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Alliance for Board Diversity: Fact Sheet

About The Alliance for Board Diversity:

The Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) is a collaboration of three leading national
organizations–-Catalyst, The Executive Leadership Council, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility—that use a business focus to support and advance the interests of executive women and minorities in the workplace, including increased diversity and fair representation on corporate boards. 

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and The Prout Group are key partners with the Alliance for Board Diversity. 

Our Mission:

With a specific focus on corporate governance, the mission of the Alliance for Board Diversity is to make the business case for inclusion on corporate boards through our belief that shareholder interests are best served by promoting the diversification of boardrooms within publicly traded U.S. companies.

Our Beliefs:

  • The Alliance for Board Diversity believes that corporate governance can best deliver on its duty to shareholder interests when corporate boards:
  • Include as directors women and minorities with diverse talents, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • Make independent decisions based on knowledge of the external environment and how it impacts the company.
  • Enhance public trust by acknowledging the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities they impact with goods and services. 

Our Call to Action:

The members of the Alliance for Board Diversity are committed to the following
action steps resulting from the objective analysis of its benchmark research as it
pertains to women and minorities within the boardrooms of corporate America:

  • Offer referrals of qualified candidates which can help facilitate boardroom diversification.
  • Conduct research to measure changes in the demographic makeup within Fortune 100 boards and raise awareness of these findings.
  • Identify corporations that commit to the diversification of their own boardrooms  and endorse the ABD mission, collectively or individually, via “signatory” status.
  • Ally with and support like-minded organizations and/or individuals who are highlighting the issue of boardroom composition as a vital shareholder concern, as well as with organizations that affect boardroom diversity. 

Our Services:

The members of the Alliance for Board Diversity–-Catalyst, The Executive Leadership Council, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility—are leading national referral sources for women, African-American, and Hispanic corporate executives qualified to serve as directors. 

In support of our mission, when publicly traded corporations seek to diversify their boardrooms to reflect the ethnicity and gender balance of the communities, customers, and shareholders they serve, the members of the Alliance for Board Diversity are available to assist with candidate referrals. 

Our Research:

In its first study, Women and Minorities on Fortune 100 Boards,* the Alliance for
Board Diversity conducted research to provide benchmark data assessing the current status of board diversity. Through the results of this report, the Alliance for Board Diversity hopes to create an ongoing dialogue regarding the value and need for increasing diversity on corporate boards and will track future trends in board diversity. Results of the study include the following key findings:

  • There is a severe under-representation of women and minorities on corporate boards of the Fortune 100, especially when compared to general U.S. population demographics for race and gender.
  • Particular areas of concern include the lack of representation of minority women and of Asian-Americans and Hispanics, in general.
  • There is a recycling of the same minority individuals—especially African-American men—as board members. African-Americans held an average 1.55 seats per person, as compared to Hispanics who held an average 1.24 seats per person, white men who held an average of 1.18 seats, white women who held an average 1.16 seats, and Asian-Americans who held an average of 1.09 seats per person, according to the research.
  • Although there is a desire for diversity on the Fortune 100 boards, very few boards have representation from all groups. More than 60% of the boards surveyed have less than one-third of their seats occupied by women or minority individuals.
  • Four of the boards–-DuPont, PepsiCo, Walt Disney, and General Electric–-had representation from all groups (women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics).
  • Eight of the Fortune 100 boards had more than 50% of their seats occupied by a woman or a minority (Alcoa, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, WellPoint Health Networks, Albertson’s, DuPont, Target Corporation, United Parcel Service). 

For a full copy of Women and Minorities on Fortune 100 Boards, please visit:;; or


Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. As an independent, nonprofit membership organization, Catalyst uses a solutions-oriented approach that has earned the confidence of business leaders around the world. Catalyst conducts research on all aspects of women’s career advancement and provides strategic and web-based consulting services on a global basis to help companies and firms advance women and build inclusive work environments. In addition, we honor exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with our annual Catalyst Award.

Catalyst currently has 328 member corporations, professional firms, and nonprofit
organizations. With offices in New York, San Jose, and Toronto, Catalyst is consistently ranked No. 1 among U.S. nonprofits focused on women’s issues by The American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information, please visit, or call (212) 514- 7600.

The Executive Leadership Council
The Executive Leadership Council is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit 501 (c) 6 corporation. It was founded in 1986 by 19 African-American corporate executive pioneers to fulfill a bold mission—change the face of corporate America by creating a support network and public leadership forum that prepares the next generation of African-American corporate executives, honors business achievements by African-Americans, encourages excellence in business, and influences public policy on behalf of African-Americans.

Today The Executive Leadership Council has more than 340 members, of whom one-third are women. Members represent more than 200 companies working to support The Executive Leadership Council’s initiatives and goals. For more information, please visit, or call (202) 298-8226.

Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility is one of the most influential advocacy organizations in the nation representing 14 national Hispanic organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico. HACR’s mission is to ensure the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America at a level commensurate with our economic contributions.

HACR focuses on four areas of corporate behavior as indicators of corporate responsibility and market reciprocity: Procurement, Employment, Philanthropy, and Governance. For more information, please visit, or call (202) 835-9672.



National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)
Founded in 1977, the NACD is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated exclusively to serving the corporate governance needs of corporate boards and individual board members. NACD’s 15,500 members and customers represent companies ranging from Fortune 100 public companies to small, over-the-counter, closely held, and private firms. 

NACD promotes high professional boord standards, creates forums for peer interaction, enhances director effectiveness, communicates and monitors the policy interests of directors, conducts benchmarking research, and educates boards and directors concerning traditional and cutting-edge issues. With almost three decades of corporate governance research and experience to draw from, NACD provides a seasoned, authoritative voice on corporate governance policy and practice. NACD also is a vital forum for peer interaction and exchange of best board practices. For more information, please visit

The Prout Group
The Prout Group is an executive search firm that places senior executives and board members for organizations across the United States. It holds the philosophy that leadership at all functional levels provides a powerful advantage in today's competitive marketplace.  

With the belief that diversity is a strategic business advantage, The Prout Group leverages its experience and resources in that space and is committed to presenting a diverse slate of candidates on all search assignments. 

The Prout Group, Inc. is a member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) and is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). For more information, please visit


The Alliance for Board Diversity wishes to thank The Altria Group for sponsoring the datagathering for this report.

* The Prout Group gathered information on the Fortune 100 corporate board members. The companies were identified using the March 2004 Fortune report. A point-in-time snapshot approach was used; September 30, 2004 was the chosen date. For more information on methodology, please consult the full report.