Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Bainum Family Foundation has spent several years focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with the initial goals of promoting an equitable environment for our staff, understanding the impact of racism on the communities and families we serve, and prioritizing equity and inclusion in every facet of our work, ultimately to help all children and families thrive.
Equity is the outcome we seek in our work. It is often defined in terms of being just, fair and impartial. To us, equity means that everyone — no matter their race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status or other factor — has what they uniquely need in order to thrive. To be sustained, equity needs to be embedded in all the systems and structures that shape our society and impact our daily lives.
Anti-racism is the ongoing effort to identify and root out laws, policies, practices and behaviors that harm individuals or groups based on their racial identity. Racism creates conditions that are unjust and unfair, and these conditions are deeply embedded in the fabric of our society. We must approach our equity work through an anti-racism lens. We are focused on the policies and systems that have been put into place. Therefore, the goal of our anti-racism efforts is a more equitable distribution of power, resources and opportunity across all people and communities.
Since beginning our formal journey in 2017, we’ve learned many lessons, both individually and collectively, that have helped us move toward becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization. We recognized that any DEI journey — if it’s done thoughtfully, authentically and with growth and sustainability as the goals — requires a great deal of persistence. In 2019, we took an intentional pause to more deeply reflect, gain a broader perspective on our aspirations and come together as a team to identify what we needed to support the next chapter of our DEI work. Before and throughout the pandemic, we have moved forward in our DEI journey, initiating conversations with staff to reexamine how we embed equity and inclusion within our work.
The triple crises of 2020 — health, racial justice and economic — not only affirmed our need to embed DEI into our work, but also amplified the urgency and passion of our discussions. Across our entire organization — the staff, board and Bainum family — we have engaged in deep reflection, coming to the realization that we must explicitly center racial equity and community to become an anti–racist organization. We built our capacity to have difficult conversations that would propel us forward. And we’re working to actively create vulnerable spaces, share challenges, push one another to go further and truly establish the roots of an anti–racist culture.
Our DEI commitment is now inseparable from our strategic conversations and planning. Our intention of being an anti–racist organization is now simply who we are and what we do, and it is a critical part of our efforts to drive systemic change.
Beyond our internal equity discussions, our Organizational Learning and Effectiveness (OLE) and program teams have been creating learning and coaching opportunities for our partners so that we can support them in their own equity and inclusion journeys.
We know we cannot help all children thrive without acknowledging and addressing the structural and cultural inequities in our organization and society, so we will keep intentionally and systematically engaging in policies, practices and systems that promote justice and equity for our staff, partners and community. We know we have a lot more work ahead of us, but we’re committed to this learning journey because we know it is essential to truly experience growth and create sustainable change.