Fostering Equity and Inclusion

Our communities represent a wide range of cultural, gender, ethnic, religious, racial and social backgrounds, comprising diverse voices, experiences, needs, and contributions. We understand that those differences may impose heavier burdens on the lives of some and not others. The Community Foundation works to foster healing, trust, and fair–equitable–systems. We encourage and engage in constructive dialogue among those voices. We build coalitions seeking equity, advocating to satisfy the needs of all, and using the power of unity that creates lasting change.

What We Believe

Pursuing diversity, equity, and inclusion is not just right–it’s smart. As an endowed institution with the ability to accelerate transformational change, how we choose to utilize our assets is a privilege that can empower a wide range of individuals and organizations. Thus, it is our duty to be thoughtfully minded as we employ this power of the larger society of which we are a part of, and the historical, economic, and cultural forces that continue to shape our communities.

It is with this understanding of our past and present that we must recognize that some groups in our community have been historically disadvantaged (race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ideology, religion, etc.) and we must actively work to overcome the inequitable systems that still exist today. The intent is to not reduce the complexities of who we, or our partners, are by categorizing ourselves into singular identities but to develop an increased awareness of our differences. Those from any background should feel empowered to raise issues that matter to them, allowing all of us to learn from the conversations and relationships that result from such issues.

The Impact We Seek

In our grant-making within this priority area, we are interested in supporting organizations working in creative, innovative & sustainable ways to implement effective strategies that lead to healthy, vibrant and thriving communities.

Specifically, we aim to promote the values and practice of equity and inclusion in our community by supporting work that:

  1. Develops public awareness, dialogue and action in addressing systemic barriers underserved communities face
  2. Increases self-efficacy/agency and systems of support among local residents’ to build leadership capacity to organize and advocate for key issues in the region,
  3. Promotes opportunities for people to interact and relate to people from marginalized backgrounds in social and professional settings

What We Will Measure

As we embark on this new strategic framework, the Foundation will be looking at a wide range of metrics to see where and how the work of our grantees is moving the needle. In some cases, we will look at broad measures that no one organization or project alone can change, such as Labor Force Participation or Average & Median Wages. In other cases, we will get more granular in our focus with measures such as Change in the # of Certifications Earned, or Change in the # of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises.

As a grantee, your task is to think about the impact of your work within the broader context of the impact we are seeking, as stated above, and to use your project evaluation and metrics to tell us how your results contribute both specifically and overall in two ways:

  1. To the achievement of the stated impact within the chosen priority area, in this case, fostering thriving communities, and

  2. To the achievement of our overall vision for the region of a just, prosperous, unified region where every person is empowered to reach their full potential.