Key Points

· This study provided baseline data about the professional and individual characteristics of 440 candidates selected to be the top executive in a grantmaking institution during a five-year study period (2004-2008), and about the hiring patterns of the diverse institutions making these appointments.

· Most new chief executive officers (79.5 percent) were not hired from within the same foundation. The percentage of external appointments grew in each successive year of the study period.

· Most new foundation CEOs (67 percent) were not working for a grantmaking institution when they were appointed. This majority made the transition from fields outside of philanthropy, such as business (24.3 percent) and nonprofit organizations (24.8 percent).

· Most new foundation CEOs (63.4 percent) held high-level executive positions in their immediate prior position as either chief executive (38.9 percent) or vice president (24.5 percent).

· Almost 19 percent of new foundation CEOs were from diverse racial and ethnic groups, and just under half (48.9 percent) were women. The hiring patterns of certain foundation types and sizes varied according to the race, ethnicity, and gender of the appointee.

Open Access