Over the last several years, Waco Foundation has prioritized an effort to increase our collective understanding in the area of racial equity. We believe understanding how a person’s race may influence their life opportunities and experiences, will help us further our vision of ensuring a high quality of life for ALL of our residents.
In partnership with the Cooper Foundation, we have invited other community members to join us on our journey. To date we have delivered more than 14 high quality trainings that shed light on concepts like unconscious/implicit bias, advantage and disproportionate representation. Together, we remain committed to offering these and other educational opportunities for those genuinely interested in learning more about race equity.
Waco Foundation has also turned that spotlight inward to evaluate how inclusive and equitable our workplace is for staff. To that end, in 2020, we engaged an independent consultant to review our practices, policies and procedures; let us know how we are faring on the issues of race, equity and inclusion and; provide insight as to how we can embed these values in both our internal and external activities.
Our assessment (which included anonymous staff surveys):
- Whether we are making progress on understanding and communicating that reducing inequities is critical to organizational success (90% agreed)
- The comfort level of staff with having conversations about race in the workplace (100% are)
- Whether we are creating an environment where employees of all racial and ethnic backgrounds feel welcome, respected and valued (90+%)
- Whether staff have an understanding of the tangible ways diversity, equity and inclusion are important to their individual work (95%)
- Whether staff feel confident in their ability to have discussions about the inequities faced by different groups (76%).
While the survey was useful in helping us understand where our staff stands on issues related to race, equity and inclusion, the consultants also helped us strategize about the various ways we can further imbed these values into our operations and programming. We are looking at assessing and possibly implementing changes across the full spectrum of Foundation work in the coming years, including our grantmaking, investments, communications, operations and learning/evaluation.