The Bay Area continues to grow more racially and ethnically diverse, and with this, our community grapples with issues of racial justice and social equity. The Bay Area Community Foundation (BACF) is committed to creating an environment where all feel a sense of belonging and have the opportunity to thrive. Through BACF’s strategic plan, Moving Forward with Vision, we have identified Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as a focus area for our staff, board and community members.
In the Spring of 2020, George Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and wide-ranging calls for change in how this country deals with social equity. Bay Area Community Foundation is painfully aware of the structural and systemic biases that create wealth, social and health disparities in our community and realizes that work to combat inequality cannot rest solely on our government. We realize that at the philanthropic level, there are steps we can take to help ensure that our community is a place where all are afforded equal opportunities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“We feel a duty to build a community where all people feel welcome and have equal opportunities to thrive. We must be bold in facing this social issue and in advocating for change. We must also be willing to look within our own community, organizations and hearts to see if our actions – or our inactions – promote equality or social bias.”
– Diane Mahoney, President & CEO
Within Our Organization
We are collecting data and examining our structures, processes and funding decisions to ensure that we are an open, fair, accessible and equitable organization. Steps we have already taken include:
- All BACF staff complete the Intercultural Development Inventory assessment. Individual growth plans are developed and reviewed annually.
- Continue evaluation and monitoring of Board of Trustees composition and committee membership.
- Audit policies and procedures to uncover systemic biases.
- Incorporate inclusive practices into strategic decision-making, staff hiring and contracts with vendors.
- Examine BACF’s development activities, grantmaking and scholarship awards in support of diverse communities and populations.
- Share what BACF is learning about diversity and inclusive practices.
Lifting Every Voice
The Bay County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community Survey was available to residents of Bay County from October 6, 2021, to October 26, 2021. There were 1,044 respondents to this survey. The DEI Survey was a convenience survey, meaning respondents were not randomly selected. This survey collected qualitative data regarding the perceptions of our community in the areas of racial/ ethnic relations, housing, socioeconomics, education and policing and criminal justice. Ultimately these voices will help direct the next steps to enhance equity and inclusion in our community.
- Because of Institutional Review Board (IRB) regulations, the DEI Survey was only available to participants over the age of 18. The voices and experiences of our youth matter. In 2023, BACF’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) will conduct a survey among their peers to collect data on their perceptions and concerns regarding diversity, equity and inclusion as well as the most pressing youth-related needs. The information gathered from the YAC survey guides the committee’s grantmaking and is based on the local youth’s greatest concern(s).
- BACF will conduct targeted outreach to gather the input and perceptions from those groups underrepresented in the DEI Survey.
Every person has the opportunity to thrive in our community – for all, for good.
BACF’s Board of Trustees will work toward aspirations established within key impact areas outlined in its strategic plan, Moving Forward with Vision, adopted in 2022. Each is imperative to building a community where all people are equally valued, welcomed and everyone can say, “I belong here.” These aspirations are:
- Early Childhood Development – All children show up for kindergarten ready to learn at a developmentally appropriate level. With a focus on (0-5) childcare and preschool, we will work with community partners to assess our current capacity, determine our future needs and provide support to put resources into place.
- Post High School Training/Education with Emphasis on First Generation Students – The growing economy is supported by educational and training opportunities for students and community residents. We will provide support and continue efforts to increase postsecondary education and training attainment through Bay Commitment, a college access program for first-generation college students, and scholarships.
- Sense of Place – Our unique cultural, recreational and natural resources are a cornerstone of what makes our community a great place. We will provide support and continue efforts to develop safe, welcoming communities in Bay County with amenities that meet the needs and improve the quality of life for both residents and visitors.