At the Bay Area Community Foundation (BACF), we believe it is our duty to help build a community where all people feel welcome and have equal opportunity to thrive. The quest for equity is what our nation was founded on.
In the wake of the heartbreaking death of George Floyd last summer, BACF’s board and staff determined that we must look within our hearts, our organization, and our community to see if our actions, or our inaction, promote equality or social bias.
Setting out to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?,” our first step was to acknowledge that we would have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
We have been working internally as a staff and board to identify where we are at individually and as a group in our ability to think, communicate and work with people who are different from us. Staff have created individual plans for growth designed to uncover our own unconscious beliefs and behaviors. We also are collecting data and examining our structures, processes and funding decisions to ensure we are an open, fair, accessible and equitable organization.
Moving from the inside out brings us to our community work. BACF has also been meeting regularly with community partners (listed below) around the topic of building an inclusive community. To know where to go, we must understand where we are.
With that in mind, a community survey seeking input on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion has been launched by Saginaw Valley State University this fall. Residents 18 years and older are asked to provide insight on their experiences with business, local government representation, police/public safety, and education in Bay County. There are links above and below this story to access the survey, available in both English and Spanish versions. The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete and all responses are confidential. Printed copies are also available at the Bay Area Community Foundation office in the Pere Marquette Depot for those who do not have internet access.
In order to effect meaningful change, decisions about the community can only be made after gathering information from the community…that means you. Rich or poor; brown, black or white; gay or straight; young or old; and all the places in between, all voices must be heard. We encourage you to share your opinion.
We are on a journey, and this is our first step. Will you come with us?
Our current community partners in this project include:
- Bangor Township Schools
- Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
- Bay-Arenac ISD
- Bay City Public Safety
- Bay County
- Bay County Sheriff’s Office
- Bay County Treasurer/Bay County Land Bank
- City of Bay City
- Do-All, Inc.
- Great Lakes Bay Pride
- Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance
- Michigan Sugar Company
- Minority Business Partnership
- NAACP-Bay City Branch
- Saginaw Valley State University
- THRIVE (joint initiative of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance and MiHIA)
- United Way of Bay County
- YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region