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  • Impact Austin

Elevating Diversity. Ensuring Inclusion.

From left: Lauren Paver, Toya Circa Bell, Christina Gorczynski

Discovery Day attendees were wowed and inspired by Toya Cirica Bell’s keynote presentation on January 12, 2019. Her timing was key, as Impact Austin just launched a Strategic Plan that calls for diversity and inclusion among our membership, our Community Partners, and the Central Texas neighbors we impact with grant funding.

In our first 15 years, Impact Austin grew organically, developing grassroots-style from women among acquaintances.  But now we’ve stated this goal: “Our members and leadership will reflect the diverse perspectives of women and those we serve in Central Texas.”  Establishing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative is part of this goal, but what does that really entail? Toya Cirica Bell’s presentation answered that question – and even some questions we haven’t known to ask.

Among the ideas and actionable steps that Toya asks us to consider are these:

Diversity is more than just a definition. Miriam Webster offers VARIETY as a synonym, but as an organization we should take it to mean the inclusion of different types of people, seeking VARIETY in race, age, sexuality, socio-economic status, ability, politics, religion.

Elevate diversity throughout our organization. Create an organizational statement about diversity. This is language shared throughout our group, threaded through our organizational priorities, and it becomes the basis for program development and communication strategy.  Include diversity language in our documents.

Weave diversity into our strategic plan, complete with goals, timelines, and metrics for success. Where is diversity lacking? Evaluate and re-evaluate for continual improvement.

Growing a diverse membership means evaluating our history, being self-aware and open to education on the subject, proactively building relationships with diverse individuals and groups.

Thoughtfully diversify our grantmaking process. How might our pool of grant applicants better reflect our communities? And what about our process? Does it keep diversity in mind?  Do we have perceived or actual barriers to entry? Are we communicating opportunities to diverse audiences?

When measuring our grantmaking impact, do we seek data that targets specific populations and criteria such as age, gender, race?

Invest in efforts to undo racism and inequity.  Respond to community challenges that require leadership.

Find out more about our dynamic presenter Toya Cirica Bell, J.D. here.


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