A lot of foundations are interested in paying attention to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But they’re not sure where to start or what steps to take next. This self-assessment identifies the key areas of foundation work that are relevant for DEI efforts and walks an organization through a user-friendly set of questions to catalog what it is already doing and identify additional pathways to advance DEI. It is a tool to prompt productive internal discussion around issues where conversations can sometimes get confusing without a shared, concrete understanding of what the landscape entails.
For philanthropy to be effective and relevant in our increasingly diverse society, philanthropic organizations have to bring new voices and expertise to the table, and they have to understand and reflect the rich perspectives of the communities we serve. This self-assessment will give you some concrete ideas for action.
D5 addresses a broad spectrum of diversity, as reflected in the self-assessment. Our aim is to amplify the voices of historically marginalized communities, which we believe will strengthen the contributions of our philanthropic institutions to the common good.
It can be used in at least two ways:
Given the above answers, the tool can be used with any type or size of foundation. Any items that are not applicable to a specific setting can simply be ignored. There are enough items that cut across foundation functions for any type or size organization that the tool can be useful to think through DEI issues systematically. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are issues that arise for any organization, and especially ones that invest in issues and communities.
It is important to remember that the tool is intended to prompt productive discussion and strategic movement. Its use needs to be framed in this way. Conversations that contain any blaming or public assessment of individual performance are not productive and are discouraged. The tool is most effective when it is used to help people look forward, not backward. If the tool is used in a group convening, participants need to know that it is safe to be candid. If it is administered in a large group and the facilitator wants to collect responses to be able to tally them, no names should be asked for on the responses. Some of the settings in which the tool might be used include: