Thursday, December 17, 2015
By Stephanie Chrispin, Public Policy Fellow, Philanthropy New York
Unless you obsessively follow every change on Philanthropy New York’s website, you may not have noticed that this month the Increasing Diversity in Philanthropy committee page has been replaced with the Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy. It’s not just a new name, but a new mission and goals that are worthy of serious discussion.
It’s a testament to Philanthropy New York’s big move and other exciting changes in the past year that we are never satisfied with the status quo. The PNY board continually reviews the work of our committees and, over the past two years saw an opportunity to revisit our role as a change agent to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the philanthropic sector. Several board members asserted that “diversity” – indicating a focus on number of people fitting certain demographic profiles in certain positions – was too narrow a way of describing the work and the world as it is now. Thus, the board encouraged a rethinking of the committee’s work, which necessitated intensive member input through a structured planning process.
As a part of their Vision for 2025, PNY’s board reaffirmed their commitment to engaging our members and philanthropy at-large to think about diversity as a lens to examine our work— both as a guiding philosophy and in practice. To achieve this, the board dedicated new resources and appointed new co-chairs, Cynthia Rivera-Weissblum, CEO of the Edwin Gould Foundation and Susan Olivo, Executive Director of the Reader’s Digest Partners in Sight Foundation. The two hadn’t worked together previously but were energized by the board’s call to imbue the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sector, and personalized their goals for the committee.
Susan and Cynthia have been passionate and dedicated leaders for the committee, which has highly engaged and diverse membership across organizations, demographics, and experience. After robust discussions, the committee voted unanimously to recommend the following name, tagline, preamble, mission and goals for the committee:
Name: Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy
Tagline: "Advancing philanthropy through just and equitable practices."
Preamble: Philanthropy is enhanced when individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives are engaged in and can inform all aspects of an organization’s operations, program, and governance. A more diverse philanthropic community will result in richer dialogue, greater public support, and more responsive programs that better meet the needs of our communities.
Mission Statement: Philanthropy New York’s Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy works to inspire and support greater diversity and inclusiveness in all aspects of philanthropy by advocating for equity and equal opportunity. We promote a broad definition of inclusion that respects and actively seeks diversity of perspective and thought on our boards and staffs, and in the communities we serve.
- Provide learning opportunities and broaden discussion around effective policies and practices through robust programming which reaches out to member organizations for ideas and active participation:
- to promote and encourage increased diversity on foundation boards and staff and, advocate for more inclusive and representative grant making
- to apply principles of equity to grant making
- Raise awareness and explore strategies for incorporating effective practices related to diversity, equity, intercultural competency and inclusion
- Serve as leaders within the PNY Community and beyond on issues of diversity/equity/inclusion by sharing information from outside networks, conferences and working groups, encouraging discussion and appropriate program development
- Advise and inform the PNY Board of Directors on related policy matters
- Engage in self-education and discuss emerging issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion in the larger grant making community
- Support PNY in its efforts to increase inclusiveness with respect to programming, and raising the visibility of its diversity and inclusion efforts (e.g., more visible “Diversity and Inclusion” page on the website.)
“Cynthia and I have been both thrilled and humbled to be working with such an enthusiastic, impassioned and knowledgeable group of people on re-crafting and re-launching this committee,” remarked Susan. “We hope that more and more Philanthropy New York members, from all levels and areas of responsibility, will join us to help frame the discussions and encourage leadership in inclusive philanthropy within the scope of our philanthropic missions. We anticipate being a strong and effective resource to PNY members as we move forward together.”
Given that there had been a lull in activity with IDP prior to the mandate from the Board to rethink its mission, and the now-very eager and popular engagement of Philanthropy New York members in planning and new programs for CEIP, you might be tempted to say it’s a comeback of sorts. But as LL Cool J said,
Don't u call this a regular jam
I'm gonna rock this land
I'm gonna take this itty bitty world by storm
And I'm just gettin warm
I’ve had the pleasure of helping support the work of this committee since I started my tenure as Public Policy Fellow, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for CEIP. Philanthropy New York’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has a long history, but CEIP is just getting warmed up.