commitment to equity
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Toronto Foundation acknowledges that multiple factors including colonialism, white privilege and structural racism result in the oppression of individuals and communities. We also acknowledge that discrimination and barriers for individuals and communities can also arise from other factors such as Indigeneity, heritage, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability/ability, sexual orientation or identity, education, and immigrant status. Toronto Foundation commits to taking actions to address bias, discrimination and racism in all our work, policies, programs and structures, with the goal of creating an inclusive organization.
As a leader in the nonprofit sector, Toronto Foundation has a unique role to play by being an advocate and partner in responding to barriers to equitable participation in all spheres of life.
Between 2018 and 2019 Toronto Foundation adopted this vision and purpose:
- Vision: A city of informed, engaged philanthropists, accelerating meaningful change for all.
- Purpose: We aim to create a more fair and just society where everyone can thrive by mobilizing those with resources and the will to partner with others.
The new philanthropy focuses on co-creating a society that fights exclusion and marginalization, creates a sense of wellbeing and belonging, and promotes trust. Guided by this vision and purpose, Toronto Foundation will start a holistic review this year to address anti-racism/oppression and to uncover and address bias in program delivery, policies, human resource practices and governance structures. We will report back to our stakeholders on the results of this review and how we plan to address the findings.
In the beginning our equity work focused mainly on external initiatives and it was time to do the internal work to catch up. Here we report back mainly on the results of the internal review while elsewhere you can find updates on our collective impact.
In spring of 2021 Toronto Foundation hired Mending the Chasm to partner with us on our internal review—a process led by a cross-functional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team. Through 2021-22, Mending the Chasm performed a culture survey, a full policy audit while also leading the organization through six education sessions each followed by facilitated workshops. Board and staff came together during learning sessions and then staff took deeper dives together to reflect and examine biases. The process wrapped up with a set of concrete goals around staff engagement, culture and inclusion, and charting a post-pandemic hybrid workplace.
Through 2022 we drafted a new DEI policy and mapped a DEI action plan that included prioritizing and starting to address the goals articulated by staff. Collectively, staff drafted the following DEI vision and mission statements to anchor our action plan work:
DEI vision: a workplace where every staff member feels safe, heard, valued, and well-resourced so that they bring their best selves to deliver TF’s mission.
DEI mission: TF takes a leadership role to challenge the status quo of philanthropy. We disrupt large-scale systems of inequity in order to create a safer, more equitable, and inclusive organization.
TF’s DEI policy: articulates our internal staff, board, and organizational responsibilities to upholding postures, principles and practices related to DEI; provides some key shared definitions; and clarifies where DEI is integrated into other policies organizational and procedures. It also explains how staff and board can bring forward DEI-related concerns. This policy is available on request by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along the way we’ve learned new approaches to listening to one another, sharing and embracing ideas from all levels of the organization, and that it’s important to celebrate milestones. We have a long way to go in transforming our organization, but we’re also proud of the initial steps we’ve taken together in our two years.
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