In 2021, we're doubling down on putting equity at the center of our community leadership.
November 17, 2020
BY NIVA FLOR, Chief Impact & Strategy Officer
Recent events have underscored enduring social inequities in our country and how urgently we must address them. Alarming disparities are apparent in health outcomes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including higher hospitalizations and death rates among Black and Latinx communities.² The senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor—and the violence committed against so many others—have brought new momentum to our nation’s long fight for racial and social justice.
At the heart of these realities are complex social and economic factors that continue
to limit equal opportunities for people of color, for low-income individuals and families, for so many in our community who encounter barriers when they should
To change these realities, we must acknowledge why some in our region are hurting more than others—why Asian American & Pacific Islander populations in Yolo County experience poverty more than any other racial group, and why even at the highest levels of education in Sacramento County, Black workers earn $7 per hour
less than their white counterparts, for example. We must recognize the systems that exacerbate injustice and collaborate within and across sectors to support change so that everyone has the opportunities and resources to thrive.
This is not new territory for our work.
Five years ago, as part of the Foundation’s last strategic planning process, we explored how our leadership and grantmaking can best serve the capital region’s diverse communities.
Then, as now, we prioritized listening. After consulting with hundreds of people
across our region’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors, we identified areas where we could play a leadership role and where, in partnership, we continue to advance equity in the arts, education, and access to food. In addition, through our work to foster philanthropy and to achieve a complete Census 2020 count, we are advancing equity in civic life more broadly.
From hosting regionwide convenings, to addressing historical disparities in the arts, to making grants aimed at combating structural inequity in communities through capacity building and education, we continue to seek ways to bring our fundholders, nonprofit partners, and community leaders together to take part in a collective vision for a stronger region.
In recent years, the pace of this work has accelerated, and anchoring our efforts in
pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been paramount. In early 2021, we will launch a new round of strategic planning that focuses explicitly on DEI. Building on our current work, that planning will give shape to new opportunities for meaningful change—one initiative will form a community-based DEI task force to guide our staff and Board’s efforts moving forward, another will help small and emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) nonprofits build their capacity so they can grow their impact.
Pursuing equity is complex work. Our approach will no doubt evolve as we strive to sharpen our strategies, but our work will always reflect the Foundation’s core values and a collective commitment to continue learning and collaborating—with our fundholders, with our partners, and with our region as a whole.
How we show up for local communities today will shape the future of our region. Although no one can predict exactly where this work will lead us, we will continue to share developments with you and elevate the voices of our partners as, together, we work to make meaningful change in our region.
Please join us with a gift to the Building Equitable Communities Fund and support collaborative efforts aligned with our Strategic Initiatives to advance opportunities for all in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. We also invite you to register to receive periodic email updates about our equity-focused work.
² Latinx is a gender-neutral term, sometimes used instead of Latino or Latina, to refer to people of Latin American cultural or ethnic identity in the United States.