Deliberate Discussions About Diversity: How the Bainum Family Foundation Is Getting Intentional with DEI

Editor’s Note: As part of the Council’s release of “State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector” we are highlighting the various ways foundations are addressing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within their organizations.

We believe all children should have an equal chance at reaching their full potential regardless of their circumstances. That’s why the Bainum Family Foundation exists—to help children exit poverty and thrive in both school and life. While our work is complex and this aspiration is bold, we believe it’s possible, but only by building a circle of collaboration with those who share our commitment. Externally, we seek passionate partners to work side by side with us. Internally, we foster a supportive, team-oriented culture where together, we move our mission forward. And none of this is possible without a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

With collaboration as one of our four core values and at the forefront of everything we do, we have always valued diversity as an essential component of a healthy culture. But we realize we could be more intentional. With the implementation of our new strategic plan and place-conscious approach in 2015, we recognized the need to start an engaging conversation about how we can continue to enhance our diversity efforts as an organization.

Given that our work is conducted through a racial equity lens, we feel it’s necessary to consider how we are embodying diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in everything we do. We are at the beginning of this journey and understand the need to be vulnerable as we build from the ground up and learn from others. In the coming year, we plan to leverage our staff retreat, monthly staff meetings, ongoing coaching and development conversations with supervisors, performance reviews, and other talent practices to embed and enrich our core values—including embracing and celebrating DEI.

We’re committed to holistically supporting our staff and stakeholders, and these diversity efforts will match and further strengthen our other talent and organizational development initiatives. We’re proud of our culture, but we’re also committed to continuous learning (one of our other core values), so we can better care for our people and advance our work. To have an impact externally, we must be intentional internally in defining our approach to embedding DEI in our everyday practices—and we look forward to the growth that lies ahead of us.

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