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 equity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do – it’s smart.   Embracing diverse perspectives and voices is critical to ensuring a vibrant, inviting community.  The intent is to not reduce the complexity of who we are but to foster an increased awareness and appreciation of our differences. People from any background should feel welcomed to the table and supported in raising issues that matter to them. This allows all of us to learn from the conversations and relationships that result.

Looking to our past and present, it is clear that some groups in our community have been historically disadvantaged. We can actively work to change inequitable systems that still exist today. As an endowed institution, we can use our assets to help empower a wide range of individuals and organizations to create transformational change.

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


The Ford Foundation offers these helpful definitions of equity and inclusion:

Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all. We believe this is only possible in an environment built on respect and dignity.

Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people. We believe every person’s voice adds value, and we strive to create balance in the face of power differences. We believe that no one person can or should be called upon to represent an entire community.