Flying Blind: Proposition 54 and Philanthropy Edit Title

The news about the October 7, 2003, special California election has been dominated by the governor’s recall and the proliferation of candidates for governor. But also on the ballot is a state proposition of far-reaching conse- quences: the Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin (CRECNO) Initiative. Originally known as the Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI), Proposition 54
would ban state government from classi- fying people by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, except for medical research or to meet court decrees, federal requirements or several other purposes.
Most of the public debate about Proposition 54 has been about its impact on healthcare and collegiate education. This study explores a hitherto neglected area: the Proposition’s potential impact on the practice of philanthropy in California. To consider this impact, The San Francisco Foundation commissioned CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, a private nonprofit research and consulting firm, to conduct a study of California foundations. Key findings include the prevalent use of race, ethnicity and national origin data within foundations and concern among foundation CEOs regarding Prop 54. Also, few foundations have taken an active role to educate the nonprofit sector and the public at large on the proposition's potential impact.

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