. Native Hawaiian (30.9%), Samoan (22.6%) and Chamorro or Guamanian (14.3%) are the largest Pacific Islander groups in the country.



LEAP made every effort to achieve a high degree of accuracy. Information on race, ethnicity and gender composition of board members is not always publicly available. If errors or omissions are discovered, LEAP will make necessary adjustments. 

Please contact the report author, Rima K. Matsumoto, Vice President of Research and Strategic Alliances at (202) 412-4190 or via email at rmatsumoto@leap.org

Download Full Report (28 Pages): PDF

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