To do our work effectively, our programs and actions must be relevant, responsive, and accountable to the places and people we serve. As a historically white-led environmental education organization, we recognize the legacy of racism and injustice within our field, and understand that we have perpetuated and benefited from racism. It is our responsibility to use our unearned privileges to combat racism and stand with those fighting for justice.
Staff members have been prioritizing the advancement of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) within IslandWood’s work for some time. In 2019, we formally made commitments to operationalize JEDI principles throughout the organization, in all aspects of our work, and laid out specific priorities to move this work forward. We are committed to the work required to make continual progress on our goals and to being held accountable to these goals.
In 2019, as part of our ongoing equity work, IslandWood made the commitment to focus in particular on race equity. We are focusing on race equity, not because we believe other inequities don’t exist or aren’t vitally important, but because in the United States one’s race – more than any other factor – is the biggest determinant of educational outcomes, wealth, health, exposure to environmental pollutants and hazards, and life expectancy.
We understand there is an inextricable connection between educational justice, environmental justice, and racial equity. This work is not ancillary, or “outside” of IslandWood’s mission. It is central to our work in environmental education, and of inspiring healthy communities and a healthy planet.
Below are our goals for fiscal year 2020 (July 2019 – June 2020) and our progress towards completing them.
Action steps include ensuring that all staff understand and have access to the organization’s JEDI vision; leadership team guides on practical applications for JEDI throughout the organization; directors and managers set annual JEDI goals for their departments that are relevant to our mission, their department, and their staff; prioritizing the hiring of BIPOC candidates to our staff and board; and ensuring our annual budget reflects our commitment to JEDI training for all staff.
Update on priority:
We have shared and presented our organizational JEDI vision with all staff in several settings, both electronically and in-person. Our leadership team regularly discusses with their teams how JEDI can be applied to their work. We identified and had initial conversations with several BIPOC individuals we were interested in engaging as board of director candidates and this process will continue in fiscal year 2021 until we’ve brought on new BIPOC members. We have prioritized the hiring of BIPOC candidates, particularly for departments or positions with low BIPOC representation. You can read about our staff and board demographics here. Our annual budget allocated the funding of JEDI training for all staff.
This priority means that all programs at IslandWood, including our school programs, teacher professional development, graduate program, community programs, and private events are culturally responsive in their design and execution. Action steps include ensuring that every program understands how JEDI fits into their work; that meaningful assessments of JEDI exist; and that teams are regularly assessing the advancement of racial equity within programs.
Update on priority:
We came to understand that our programs, which span very different audiences from students, to teachers, to parents, to event guests, vary in their level of cultural responsiveness in design and execution. Each internal team has since spent time reviewing how JEDI fits into their work and how their work and day to day decisions might shift when viewed through a JEDI lens. In this fiscal year we were not able to make substantial progress on ensuring that meaningful assessments of JEDI exist and have carried that forward as a key priority for fiscal year 2021.
Action steps include applying a JEDI lens to onboarding and training practices; that staff in managerial and supervisory capacity participate in JEDI trainings; ensuring that performance reviews and professional development are aligned with JEDI goals; and staff members have the opportunity to assess the organization’s progress against our JEDI vision through the annual staff survey.
Update on priority:
After applying a JEDI lens and approach, we have updated our recruiting and hiring practices. Read more about that work in detail here. Our staff in managerial and supervisory capacities have participated in JEDI trainings led by external facilitators. We conducted a staff-wide survey about our progress against our JEDI vision that provided critical feedback on the places we’ve made advances and on the areas we still need attention and substantial work. While we’ve made some progress on how we’d like to integrate JEDI goals into performance reviews and professional development, we have not yet implemented this change and will carry that work into our 2021 JEDI goals.
Action steps include continued diligence in ensuring that all IslandWood communication continues to be respectful of the communities we serve; that we are transparent about our JEDI goals and sharing our progress against those goals; that we amplify POC leaders and voices within our field; and that we make our communications accessible to all audiences.
Update on priority:
We have worked, and will continue to work, to keep a JEDI lens at the forefront of all our communications. We have started implementing image descriptions on all of our social media and website images to make our communications more accessible to those that are blind or visually impaired. We have not provided closed captioning for all the videos on our website and aim to do that in the next fiscal year to ensure they are accessible for individuals that are deaf or hearing impaired. We have started to regularly highlight BIPOC leaders in our field and anti-racist educational resources in our communications. We have committed to transparency and a quarterly public update on our website about our work toward our organizational JEDI priorities.
Action steps include proactive communication with various stakeholders such as schools, parents, graduate program alumni, community and government entities; a formal and regular process for gathering feedback from key stakeholders; and a formal process for sharing stakeholder feedback with our board of directors.
Update on priority:
While we regularly have proactive informal communication with various stakeholders, we were not successful in creating a formal and regular process for gathering key stakeholder feedback. This was scheduled to happen in the last quarter of the fiscal year, but coronavirus and the necessary and immediate pivoting of our work, along with large staff furloughs, took up our capacity. This priority was carried over as a key priority for fiscal year 2021.
Action steps include training and support for managerial and supervisory staff in leading a JEDI culture; JEDI training for all staff; progress on JEDI goals is regularly shared with staff via monthly staff meetings, department meetings and quarterly newsletter; JEDI goals are incorporated into each staff member’s professional development plans; all staff have the opportunity to assess the organization’s progress against our JEDI vision through the annual staff survey.
Update on priority:
All staff in managerial and supervisory roles were provided JEDI training and support; information about our JEDI goals and our progress on those goals was not regularly and effectively communicated to all staff and was moved forward as a key priority for fiscal year 2021; JEDI goals have not yet been incorporated into each staff member’s professional development plans and has been moved forward as a priority for fiscal year 2021; and all staff had the opportunity to assess the organization’s progress against our JEDI vision through a comprehensive, anonymous JEDI survey.
IslandWood’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (JEDI) Council is a staff committee that focuses on the advancement of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the organization. The Council supports and advises leadership, teams, and staff members in operationalizing JEDI work at IslandWood.
IslandWood’s JEDI Council was formed in 2007 by 15 staff members to focus on recruiting staff that better reflect the communities that our organization serves, and to break the cycle of exclusion that is so prevalent in the environmental and education fields. Throughout the last decade, the Council’s advocacy and action have led to professional growth for staff and teams and the creation of culturally responsive and inclusive policies and processes.
The Council offers expertise and insight critical to supporting the progress of DEI priorities at IslandWood. This includes resource finding and sharing, informal training/gatherings, responsive brown bag lunches, and overall guidance/problem-solving on issues relevant to operationalizing DEI work at IslandWood.
IslandWood acknowledges that we live and work on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people, who have been stewards of this region's land and waters since time immemorial, and who continue to protect these lands and waters for future generations, as promised by the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, the Treaty of Point No Point of 1855, and the Treaty of Medicine Creek of 1854.
While the majority of our work takes place on Suquamish (suq̀ʷabš) and Duwamish (dxʷdɐwʔabʃ) land, we also conduct programs on the land of the Snohomish (sduhúbʃ), Puyallup (spuyaləpabš), Muckleshoot (buklshuhls), Skokomish (sqoqc’bes), and S’Klallam (nəxʷsƛ̕ay̕əm) peoples.
4450 Blakely Ave. NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 206.855.4300
IslandWood is a registered 501c3 charitable organization.
A Special Thanks to our corporate sponsor
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